Local historians to mark Wash. 125th statehood anniversary

The Washington State Historical Society is inviting groups to develop projects and programs to observe the 125th anniversary of Washington’s statehood.

On Nov. 11, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison signed a proclamation admitting Washington Territory to the Union. A large, commemorative ceremony, complete with performers representing the diverse cultures in Washington and a re-creation of the 1889 telegram, will take place at the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia on Nov. 11, 2014.

“Every Washingtonian has something to contribute to our shared history,” said Shanna Stevenson, project manager for the Washington 125 campaign. “We hope a variety of groups will plan events unique to their role in our state’s history.”

Plans already under way include:

  • Capsule Keepers, a group of adults who, 25 years ago, were enlisted at the age of 10 to contribute to a time capsule in the Legislative Building in Olympia, and were entrusted with the care and continuance of the capsule in the future. Secretary of State Kim Wyman is assisting the Capsule Keepers in finding a new batch of 10-year-olds to carry on the tradition;
  • The Historical Society, which operates the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma and the State Capital Museum in Olympia, will host a series of presentations on topics such as the last 25 years in Washington sports, music, and the arts. Discussions will also explore state park history, maritime history, gay marriage, and the legalization of marijuana;
  • The Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Centennial Farms project will reconnect with the farms across Washington which, at the centennial, had been owned by the same family for at least 100 years.

The Historical Society has created a central resource where those who are planning a project or program for Washington 125 can list their plans. Ideas include conducting a public service project, providing a display for the festivities in Olympia, or holding lectures on different aspects of state history. Creativity is encouraged. The Historical Society’s mascot, Seymour History, is even getting involved as groups are welcome to host a flat version of him and submit photos and captions of his adventures around Washington.

More information is available online here.