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Washington State History Museum

1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA



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Third Thursday

Community Event, Education

Special exhibitions on view: Collections Selections: Jacob Lawrence, Two Centuries of Glass, Sleight of Hand: Magic and Spiritualism in the Twentieth Century. Select unique gifts and complete your last-minute holiday shopping at The Goods at the Museum. Third Thursday is generously supported by Columbia Bank.


• Thu 12/20/18 at 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Member Appreciation Night


Washington State Historical Society is excited to show our appreciation for our members with a special festive evening. Members can have the run of the museum on the first night of the annual Model Train Festival! Join us for delicious treats, surprises and fun! Members, kindly RSVP to


• Fri 12/21/18 at 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

23rd Annual Model Train Festival

Children, Community Event, Holiday, For the Family

History and holiday magic unite at the Washington State History Museum during the 23rd Annual Model Train Festival in December. Bring your family, friends, and the railroad enthusiasts in your life to see this showcase of the most spectacular and detailed model railroad scenes in the Pacific Northwest, including the largest permanent model train layout in Washington! New this year: find train related artifacts in the Great Hall. The 2018 Model Train Festival is made possible in part by the Port of Tacoma. Take a free photo with Santa Claus! The jolly gentleman will be here to visit with children on December 21, 22 and 23 from 11:00 AM–3:00 PM. We’ll capture this special moment on an iPad and the pictures will be instantly e-mailed to you. Let the magical holiday memories commence. December 23 is also Teen Tix day. Show your Teen Tix card and get in for just $5.00.


• Fri 12/21/18 - Tue 1/1/19 at 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Sleight of Hand: Magic and Spiritualism in the Early 20th Century

Magic, Community Event

Sleight of Hand: Magic and Spiritualism in the Early 20th Century, August 4, 2018-January 20, 2019 What is magic? Is it the magician who levitates a woman above the darkened stage of the Pantages Theater? The medium who gazes into the depths of Commencement Bay to awaken the ghosts of lost sailors? The escape artist who dangles himself in a straitjacket from the Seattle Times building, smiling at the crowds below? Magic is all of these things and more. An art of deception and wonder, magic has been practiced throughout human history as a means not only to entertain but also to enlighten. We think of magic in the modern era as a brief amusement, yet in times past, this craft was used in places as disparate as religious ceremonies, public speaking, and warfare. Magic has also served as a platform for the voiceless to speak, as seen in the connections between spiritualism and the suffragette movement. This exhibition showcases the magicians who came through the Pacific Northwest. It tells the intriguing story of how magic has impacted society as a whole, giving the discipline historical significance while entertaining and engaging the public. We're not divulging the secrets of magic (sorry!), but rather seek to delight visitors through sharing lost arts and mysteries. Come and be amazed!


• Sat 8/4/18 - Sun 1/20/19 at 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Collection Selections: Jacob Lawrence


Jacob Lawrence, one of America’s most celebrated artists, moved to Seattle from New York in 1970. Shortly thereafter, in 1972, Lawrence was commissioned by the State Capital Museum to create a set of narrative paintings about the saga of pioneer George Bush, the first African American pioneer to settle in the Evergreen State. For preservation purposes, these paintings are rarely on view; join us in appreciating them in the gallery this fall.


• Fri 10/19/18 - Sun 1/20/19 at 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM