In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington State Historical Society closed the History Museum and Research Center in mid-March 2020. Governor Inslee has permitted museums in Phase 2 counties to re-open with limitations and under guidelines. Washington State History Museum will re-open on September 29, 2020. Find our COVID-19 reopening safety plan here.
The History Museum’s visitor hours will be:
- Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
- The first two hours on Tuesdays (10:00 AM-noon) are reserved for ages 65+.
- The museum is closed to visitors on Mondays.
What to know about coming back to the museum:
- Half-price admission through October 23. The Great Hall of Washington History (3rd floor) will be open along with a special pop-up exhibition – the Northwest Collage Society’s Suffrage Celebration Show. The 5th floor galleries will remain closed for installation of new exhibitions.
- On October 24, the museum’s 5th floor galleries will reopen with new exhibitions to enjoy along with the Great Hall of Washington History. Admission will return to regular price.
- Visitors will be required to wear face masks in the building per state mandate and asked to observe social distancing.
- COVID self-screening will be posted at the entrances.
- The museum’s safety measures also include hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, one-way gallery paths, reduced building occupancy, enhanced cleaning protocols, and a superior air filtration system.
- Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance via the museum’s website. E-tickets support touchless entry. See the yellow “Buy tickets” button on the home page of this website.
- Visitors who would like to purchase admission at the museum can pay with credit or debit cards only; cash will not be accepted.
There’s a lot to see at the Washington State History Museum. Explore the Great Hall and see the pop-up Northwest Collage Society exhibition. Coming October 24, Votes for Women: 100 Years and Counting and Columbia and Cascade: A River and a Range, followed in November by Just the Ticket: Railroads in Washington. This winter, the new Remembrance gallery will open. The History Museum staff look forward to seeing you soon!
The Research Center will remain temporarily closed and facility rentals at the museum will remain paused through the end of 2020.
Staff are available by phone and email (please see our contact list).
You can also stay connected with virtual programs, downloadable curriculum, and more.
- Download resources for preschool and K-12 students who are learning at home on our History at Home page, and find additional curriculum here.
- Explore artifacts, exhibits and learning activities through the WA State History Museum’s free app.
- Look through the Historical Society’s collections in an online database: In the search field, type in your object or subject of interest (baskets or logging, for example) and see what comes up!
- Join in our live virtual Washington Stay Home Society programs! They’re free and our speakers often include a follow-along make-at-home project.
- Dive into a digital library of articles about the rich history of the Pacific Northwest in the archives of our award-winning popular history magazine, COLUMBIA.
- Tune into Columbia Conversations to hear interviews with historians from around Washington and the Old Oregon Territory.
- Contribute your COVID-19 story to our collections. Help document this historic event with digital images, ephemera or objects. Click here for more information, and thank you!
- Heritage and cultural organizations: We have a list of resources for you, and join us for Common Concerns live online conversations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the Common Concerns email list.
We are grateful to our program partners, teachers and constituents and we look forward to continuing to engage our communities both online and in the museum.
Our heartfelt thanks to all of the healthcare professionals and essential services workers in Washington and beyond who are working toward containment and continuing to provide necessary services and resources. Our thoughts and caring extend to all those who are suffering as a result of this outbreak.
What You Can Do
We can all help by following the CDC’s steps to prevent illness. For more information about containment practices and updates, please see: