Learning about the past has never been livelier at the Washington State History Museum


If you grew up thinking “history is boring,” this spring at the Washington State History Museum is sure to change your mind. The slate of exhibitions, programs and activities ranges from Bigfoot lore and live music to the nostalgia of childhood play and big (BIG) toys. Here’s a rundown on what you can see and do at the History Museum in Tacoma from now through June:


  • History Happy Hour Trivia – Wednesday, March 21, 6 p.m., The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma
    Bring friends or compete on your own to test your Washington trivia knowledge. The Washington State History Museum is partnering with the City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Office and Tacoma Historical Society to find zany trivia facts from our city and across our state! Facts, fun, and prizes aplenty!
  • Scholarly Selections: “Positive Change in Global Business” – Thursday, April 19, 6:30-8 p.m., Washington State History Museum. Free (Third Thursday: free admission 3-8 p.m.)
    The world is a good place. University of Washington-Tacoma Milgard School of Business instructor Stan Emert will discuss the “who, what, and why” of positive changes being made around the world. Emert, who has conducted business on six of the seven continents, will tell stories of everything from the 11-year-old girl who fought against a heinous practice of her tribal culture to the former prime minister of Norway who helped start The Elders, and much more. Leave feeling hopeful (and maybe even smarter!).
  • Full STEAM Ahead: A K-12 Educator Workshop – Saturday, May 5, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., LeMay – America’s Car Museum, 2702 E. D. St., Tacoma
    This is a special opportunity for educators. Tacoma’s Museum District is back with its annual STEAM workshop. Learn easy and creative methods for incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math into your classroom. Hear from education staff at the Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, Foss Waterway Seaport, and Lemay-America’s Car Museum through hands-on workshops and take-home materials. The event is free, but registration is required. Go to WashingtonHistory.org/events for details.
  • History After Hours: Bigfoot Night – Thursday, May 10, 7-10 p.m., Washington State History Museum. (This is an ages 21+ event. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door.)
    Immerse yourself in the lore of Washington’s most famous cryptid. Jump into field research stations, hands-on crafts, specialty Bigfoot beer by Three Magnets Brewing Co., a musical performance by Butterfly Launches from Spar Pole, and other activities. Curious to know more about the legendary creature? Dr. Robert Michael Pyle and David George Gordon will answer your burning Bigfoot questions and showcase some intriguing clues. This is your one-stop shop for all things Bigfoot. And fun. This event is sponsored in part by Propel. Go to WashingtonHistory.org/events for details. 
  • Tacoma Day of Remembrance – Thursday, May 17, 4-7 p.m., Washington State History Museum. Free (Third Thursday: free admission 3-8 p.m.)
    On May 17 and 18 in 1942, more than 800 people of Japanese ancestry were forcibly relocated out of Tacoma and into internment camps. Join us for a day of programming and activities to commemorate this event, the lives it impacted, and its legacy in Tacoma.
  • Scholarly Selections: “Asian Immigrant Labor Activism in the Northwest,” – Thursday, May 17, 5:30-7 p.m., Washington State History Museum. Free (Third Thursday: free admission 3-8 p.m.)
    In the early 20th century, Asian immigrants who settled in Seattle and other parts of Washington became labor leaders in the Pacific Northwest. They sought to secure labor and civil rights for employees from the canneries in Alaska to the farms in eastern Washington. Dr. Stephanie Hinnershitz will discuss how their actions brought about lasting change in labor relations and shaped civil rights activism in the region.
  • Press PLAY: Family Edition – Sunday, May 20, Noon–5 p.m., Washington State History Museum
    The History Museum is presenting a kid-scaled version of February’s History After Hours: Press Play event. Younger visitors and those who missed Press Play the first time will love this special experience! Explore Toytopia and play all the best games from decades past, including Oregon Trail (yes, the original one)! Bummed you missed out on the pet rock craze? Fear not, you can make your own! We’ll be joined by the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and all the fun toy activities you can handle. Free for Washington State Historical Society members. Buy one/get one admission for Children’s Museum of Tacoma members. Non-members, included with museum admission: $14 adult, $11 student (ages 6-17), free for ages 5 and under.
  • History Happy Hour Trivia – Wednesday, June 20, 6 p.m., The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma
    Ever wondered which of your friends knows the most about Washington and Tacoma trivia? Bring ‘em all or play solo to test your mettle in the epic trivia night battle royale that is History Happy Hour. The Washington State History Museum is teaming up with the Tacoma Historical Society and the City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Office to dig up the most fun, interesting, and weird facts about our home state.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Third Thursday of each month, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (free 3-8 p.m. on Third Thursday)
Admission: Free for members; adults $14; seniors (age 65+), students (age 6-17) and military (with ID) $11; free for children 5 and under; family rate $40 (up to two adults and four children under age 18). Patrons with a Washington Quest card and licensed foster care families can attend for $1 per person or $2 per family. Admission is free 3-8 p.m. on the Third Thursday of each month.

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