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Exhibits

Purchase TicketsBook a Field TripBecome a memberTelling the story of Washington's history includes highlighting the characters and events that have affected the growth of our area. From the tale of women's suffrage to the mystery of D.B. Cooper, the Washington State History Museum provides in-depth exhibitions full of artifacts, ephemera, stories, and images that enrich your visitor experience.

Current featured exhibitions:

IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts
June 15 - August 20

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IN THE SPIRIT is Washington State Historical Society's annual juried exhibition of contemporary Native art. 2017 marks our 12th year! The exhibition culminates with a free cultural festival. The festival this year will be held on August 19, and is co-hosted with Tacoma Art Museum. It is an indoor-outdoor event and is free; admission to both museums is also free that day. Visit the History Museum soon to see 22 beautiful works of art in IN THE SPIRIT, and vote for your favorite, because People's Choice awards will be announced at the festival! 

 

Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
May 27 - September 10

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Gridiron Glory is the most extensive and comprehensive exhibit ever done on America’s most popular sport. The experience showcases the Pro Football Hall of Fame's vast holdings of football artifacts, rare photos and one-of-a-kind documents. In addition, NFL Films has provided spectacular footage from its unparalleled film archives to illustrate the exhibit’s many themes and storylines. Throughout the exhibit, visitors will find a series of interactive exhibits that challenge both mind and body.
 

Coming this fall

Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diaries of Takuichi Fujii
September 16 - December 31, 2017

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See the beautiful, revealing works of artist Takuichi Fujii, who came to Washington in 1906. He married and started a family in Seattle. During World War II, Fujii was incarcerated at Minidoka, Idaho, for three and a half years. Photography was not permitted in the camp, but Fujii's drawings and paintings documented, and powerfully convey, the environment and experiences. This exhibition is based on a recent book by Barbara Johns, "The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness.

Join Barbara Johns at the museum for an author talk and book signing at 2:00 PM on opening day, Saturday, September 16.

 

Glasnost & Goodwill: Citizen diplomacy in the Northwest
October 7, 2017 - January 21, 2018

Glasnost & Goodwill presents a fascinating look at how Northwest citizens helped to thaw the cold war through grassroots diplomacy. Visitors will see artifacts from the Goodwill Games, the International Peace Climb on Mount Everest, and more. Visit the History Museum this fall and winter to learn about how the extraordinary efforts of ordinary people across two continents achieved change during the 1950s-1990s.


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, 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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