The Washington State History Museum is open for visitors Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. All visitors ages 5 and above are required to wear masks while in the museum. Close
The 25th Annual Model Train Festival

The 25th Annual Model Train Festival

A holiday tradition!
  • Dates:
    Dec 17 - Jan 2 2022
  • Ages:
    All ages
  • Where:
    Washington State History Museum
  • Tickets:

    Included with admission, FREE for WSHS members.
    Note: Outside discounts and library passes are not valid during Model Train Festival.

  • Accessibility:

    Mobility-accessible. Exterior ramps provide building access, elevators access all floors in the building, and wheelchairs are available at admissions.

Remember how it feels to see their eyes light up?

Take your family and friends on a magical journey through the marvelously detailed world of model trains at the Washington State History Museum! The 25th Annual Model Train Festival rolls into town Friday, December 17, 2021 and runs through Sunday, January 2, 2022.
Note: The museum is closed Dec. 24-25, open on Jan. 1. 
Book your timed tickets today!

The Model Train Festival brings railroad clubs from around Puget Sound to share their incredible layouts. Every floor of the museum comes alive with trains, from the Kitsap Live Steamers 7.5 inch gauge railroad engines to the Mount Rainier N-Scale layout featuring miniature scenery of Western Washington and so many more. Plus, the largest permanent model train layout in Washington is always on display at the museum on the fifth floor, operated by Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers. Train operators will be on hand for questions and conversations.

This joyful event wouldn’t be complete without a holiday photo opportunity! Although Santa will not be able to visit this year (being conscientious about COVID safety), we will have a festive seasonal photo backdrop for free selfies.

And you’ll be excited to know that the WSHS mascot, Seymour History, will make guest appearances – here’s their schedule!

  • December 18, Saturday, Member Night: 6-7 PM
  • December 19, Sunday, 11 AM-noon and 2-3 PM
  • December 22, Wednesday, 11 AM-noon and 2-3 PM
  • December 28, Tuesday, 11 AM-noon and 2-3 PM

It’s a great time to become a member because WSHS members can enjoy the Model Train Festival for FREE!  Not a member yet? Find out more! Members are also invited to a very special members-only night on December 18 to see the train layouts, talk with the train clubs, and receive a commemorative 25th Annual Model Train Festival gift as well as an interactive craft project that will spark conversation.

Museum occupancy will be limited during the Model Train Festival. Visitors for Model Train Festival are encouraged to purchase timed tickets in advance to guarantee a spot. Tickets will be also be sold at the museum admissions desk as capacity allows. Book your tickets in advance and experience the magic of the Model Train Festival!

Purchase Timed Tickets for Model Train Festival
  • WSHS members get free admission to Model Train Festival but still need to book a time. Use the “sign-in” function at the top right of the ticketing page to get the $0 member price; contact camille.perezselsky@wshs.wa.gov if you need assistance signing in as a member.
  • Not a WSHS member? Book general admission timed tickets ($11-$14, ages 5 and under free) to guarantee your spot!
  • Note: Outside discounts and library passes are not valid during Model Train Festival.

WSHS exhibitions and programs are generously supported by Columbia Bank, Humanities Washington, KNKX, The Murdock Foundation, and the Port of Tacoma.

  • The annual Model Train Festival has been sparking joy for History Museum visitors for a quarter of a century!

    The 25th Annual Model Train Festival 16
  • You’ll love the carefully detailed miniatures in the model train layouts, as well as the model train engines, rail cars, tracks, trestles, and other railroad features.

    The 25th Annual Model Train Festival 20
  • Model Train Festival brings out the kid in all of us.

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  • Tiny landmarks dot the model train layouts. Can you find this drive-in restaurant in one of them?

    The 25th Annual Model Train Festival 4
  • Make memories with your family and friends at this festive winter event.

    The 25th Annual Model Train Festival 18
  • A scale model engine and coal tender. Did you have a model train set, or perhaps a toy train as a child?

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  • It’s fascinating to watch the scale-model trains pass each other, roll over trestles and through tunnels, and rumble through their miniature landscapes.

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  • The roundhouse in the Washington State History Museum’s model train layout, on the fifth floor, operated by Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers. This is the state’s largest model train layout on permanent public view! You can visit the layout year-round at the museum.

    The 25th Annual Model Train Festival 9

This WSHS exhibition is generously supported by Humanities Washington, KNKX Public Radio, and The Norcliffe Foundation.