Resources of the Society
Washington State History Museum (Tacoma)
The Washington State History Museum journeys deep into the region's vibrant past, offering visitors the
chance to relive the events that shaped the present and are influencing the future. Opened in 1996 by the Washington
State Historical Society, the museum brings history to life through multimedia presentations, interactive exhibits,
walk-through dioramas, and oral histories of life in the Evergreen State.
State Capital Museum and Outreach Center (Olympia)
The State Capital Museum and Outreach Center has exhibits documenting the political history and culture of
Washington State. Housed in a 1920's Italian Renaissance Revival mansion, the historic museum building was
originally the family house of Clarence and Elizabeth Lord. The museum opened in 1942, and consolidated with the Washington State Historical Society in 1993. In addition to museum exhibits, the Society's major outreach programs are housed here.
Research Center (Tacoma)
Located in Tacoma, the Research Center houses the Society's collections including manuscripts, historical maps, ephemera, books, over 400,000 photographs that chronicle the state's evolution, and the Hewitt Research Library. Used by researchers, scholars, and historians, this repository of more than one million archival documents is open to the public by appointment.
Major Programs & Functions:
Women's History Consortium
The Women's History Consortium (WHC) is an initiative enacted by the Washington State Legislature in 2005. The WHC is advised by a 15
member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature, administered by the Washington State Historical Society,
and located at the State Capital Museum and Outreach Center in Olympia.
The goals of the Women's History Consortium are to:
- Improve the availability of historical information about women's achievements in Washington.
- Promote the preservation of materials related to women's history.
- Create a special Web site washingtonwomenshistory.org devoted to
listing and cataloging sources of information about themes, diversity, and eras of Washington women's history.
- Emphasize women and women's issues in the last decades of the 20th century by collecting, preserving and documenting materials related to that era.
- Make recommendations and carry out the commemoration of the Centennial of Women's Suffrage in Washington in 2010.
If you have questions, know about important women's history resources that should be listed on the WHC Web site,
or would like to make suggestions about celebrating the Centennial of Women's Suffrage in Washington,
contact Shanna Stevenson, Women's History Consortium Coordinator, Washington State Historical Society,
211 21st Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98501, (360) 586-0171, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the WHC website listed above.
Heritage Resource Center
A program of the Historical Society's Outreach Services Division, the Heritage Resource Center is
located at the State Capital Museum and Outreach Center in Olympia. Its purpose is to promote the growth and
stability of heritage organizations throughout the state. Since 1985 the Center has held over 100 workshops
statewide, providing technical assistance to heritage advocates on a wide-ranging variety of topics.
Washington History Day
Since 2005, the Society has been the home of Washington History Day, a history education program for grades 6-12
that focuses on developing student skills in historical inquiry, research, analysis, and presentation. As part
of the National History Day program, the leading history education program in the United States, Washington History
Day offers teacher training, student resources, and the Washington History Day state contest each spring.
State winners compete at the national competition in June outside Washington, DC. More than 4,000 students participate
each year, with about half choosing to enter their exhibit, documentary, performance, paper, or website in a
regional contest in hopes of advancing to state and possibly nationals.
Center for Columbia River History
A public history consortium between the Society, Washington State University-Vancouver, and Portland State
University and located in Vancouver, the Center studies the relationship between the Columbia River Basin and its
inhabitants from prehistory to the present. Led by historian Katrine Barber, the Center conducts research and holds
a number of conferences, workshops, and exhibitions.
The Heritage Resource Center provides fiscal oversight for the annual Pacific Northwest History Conference on
regional research in progress and hosts a biennial Washington State Heritage Conference on the
practicalities of public history program development.
Museum Education Programs
teacher training and state history field guide; curriculum units; family programming
COLUMBIA Magazine: The Magazine of Northwest History
Published for members since 1987, and featuring lavishly illustrated articles by leading writers and scholars in the
field on a wide spectrum of historical topics, COLUMBIA examines the continuing dialogue between past and
present as well as the relationship between local or state history and the broad pattern of regional or national events.
The Washington State Historical Society bestows annual awards honoring the work that advances the Society's mission "to make the study of history in Washington illuminating and inspiring."
The Annual Meeting includes the Curtiss Hill memorial lecture.