Washington State History Museum and Research Center are closed through December 14, 2020 per directives from the Office of the Governor related to COVID-19. Close

Prior to your group’s field trip, please talk with your students and chaperones to set expectations and share the following information. Investing this time up front will have a measurably positive impact on your class’s experience. We have limited staff available during field trips and often have several different classes and members of the public visiting the museum at the same time. 

Know Before You Go

Self-Guided Visit Activities

  • If you are going on a self-guided field trip, please bring an activity to support your students’ learning in the museum. Consider using an activity provided in our Field Guide or create your own activity sheet.
    • If you create your own activity, please provide an answer key or extra copy to our staff at the main floor admissions counter. This will better enable us to assist your students in the galleries.
    • The “Natural Settings” and “Encounters” sections of the Great Hall have been renovated. Activity sheets from the Field Guide for both spaces no longer apply.
    • The Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices section of the Great Hall has been removed. Please do not create a worksheet with questions related to this section.
  • Please bring pencils rather than pens.
  • Find out what temporary exhibitions will be on display during your visit.

History Lab Student Groups

If you plan on a History Lab field trip, prepare by placing students in chaperone groups based on their complementary strengths, as these groups will work together in the History Lab.

Chaperones

  • We strongly encourage at least one chaperone for every five students.
  • Chaperones under the guidance of the lead teacher are ultimately responsible for their students while inside the History Museum and must stay with all their students at all times.
  • To ensure your chaperones are as prepared as possible, please print out and customize our chaperone guide with your group’s schedule. Please also share this webpage with them.
  • We encourage groups to create their own identifying tags or other feature to wear during field trip visits. You can print out this template for students to make their own tags. We will give museum-specific tags to teachers and chaperones. Many educators choose to create tags with school names rather than students’ first names, as sharing names may cause safety concerns in public spaces.
  • Taking kids on a field trip can be really fun! Please make the most of it by exploring the museum with your student group and use cell phones sparingly.
  • Please take the time to review our conduct policy so chaperones and students understand all behavioral expectations while attending a field trip.

Transportation & Parking

  • We have limited parking for cars and vans, which are subject to current parking rates.
  • The museum has a bus loading and unloading zone located behind the building in our lower parking lot. After drop off, busses must park off-site unless special arrangements have been made. We recommend parking at the nearby Tacoma Dome. Get directions and current parking pricing.
  • Parent drivers will need to pay for parking. Get information about parking fees and a map.
  • Enter through the Amphitheater entrance. You will be met by museum staff, who will guide you to our Auditorium for a brief orientation.
  • This area is a bit confusing, so please consult these two images for more information on how to enter: Image 1 | Image 2

Bags & Backpacks

  • Backpacks are not permitted into the exhibitions. Groups will need to drop off backpacks, bags, purses, and jackets in provided bins. Chaperones may also use the lockers located in the Coat Room on the main floor of the museum.
  • Teachers are allowed to carry a backpack with medical supplies and prescriptions if necessary. Please alert a museum staff member who will provide you with a medical tag to attach to the bag.

Lunch

  • School groups will be assigned a location and time for lunch prior to your arrival via email.
  • The museum does not have a cafeteria, so chaperones should pack a lunch as well.
  • School groups will leave lunches on a designated cart for consumption at your class’s scheduled lunch time. Since lunches must be dropped off at the beginning of the field trip, we recommend that you place the sack lunches and beverages in large boxes marked with the school, group and/or classroom teachers’ names. Please do not leave lunches in backpacks or bags, cars, or on busses.

Payment

  • Read through payment options on our Field Trip Costs and Scholarships webpage.
  • Please pay admission at the museum after your group’s orientation.
    • When you arrive, be prepared with a headcount of students, chaperones, classroom teachers, and additional adults. Museum staff will provide you with a form to complete to facilitate payment.
    • Bring completed headcount form with payment to the admission desk in the main lobby on the 3rd floor. We can process cash, check, credit card and purchase order.
      • If you bring cash, please use large bills and have it counted ahead of arrival.
      • If you plan to use a purchase order, bring a copy on the day of the field trip and email it to tuyen.kraber@wshs.wa.gov prior to your visit.

Behavior in the Exhibits

  • Please adhere to the museum visitor conduct policy at all times.
  • Please help make sure your students:
    • Stay with their assigned chaperone group.
    • Use indoor level voices.
    • Use walking fee for visitor and artifact safety.
    • Keep food, drink, and gum in the lunchroom. (This includes bottled water.)
    • Only touch parts of the exhibit that are meant to be touched. You will set off an alarm if you try to touch artifacts behind glass or rope.
    • Take pictures without flash.
    • Learn and have fun.