The stories that make up Washington’s past come alive at the Washington State History Museum – where fascination and FUN come together! The Great Hall of Washington History guides visitors on a journey through history with personal histories, dramatic artifacts, engaging activities, and high-tech interactives.
The History Lab encourages children to use historical inquiry to solve the History Mysteries and learn about the past. Thousands of school children visit the History Museum each year, and teachers find online curriculum and History Box rentals for the classroom. Many children return time and again to see our Model Train Display, which is the largest permanent model train layout in the state.
Featured exhibits highlight significant events and stories, such as Native American heritage, explorers like Lewis & Clark and Captain Cook, modern day enigmas like D.B. Cooper, cataclysmic events such as the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens the personal stories of our veterans, and more! Each featured exhibit offers public programs such as Gallery talks, author presentations and book signings, family camps, unique lectures, panel discussions, film screenings and special events.
Annual community events at the History Museum include the Tacoma History Hike in June, the IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Arts Native American Arts Market & Festival in August, and Model Train Festival in December.
Many opportunities for free or reduced admission to the History Museum are presented throughout the year, including Free 3rd Thursdays where we are open until 8pm and admission is free from 2 – 8pm. For a full list of our discounts, check the History Museum’s visit page at WashingtonHistory.org. If you have a Washington Quest EBT card, you can show your card at admissions any time for admission of $1 per person or $2 per family. From Memorial Day to Labor Day we provide free admission for military families through the Blue Star Museum program. If you want to visit more of the museums in the Tacoma Museum District, you can purchase a Tacoma Museum Pass at TacomaMuseumDistrict.org, which is a multi-access pass at a discounted price.
Enjoy year round free admission to the History Museum and its programs along with a subscription to COLUMBIA Magazine and more valuable benefits such as special members-only exhibit previews by joining the Washington State Historical Society. And don’t forget to round out your time with us with a visit to the Museum Store -- filled with items made in Washington, where all proceeds benefit the Washington State Historical Society.
Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday, 10am – 5pm. Admission: Adults = $11, Students/Military/Seniors = $8, Children Under 5 = free.