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Exhibits

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Consider Washington's history through forward-facing topics that are relevant today. Changing exhibitions are on the fifth floor. 
 
In the Great Hall of Washington History, see intricate Native basketry, learn about women's suffrage in the Evergreen State, snap a selfie in a covered wagon, step into an old-time general store, and get a close-up look at Clovis points (some of the oldest human-made artifacts in the state!). Explore immigration in Washington: My Home.

Current featured exhibitions: 

Jacob Lawrence

Collections Selections: Jacob Lawrence
Through March 3, 2019

Collections Selections is an ongoing series of exhibitions featuring artifacts from the Historical Society's collections. Jacob Lawrence is one of America's most reknowned painters, and we are honored to present his works from our collection.

Image credit: Jacob Lawrence, No. 3. The hardest part of the journey is yet to come--the Continental Divide, stunned by the magnitude of roaring rivers, 1973 (detail), casein tempera and gouache, 31½ × 39½ inches, series piece. Collection of Washington State Historical Society. Image use courtesy ARS.










Unlocking McNeil's Past: The People, The Place, The Prison
Through May 26, 2019

Exhibitions are generously supported by our presenting sponsor, The Norcliffe Foundation.

Permanent Exhibits

The Great Hall

Our largest exhibit at the Washington State History Museum, The Great Hall of Washington History is a walk through time. This year-round space showcases some of our earliest history with the Clovis Points and a variety of artifacts from Native American civilization and culture, and explains the progression through statehood including industrialization, the war and post-war eras, women's suffrage, immigration and migration, and more. Allow at least two hours to fully absorb the material in the Great Hall of Washington History.
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History Lab

The History Lab Learning Center engages visitors with interactive exhibits featuring historical concepts such as Time, Place, Viewpoint, Exploration, and Precedent. In the learning center, visitors of all ages are encouraged to use the Tools of the History Trade (artifacts, ephemera, books and periodicals, people, maps, and images) to think like detectives in search of evidence. The History Lab exhibit is on the fifth floor of the History Museum.

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Model Railroad

Don your conductor's cap and climb aboard the History Museum's own model railroad. Watch history being made as the Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers club continues construction on the 1,800-square-foot permanent layout depicting the rail lines from Tacoma's Point Defiance Park to the Stampede Pass tunnel in the Cascades. Join us when we celebrate model trains with our annual Model Train Festival.

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