Take a look at our answers to commonly asked rental questions, and please visit our Facility Rentals page for more information. We’d be glad to answer any other questions you may have! Please email rentals@wshs.wa.gov.

A photo of a lobby

Frequently Asked Questions about Renting Museum Space for Private Events

Am I allowed to have alcohol at my event?

Certainly! We recommend clients work with their caterer to obtain the appropriate permit and provide a certified server. If you are not working through a caterer, you may also obtain your own banquet permit and certified server. Check the Washington Liquor Control Board’s website for more information.

What kinds of decorations may I use?

We do ask that you do not use a few items (listed below) as they may harm the artifacts in the museum or create damage that is difficult to remedy. Beyond that, feel free to be as creative as you like!

The History Museum does not allow the following items:

  • helium-filled balloons,
  • open flames (excluding votive-type candles),
  • glitter,
  • confetti,
  • rice,
  • birdseed,
  • asparagus fern,
  • plant berries,
  • freshly cut garden flowers or branches.

Please review your decorating plans with our Head of Support Services by calling 253-798-5891 or e-mailing rentals@wshs.wa.gov prior to your event to ensure it is all you hope for while also being safe for our museum.

Do I have to use a certain caterer?

Our clients have ultimate flexibility in selecting the perfect caterer for an event. You may choose from our list of authorized caterers, or you may choose a caterer who is not currently on our list.

If your caterer is not on our preapproved list, we ask that they submit a pre-qualifying application for our review and approval well in advance of your special occasion. The application can be downloaded here.

Can my guests view the galleries in the museum during my rental?

Up to two hours of museum gallery viewing are included in your rental package! You can choose the stunning Great Hall of Washington History located on the main floor, or opt for the featured temporary exhibits located on the fifth floor.

You can extend your guests’ exhibition viewing time for an additional fee.

How can I check to see if the space I want is available on a certain date?

Fill out the online inquiry to give us more information about your event, including the dates and times that you prefer. We will check availability and respond to you via email or telephone call.

How do I reserve an available date and time?

To reserve a particular date and time for a rental, we ask clients to put down a 25% non-refundable deposit based on the projected cost of the event (this includes room rental and additional fees such as cleaning fee, audio-visual equipment if desired, etc.).

We are not able to make tentative reservations (without a deposit) due to the volume of booked events and school and group tours.

Is the museum handicapped accessible?

The museum provides handicapped parking stalls with easy access to elevators. All of our event spaces are easily accessed with the use of walkers, strollers and wheelchairs.

Do you have on-site parking?

Yes. We have two parking lots with a 150 vehicle capacity immediately adjacent to the building, one to the south and one to the east. These are pre-pay lots, and parking rates can be found here. If you wish to provide hosted parking for your event, you can include that in your rental package for an additional fee.