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The Washington State Historical Society is a non-profit 501(c)3 membership organization, open to any and all individuals, families, or firms. The Society is also recognized in statute (RCW 27.34) as a trustee agency of the state of Washington with enumerated powers.
Founded in 1891 and now into its second century of service, the Washington State Historical Society is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and vividly presenting Washington's rich and varied history. The Society is comprised of a family ofmuseums and research centers, offering a variety of services to researchers, historians, scholars, and the lifelong learner.
Our mission is to be Washington’s flagship historical organization offering resources and services to citizens, visitors, and others interested in our state’s history. By preserving and interpreting the stories, images, and objects of our state’s past, the Washington State Historical Society helps residents and visitors understand the present and shape the future.
The Society is governed by a board of trustees .
The Washington State History Museum is where fascination and FUN come together! People of all ages can explore and be entertained in an environment where characters from Washington's past speak about their lives. Through interactive exhibits, theatrical storytelling, high-tech displays and dramatic artifacts, learn about our state's unique people and places, as well as their impact on the country and the world.
Begin your journey through Washington with an architectural masterpiece: designed by Charles Moore and Arthur Andersson, the 106,000 square foot museum building stands proudly on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma. The museum boasts soaring spaces and dramatic archways that invite you into a history experience full of colors, textures, sights, and sounds.
The State Capital Museum and Outreach Center is located in the historic Lord Mansion, seven blocks south of the capital campus in Olympia. The museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history and culture of Washington and features two floors of exhibits.
Exhibits on regional Native American history and on Olympia as Washington's capital bring area history alive. A series of provocative temporary exhibits encourages visitors to examine history through different cultural, social, and political lenses. Gracious lawns and ethnobotanical gardens featuring native Northwest flora surround the museum.
The building also houses outreach programs of the Washington State Historical Society, including the Women's History Consortium, Heritage Resource Center, National History Day, and Traveling Exhibits Service.
The Washington State History Research Center provides public access to historical archives, special collections, digital collections and research library, while also serving as the principal repository for the Society's artifact collections, special collections, and digital collections.
The special collection includes the following types of resources, relating to Washington state and regional history: photographs, archives and manuscripts, posters, maps, printed ephemera, books, and finding aids. The museum collection of artifacts presently numbers over 90,000 items, including artworks, clothing, archaeological artifacts, ethnographic materials, tools, equipment, and furniture. The digital collection includes electronic records, documents, digital audio and video files, and digital photography and images.