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Historical Societies

Listed below are a just a handful of historical societies. There are many more with different themes through out our state. They include maritime museums, railroad museums, military museums, historical museums, specialty museums like the Klondike Gold Rush Museum featured below.

Research Strategy: Historical societies are undiscovered research possibilities. They also require a different approach. Most of them will not allow direct access to their collections or library so you need to go to the website and study it first for clues and for the possibility of a collections overview. Once you have done a little website research make your decision about what you would like to research and call, write or e-mail them your request. Wait for their response and set up an appointment for research.

The following Historical Society is a good place to start to find historical societies through Washington State:

WASHINGTON STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402
Toll Free: 1-88-Be-There 888-238-4373
Information Line: 253-272-9747
The Washington State Historical Society website is very detailed and has a lot of good information. They have more holdings than just the museum in Tacoma. They include the State Capital Museum and Outreach Center, and the Washington State History Research Center. Their website has an overview of their society at The Society link.

Click on the Research WA link at the top of their website page and it will take you to a webpage that will feature their collections. They have a link to their Collections which features digital collections.

To find their member museums and historical societies go to their Affiliate Museums & Organizations for WSHS. Here you will find a list of Historical Societies that are members of the Washington State Historical Society in the State of Washington with addresses, locations and links to those with websites.

ASSOCIATION OF KING COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETIES (AKCHO)
P.O. Box 3257, Seattle, WA 98114
Contact is through their Contacts page where they have a form to fill out or you can go to the Board of Trustees with links for contact.Their member's list is very detailed and comprehensive for King County. Their AKCHart is downloadable and very detailed about each of their member organizations. It tells you if there is a library available for research, tours, and more. They have an events calendar describing what is happening with their local member societies.

WASHINGTON STATE TOURISM ARTS CULTURE AND HERITAGE
This is the tourism website for the great State of Washington.

Research Tip: Whenever you are planning a visit or need to learn about an area, go to that state's tourism website and explore even if you live there. This particular link will take you to the arts, cultural and heritage websites throughout our state. We also recommend the Explore Cities and the Scenic Byways if you want to get to know this state. They break it down by category and give you a mileage option so you can find interesting museums within your location provided you live in Washington State. Then they provide a map to that location.

Historical Museums in the Puget Sound area:

ANACORTES HISTORY MUSEUM
1305 8th St.
Anacortes, WA 98221.
Phone: 360-293-1915
E-mail to their research library: coa.museum@cityofanacortes.org
There is an admission fee. Check the website for days and hours. The Library for research is open Monday through Friday 10-4 pm and closed Wednesday. Appointments are preferred.

BALLARD HISTORICAL SOCIETY
P.O. Box 17775
Seattle, WA 98127
Phone: 206-660-8463
E-mail: president@ballardhistory.org
They have tours of the neighborhood, the history of Ballard and a photo archive. Ballard is rich in Nordic Heritage.

OLYMPIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND BIGELOW HIOUSE
Location: 918 Glass Ave NE, Olympia, WA 98506.
Mailing address: BHPA P.O. Box 1821, Olympia, WA 98507
E-mail: bigelowhousemuseum@gmail.com
Phone: 360-753-1215
This site covers the Daniel & Ann Elizabeth Bigelow house and family history covering 150 years. Contact the museum to make arrangements for research.

DES MOINES HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Location: 730 South 225th Street, Des Moines, WA
Mailing address: P.O. Box 98055, Des Moines, WA 98198-0055
E-mail: info@dmhs.org
Phone: 206-824-5226
Des Moines is south of Seattle on Puget Sound. Check out their collection description and area history.

FOOTHILLS HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM
Mailing address: P O. Box 530, Buckley, WA 98321
Location: 130 W. River Avenue, Buckley, WA 98321
Phone: 360-829-1291
The information for this Society and Museum is housed with the Buckley Chamber of Commerce at the link above. They are nestled in the Cascade foothills.

HARBOR HISTORY MUSEUM
Location: 4121 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor, WA
Mailing address: P.O. Box 744, Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Phone: 253-858-6722
They request that visitors call. They have moved to a new location and are not yet up and running to open to the general public. They are scheduled to open sometime in 2009 so keep visiting.

HERITAGE LEAGUE OF PIERCE COUNTY
This website has a long listing of historical organizations in Pierce County covering some examples like the Fort Lewis Military Museum, Historic Tacoma, and Western State Hospital Association. Click a link for more information. There is also a map that helps to locate these member organizations. They also have events, links and more about this Heritage League.

HISTORY LINK: Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History
Location 1411 4th Avenue, Suite 803
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: 206-447-8140
E-mail: admin@historylink.org
This is an online resource about the history of Washington State. Topics are cities and towns, county thumbnails, biographies, timeline essays, people's history. They have research shortcuts, features and more history.

HYDROPLANE RACE BOAT MUSEUM
5917 South 196th Street
Kent, WA 98032
Phone: 206-764-9453
If you grew up in Seattle every summer consisted of a visit to Lake Washington to see the thunderboats like Hawaii Kai and Miss Thriftway race around Lake Washington. It was fun to take people to the pits on the shores of Lake Washington and wait till the boats powered up. Their eyes would open wide as the ground would rumble and tremble. For Northwest history a visit to this sight and reading of some of the featured articles is a walk through time. This museum's articles cover the events and people involved with this industry. They have a rotating display of restored hydroplanes in the museum.

KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK SEATTLE UNIT
Pioneer Square in the Heart of Seattle's Historic District
117 South Main Street
Seattle, Washington 98104
Phone: 206-553-7220
This museum features the stampeders who headed to the Klondike region and many of them came through Seattle. Take time to browse the museum exhibits and you will be amazed as you learn about the hardships encountered by these brave souls. Call for appointment to do research. NOTE: This site is part of the National Park Service which has information about their collections. Visit this page to find a park.

KITSAP COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM
280 4th Street, Bremerton, WA 98337
Phone: 360-479-6226
For research it is best to call and make an appointment. This historical society is located in the heart of Bremerton in the Art District. You will have to park away from the location and walk to it.

LAKEWOOD HISTORICAL SOCIETY
6211 Mt. Tacoma Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
Phone: 253-682-3480
Lakewood is next to Tacoma. They have great photos, history and tours. There is a sign along I-5 pointing the way. Open Wed-Sat 12-4 p.m.

THE LEAGUE OF SNOHOMISH COUNTY HERITAGE ORGANIZATIONS
Email: info@snocoheritage.org
This league covers links to these societies: Alderwood Manor Heritage Assn & Heritage Park, Edmonds Museum, Everett Public Library-Northwest Room, Historic Everett, Granite Falls Museum, Index Historical Society, Marysville, Historical Society, Monroe Museum, Monte Cristo Preservation Association, Mukilteo Historical Society & Lighthouse, Museum of Snohomish County, Sky Valley Antique Tractor Club, Skykomish Historical Society, Sno-Isle Genealogical Society, Snohomish Historical Society & Blackman Museum, Stanwood Area History Museum & D.O. Pearson House, Stillaguamish Valley Pioneers & Museum, and the Western Heritage Center – Monroe Fairgrounds. Click on the Research Resources and you will find a nice listing of Snohomish County resources including libraries in the region and more. Cool site.

MEEKER MANSION
312 Spring Street, Puyallup, WA 98372,
Phone 253-848-1770.
This is a museum housed in the home of Ezra Meeker. The website covers the history of the house, has a calendar of events, and will host weddings and teas. They have a photo gallery and virtual tour. They may also have photos that cover the Puyallup Valley.

MUSEUM OF HISTORY & INDUSTRY (MOHAI)
860 Terry Ave., N.
Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: 206-324-1126
MOHAI is now located at Lake Union Park. Check the website frequently for news. Currently they are open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. On their website there is an area called Research at the top. Call for appointment to do research or email them at library@seattlehistory.org.

THE MUSEUM OF FLIGHT
9404 East Marginal Way S.
Seattle, WA 98108-4097.
This museum is in south Seattle next to Boeing field on the west side.
Phone: 206-764-5720, Open daily 10 am to 5pm.
This is an amazing aviation museum and a must see. They have airplanes that dangle from the ceiling. They have airplanes that you can climb in and out of and space vehicles to explore, flight simulators to try your hand at. Sometimes you can even take a flight in one of their planes. Plan to spend a day there and yes they do have a café. Check their events page for special exhibits. Here is the link to the Collections and Museum Research page. They have a Ready Reference desk for walk-ins but you might want to spend a little more time than that. They have expanded this page for more information on using their research facilities so take your time to learn what they have to offer. They have PDF files explaining their fees for photos and copies and guidelines to their research rules.

NORDIC HERITAGE MUSEUM
3104 NW 67th Street
Seattle, WA 98177
Located in the Ballard Neighborhood of Seattle.
Phone: 206-789-5707
This last year PS-APG participated in a tour of the Nordic Heritage Museum led by a docent of the museum. To arrange a tour you need to contact them and talk to their programs coordinator. Their museum emphasis is on Scandinavian culture which covers Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Their library has the “bygdeboks” (farm histories). Call for hours and to make an appointment for research.

NORTHWEST AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM
2300 S. Massachusetts Street
Seattle, WA 98144
Phone: 206-518-6000
Email: info@naamnw.org
They are open Wednesday through Sunday with different hours each day so check their website for details and holiday schedule. They have museum exhibits, guided tours, workshops and more. They also have the Genealogy Center which is listed under the tab Experience on their website.

OREGON-CALIFORNIA TRAILS ASSOCIATION: Northwest Chapter
They feature the top Northwest Trail sites, a Speaker's Bureau, and chapter newsletter along with a store. The national site lists 11 regional and state chapters. National website: http://www.octa-trails.org/. Includes people and places, resources and more on those that traveled the many trails to get to the West Coast.

PACIFIC NW HISTORIANS GUILD
P.O. Box 85457
Seattle, WA 98145-0687
Phone: 206-783-9245
Email: mail@pnwhistorians.org
This organization sponsored the “Meet Me at the Fair” Exploring the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition March 7, 2009. They have a members listing of historical writers and researchers. They feature historical books for sale and abstracts on the most current research. They also have a speakers list.

POINTS NE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
201 Ton A Wan Da Ave NE
Tacoma, WA 98422
Phone: 253-942-2536
Email: bplighthouse@hotmail.com
They have several facilities: Artifacts museum, Bell House, Boathouse and Boathouse Museum. Clicking on the Research Center did not reveal much so it probably is under construction. Their website features Dash Point, Lighthouse links, area history, Browns Point and a list along the left side of interesting topics.

QUEEN ANNE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
P.O. Box 19432
Seattle, WA 98109
Email: help@qahistory.com
They have on their website upcoming events, articles, historic sites, then and now and interesting links, plus a photo archive. Queen Anne is a neighborhood district of Seattle north of the downtown area.

RENTON HISTORY MUSEUM
235 Mill Ave S.
Renton, WA 98057
Phone: 425-255-2330
Email: info@rentonhistory.org
They list their collections on their website. They have a quarterly newsletter, image archive, store and links.

SHORELINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
18501 Linden Avenue North
Shoreline, WA 98133
Phone: 206-542-7111
Their archive is open for the public on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment. Their website features their history, historical photos, their exhibits and events and how to plan a visit. They also have a research library with their collection featured on their website. Shoreline is located in the City of Shoreline on the northern border of Seattle. The name of the City of Shoreline came from the description of the geographic area it covers. Shoreline touches on the west shores of Puget Sound and stretches to the east touching the shores of Lake Washington.

SOUTH PIERCE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Stage Stop Museum
Mashell Avenue S & Alder Street,
Eatonville, WA 98328
Phone 253-988-0904
E-mail: Senemaat@rainierconnect.com

TACOMA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
3712 S. Cedar St.
Tacoma, WA
Phone: 253-472-3738
Email: info@tacomahistory.org
The society has closed their Exhibit center and will reopen on January 6th their research center at the above address. The research center will provide society members and other access to the society's extensive collection of Tacoma newspapers dating back to 1893. Other Tacoma Historical Society activities such as publications, monthly programs and public events will continue. The Annual Historic Homes of Tacoma Tour will also be planned.

VETERANS MUSEUM
P.O. Box 82333
Kenmore, WA 98028
Phone: 425-821-0489
Email: info@seattleveteransmuseum.org
The museum is located on 2nd Ave between Union and University in downtown Seattle. They have a virtual tour of the museum on their website. They have weapons, uniforms and military history. They also feature the stories of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

WASHINGTON STATE JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
2031 Third Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
Phone: 206-774-2277
On their website they describe their archival holdings which cover the Jewish experience in Washington State. Their website has a list of publications, events section and a great links to other resources page. The location of their archive materials is at the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections of the Allen Library. E-mail Dr. Richard Hobbs at rshobbs@winthropgroup.com.

WHITE RIVER VALLEY MUSEUM
918 H Street SE, Auburn Community Campus
Auburn, WA 98002
Phone: 253-288-7433
This small but wonderful historical society is located in Auburn, Washington next door to the Auburn Public Library that houses the South King County Genealogical Society collection. WRVM have a very carefully maintained library for research in the south King County area. They have a photo archive on their website, tours, events and exhibits. Call for hours. This is a gem in the heart of Auburn.

WING LUKE ASIAN MUSEUM
719 South King Street
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-623-5124
Check out their collections page on their website. They have the Gary Locke Library and Community Heritage Center. The library is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 am to 3 pm. You can call to make appointment outside of these hours 206-623-5124 ext. 117. They offer tours of Chinatown and more.