Previous Page

Washington State History Museum

1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA



Get Directions

Featured Event

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

Other Upcoming Events

History After Hours: Ghost Museum

Community Event, Social Event

Ready for some historically creepy fun? Grab a beer or a glass of wine before exploring the spookiest ghost stories from around Washington State. Lewis County Historical Museum’s director Jason Mattson will be here to share about paranormal occurrences and the county’s local ghost tours. You’ll also hear from paranormal investigators and learn how they approach their subjects. Explore magic and spiritualism in the exhibition Sleight of Hand and see all the exhibits too.


• Thu 10/25/18 at 7:00 PM - 10:00 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