Washington State Historical Society to celebrate 125th Anniversary

The Washington State Senate passed a resolution Tuesday honoring the 125th Anniversary of the Washington State Historical Society.

Founded on Oct. 8, 1891, the Washington State Historical Society is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and vividly presenting Washington’s rich and varied history. The organization is comprised of a family of museums — the State Capital Museum, located at 211 21st Ave. SW, in Olympia; and the Washington State History Museum, located at 1911 Pacific Ave., in downtown Tacoma — and research centers offering a variety of services to researchers, historians, scholars, and lifelong learners.

The action taken in Olympia this week coincides with a new exhibit entitled 125 Years of Collecting and Connecting, which tells the story of the materials the organization has collected, as well as the ways it has shared those collections with the public. The exhibit opens this month and runs until Sun., Dec. 4.

According to the Washington State Historical Society’s Web site, a series of events are planned this year to mark the anniversary, including the public unveiling of the new exhibit on Thurs., Feb. 18; History Hysteria!, a bracket-style tournament that will be held online and in-person at the Washington State History Museum in March that will invite the public to choose their favorite exhibit items and put them head to head to see which comes out on top; a geocaching contest this summer that will feature 125 of the most interesting Heritage Capital Projects in Washington State; and a birthday party on Sat., Oct. 8, to mark the organization’s actual anniversary date.

More information is available online here.


Senator Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma) co-sponsored the resolution in Olympia this week and issued the following statement:

“I am incredibly proud to be able to honor the accomplishments of the Washington State Historical Society and to help celebrate its 125th Anniversary. Founded in our state in 1891, it is a rare gem and an incredible asset to learners of all ages studying the varied and rich history of our state. Researchers, scholars and more than 16,000 students per year take part in programs sponsored by the Washington State Historical Society. The collection of personal, local, national and regional stories has become the repository of our comprehensive history and heritage of our people and our state. I have had the opportunity to take part in many of the programs that are offered by the Historical Society. Each year look forward to the ‘In the Spirit’ show of contemporary Native American art and National History Day and Washington State History Day inspires our students and emphasizes the importance of comprehensive historical research and education. The Washington Women’s History Consortium has created an extensive collection and sources of information about women’s history in Washington through partnerships with higher education institutions across our state. The State History Museum in the heart of downtown Tacoma was at the forefront of the revitalization of Pacific Avenue. Today, it is a vibrant hub of historic, educational, cultural, and entrepreneurial activity. I cannot imagine Pacific Avenue, or Tacoma without the Washington State Historical Museum. The Washington State Historical Society and our State History Museum remain a critical asset and historical treasure to my community, our region and our state. I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations on their 125th anniversary.”