Tacoma’s History of Washington State Museum Celebrates Life
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Founded in 1891, this incredible museum is one of the few that gets to say they are now celebrating their second century of service to researchers, students, historians, and visitors who rave about the experience.
The Washington State Historical Society runs enticing newbies and avid, long-time enthusiasts alike, the History of Washington State Museum; a group that has continued to dedicate their time and interest to collecting, preserving, and presenting Washington’s rich and storied history with events, collections and celebrations that show how passionate one and all are about their state.
Not only does the Historical Society offer the museum, as well as a wide variety of services to the state and the surrounding community, they also operate the Research Center that is, unfortunately, at this time still closed because of the pandemic. Thankfully, the museum has reopened, and their collections are truly a sight to see. Their vision and mission is relatively easy to understand as well, in the beauty that surrounds you during your visit. They wish to truly explore how history connects all of us as people. The museum itself hopes to achieve the goal of being recognized as THE destination to learn all about Washington state and its amazing background.
Not only do they continuously create an impact in every region of Washington, but they build new audiences both locally and statewide on a daily basis. For those who wish to really understand and get a look at the history of Washington, the ongoing and latest exhibits just opening at the museum are truly sights that can’t be missed.
One such exhibit that is fun for the whole family is “THE NOT-SO-ORDINARY BICYCLE” This huge collection running until January 21, 2021, looks all the way back to the first machine that was seen as the “ordinary” bicycle. Beginning with the contraption, we now see as strange – with the very large front wheel and smaller back wheel – the exhibit delves into the reasoning behind this original design. It explains how the rider could achieve a greater distance with one push of the pedal, riding faster and farther than ever before. Going through the exhibit is much like going back in time to study the ingenuity of the 1870’s and 80’s that spawned future models we now take for granted.
A brand new exhibit that opened in October and will be continuing until January 17, 2021, is a stunning celebration of women’s rights entitled: “VOTES FOR WOMEN – 100 YEARS AND COUNTING.” Paying homage to the Suffrage Centennial, this exhibit offers an amazing, in-depth look at the history of women. Focusing on both the national story and the state of Washington’s personal story, archives explain how Washington women contributed to the eventual ratification of the 19th Amendment and began to achieve success in both the political realm. The female achievements were expansive, and this exhibit has literally taken galleries and turned them into a fun game focused on women and voting rights. It is a literal journey where you learn everything by walking the interactive timeline that shows you the people who fought for the right to vote and, quite literally, changed the course of America.
The beauty of nature in Washington is also something that everyone raves about. From the glorious mountains to the stunning waterfalls to the lovely cities, one exhibit calls out to the people who love the Great Outdoors. “COLUMBIA AND CASCADE: A RIVER AND A RANGE, 1853-1854” runs through January 17, 2021, and is comprised of some of the most stunning works of art you can imagine. A series of original tinted lithographs bring to life the unmatched features of the Cascade Range and the Columbia River, as recorded by two survey parties who were on an excursion to find railroad routes prior to the Civil War. These early landscape views offering images of indigenous trees, birds, fish, and reptiles encountered in these riverine and alpine environments are a sight to behold.
One permanent collection that is talked about across the country is the “GREAT HALL OF WASHINGTON HISTORY – A WINDOW TO THE PAST.” Being the largest exhibit at the museum, it is a true walk through time. Showcasing some of the state’s earliest history, with a variety of artifacts from Native American civilizations and cultures, visitors learn and enjoy everything there is to know about this stunning area, from their journey to statehood, through the Industrial era, and so much more.
Quite frankly, after viewing these dioramas, having a ball with the interactive displays, and visiting every part of this unforgettable museum, it will be difficult not to make this incredible state your new home address.
Open from 10 to 5, Tuesday through Sunday. Although the Research Center remains closed during the pandemic, masks are required in the museum. Always check the website before making plans for details about possible closings. https://www.washingtonhistory.org.
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