Washington State History Museum Tacoma, WA

Washington State History Museum

The Washington State Historical Society is a non-profit organization that is open to individuals, families, and firms. Recognized in statute as a trustee agency of the state of Washington with specified powers, the Society is headquartered in Tacoma, on the traditional lands of the Puyallup People, whom the Society acknowledges with respect.

Since its founding in 1891, the Washington State Historical Society has been dedicated to collecting, preserving, and presenting Washington’s rich history for over a century. The Society provides various services to researchers, historians, scholars, and lifelong learners, and operates the State History Research Center and the Washington State History Museum.

The organization is governed by a Board of Trustees, which includes seven public officials, and is led by a director appointed by the board. The Society’s mission is to partner with communities to explore how history connects us all. Its vision is to be the recognized destination for Washington State history and to serve as the state’s primary history educator, making history relevant to modern lives and supporting civic dialogue where all are welcome. The Society values integrity, scholarship, community engagement, diversity, innovation, accountability, and service.

In order to create meaningful impact in every region of the state, the Society has set goals to build and grow audiences, develop institutional assets to meet evolving needs, increase organizational resources, and embrace inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in operations, programs, and collections.

One of the key components of the Society is the State History Research Center, which offers a wide range of resources for those interested in researching Washington State history. The Center’s collection includes manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other historical materials, as well as genealogical resources such as census records, cemetery records, and vital records. Additionally, the Center provides access to a variety of databases and digital resources, including online exhibitions, digital archives, and virtual field trips.

The Society’s other major component is the Washington State History Museum, which is located in Tacoma and houses exhibits and displays on the history of Washington State. The museum’s permanent exhibits cover a wide range of topics, including Native American history, the state’s maritime heritage, the development of industry in the state, and the growth of the state’s cities. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits and special events throughout the year.

In addition to its research center and museum, the Society offers a variety of educational programs and resources for all ages, including lectures, workshops, field trips, and outreach programs. The Society also partners with schools and other educational institutions to provide curriculum materials and resources for teachers and students.

As a non-profit organization, the Washington State Historical Society relies on the support of its members, donors, and volunteers to carry out its mission. Membership in the Society includes a variety of benefits, such as free admission to the museum, discounts on research center services, and invitations to members-only events. Donations and volunteer work help support the Society’s educational programs, exhibits, and collections.

In summary, the Washington State Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, and presenting the history of Washington State. Through its research center, museum, and educational programs, the Society aims to make history relevant to modern lives and to connect communities through a shared appreciation for the state’s rich history.

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