Western Washington has a rich and varied history, and pieces of the past can be found in just about every community, as well as award winning hands-on activities and world renowned art. Here are just a few that stand out as premier museum exhibits throughout the Greater Seattle area.
Bellevue Arts Museum
510 Bellevue Way Northeast
Bellevue, WA 98004
Bellevue Arts Museum is the Pacific Northwest’s center for the exploration of art, craft and design through exhibitions, educational programs and partnerships, emphasizing the work of regional artists.
Eastside Heritage Center
2102 Bellevue Way Southeast
Bellevue, WA 98004
The Eastside Heritage Center is committed to preserving the past as it builds community and connects people with their heritage. In addition to maintaining and preserving the largest collection of artifacts, photos and archival material related to East King County, Washington, the Eastside Heritage Center focuses on sharing this collection with the community through exhibits, books, presentations and a wide variety of education programs.
Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art
1116 108th Avenue Northeast
Bellevue, WA 98004
Find yourself surrounded by one of the world's finest doll collections, on display in an exquisite Museum setting designed especially for the dolls. Museum exhibits feature over 1,200 dolls on permanent display, ranging from antique to modern, plus teddy bears, toys, dollhouses, miniatures and other childhood memorabilia. They are fun to look at and enjoy and, as well, teach the history of doll making while showcasing the artistry of the dolls. A stroll through the English garden provides you with a moment to savor the Museum building itself, a beautiful modern structure with definite Victorian influences.
Pioneer Farm Museum & Ohop Indian Village
7716 Ohop Valley Rd
Escape to another century... Journey back to the 1880's with our tour guides to experience homesteading in Washington state. Then step back further, to before the first local contact with Europeans and experience our seasonal Ohop Indian Village. We provide "HANDS ON" tours which educate while being a really fun time for children of all ages.
Edmonds Historical Museum
118 5th Avenue North
Edmonds, WA 98020
The museum building has two floors. The upper floor features an exhibit gallery which offers temporary rotating displays, a diorama depicting the 1910 Edmonds townsite and waterfront, and the Cook Victorian Parlor. The upper level also houses the administrative office, work rooms, a local history library and an extensive photography archive. The public is encouraged to use the research library, with an advance appointment.
The ground floor consists of the long-term exhibit conceived to commemorate the centennial of the incorporation of the City of Edmonds 1890/1990. "The Changing Face of Edmonds" is an encapsulated, thematic, and chronological history exhibit, interpreting the many changes that have taken place, from the age of exploration and discovery, through the founding and growth of the city, and up to the 1950s when the last mill closed. Highlights of the exhibit include a reconstruction of a room from the 1894 Stevens Hotel, and a working model of a shingle mill, representative of the mills that filled the waterfront at the turn of the century.
Flying Heritage Museum
3407 109th Street SW
Everett, WA 98204
The Flying Heritage Collection is a premier aviation attraction, with something of interest for visitors of all ages. Whether an individual, family or large group, FHC's exclusive offerings let you experience powerful history that changed the world.
The planes within the Flying Heritage Collection were created at a time when aeronautical discovery had evolved to aviation mastery. With leading technologies of the 1930s and 1940s, the main emphasis of the collection includes combat aircraft from World War II.
Examples include U.S., British, German, Russian and Japanese types, which were often pitted against each other in great air battles. These rare survivors were researched, hunted down and sometimes recovered from former battlegrounds and airfields. While a few specimens were rebuilt by previous owners, the majority on display have received restoration of the highest authenticity.
Imagine Children’s Museum
1502 Wall St.
Everett, WA 98021
The Mission of Imagine Children's Museum is to make children's lives better by creating a place where they can playfully learn. They are committed to: Creative exploration and imaginative play; Helping build character and self-confidence; Instilling a community connection; Learning experiences that spark curiosity; Developing interactive exhibits and programs; Reaching out to all children; Ensuring a safe and stimulating environment; Nurturing child/adult interaction.
Museum of Snohomish County History
1913 Hewitt Avenue
Everett WA 98201
There is no place like home—and the stories of places we all call home are reflected in the exhibits, resources and volunteers at the new Snohomish County Museum of History. Located next to the county campus in downtown Everett, the renewed Carnegie library facility is positioned to educate, intrigue, and inspire visitors—from all over!
Issaquah Depot Museum
50 Rainier Blvd N.
Issaquah, WA 98027
The Squak Valley was little more than a wide spot in a non-existent road when the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway, led by young attorney, Daniel Hunt Gilman, made its way to the small settlement of Squak in 1888. With the arrival of the railroad, development possibilities were endless for the small community. The black gold hidden in the hillside became the lodestar of the town. The railroad provided a cost effective method of getting the coal to market. Local farms and lumber companies had a faster and more economical way of getting their products to Seattle buyers.
In 1983, the Issaquah Historical Society Depot Committee began the restoration of the building which was in deplorable condition. The restoration of the Train Station is now complete, due wholly to untiring hours of volunteer effort and an extraordinary contribution of materials and dollars from the entire community. The Issaquah Historical Society dedicated the building in June of 1994. The restoration is an exact replication of the original materials and structure. The floors and milled trim work is of old Douglas Fir. The flooring in the freight room is the original floor with the broad boards turned over for better appearance.
Gilman Town Hall Museum
165 SE Andrews Street
Issaquah, WA 98027
The Gilman Town Hall tells the story of Issaquah's past through hundreds of photographs and artifacts (many never before on display) and a variety of interactive elements. Come see one of Issaquah's original water pipes, a rare Native American fur trade knife, and graffiti hidden for 75 years inside the walls of the fish hatchery. Set off an imaginary charge with an authentic dynamite blaster, ring a logging camp bell, listen to the music of the Squak Valley Hot Shots -- and much more!
The museum is housed in the small building which served as the original Town Hall from early 1890's, when Issaquah was still called Gilman, until 1930 when the offices were moved to the new City Hall on Sunset. The two-cell concrete jail behind the building was poured in 1914 and used until 1930. The concrete structure replaced a wooden jail which proved to be inadequate for its rambunctious inmates.
609 Front Street
Mukilteo, WA 98275
Over 100 years old and now fully automated, the lighthouse still sends signals to passing boats. Open summer weekends and holidays from 12–5 p.m., the circular staircase at the top offers
great views and a one-of-a-kind experience.
Hands On Children’s Museum
106 11th Avenue Southwest
Olympia, WA 98501
Since its founding in 1987, Hands On has evolved from a fledgling “museum without walls” to the premier provider of hands-on science and art education in Southwest Washington. In 1998, the Museum moved from the tiny storefront facility to its current location on the State’s Capitol Campus. After just three years in this location, Hands On hosted more visitors per square foot than any other children’s Museum in the Northwest!
The Hands On Children’s Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children, families and school groups. At Hands On, we believe that all children deserve respect and the opportunity to learn and that families are important as children’s first teachers and as their partners in learning. Our programs and participatory exhibits are designed specifically to encourage interaction and inquiry, as well as participation from the entire family.
Washington State Capital Museum
211 SW 21st Avenue
Olympia, WA 98501
The State Capital Museum and Outreach Center is located in the historic Lord Mansion, seven blocks south of the capital campus in Olympia. The museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history and culture of Washington and features two floors of exhibits.
Exhibits on regional Native American history and on Olympia as Washington's capital bring area history alive. A series of provocative temporary exhibits encourages visitors to examine history through different cultural, social, and political lenses. Gracious lawns and ethnobotanical gardens featuring native Northwest flora surround the museum.
#45 Georgetown Steam Plant (1906)/Georgetown Powerplant Museum
6605 13th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98108
The Georgetown Steam Plant, a surprisingly complete and operable steam power plant after a career of nearly seventy-five years, was built in the early 1900s when Seattle's inexpensive hydroelectric power attracted manufacturers. Much of the power produced at this plant operated the streetcars. It marks the beginning of the end of the reciprocating steam engine's domination in the growing field of electrical energy generation for lighting and power. Exhibits include the Puget Sound Garden Railroad Society operating miniature steam locomotives, a Calliophone, a live, old-timey band, vintage fire engine displays from the Last Resort Fire Department and rides on members' locomotives on 12 inch gauge track.
Steam meets, free and open to the public, are held on the 2nd Saturday of each month, from 10am until 2pm. Steam meets include operating hot gas, gasoline, air, and steam engines, beverages, snacks, and guided plant tours including oral history and dynamic display of plant engines.
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Northeast 45th Street & 17th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98195
Members of the Young Naturalists Society founded the museum upon their own initiative and erected a museum building on the University of Washington campus to house their growing collection of natural history artifacts. In 1899, the state legislature designated the museum as the Washington State Museum. In the following 100+ years, the museum continued to grow and flourish in collections and research, garnering worldwide recognition as a museum of natural history and culture.
The Burke Museum is dedicated to creating a better understanding of the world and our place in it. The museum is responsible for Washington State collections of natural history and cultural heritage, and for sharing the knowledge that makes them meaningful. The Burke welcomes a broad and diverse audience and provides a community gathering place that nurtures life-long learning and encourages respect, responsibility, and reflection.
The Children’s Museum
305 Harrison Street
Seattle, WA 98109
Our mission is to bring to life the joy of discovery for children and their families through fun, creative, hands-on exploration of the world around them. We strive to ignite children's curiosity and encourage them to become active, life-long learners.
Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
325 5th Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
EMP|SFM is the place where music meets science fiction. Learn about two popular passions through state-of-the-art exhibitions and hands-on interactives—all under one architecturally amazing roof!
Frye Art Museum
704 Terry Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104-2019
Located on Seattle’s First Hill, the Frye Art Museum first opened its doors in 1952 as the legacy of Charles and Emma Frye, prominent early-twentieth century Seattle business leaders and art collectors.
Since that time, works from the Frye Founding Collection of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century European paintings have continuously been on view. The Museum also hosts notable exhibitions of works by internationally renowned and emerging artists, as well as extensive public programs.
Museum of Flight
9404 E Marginal Way South
Seattle, WA 98108
In 1964 a small group of aviation enthusiasts realized that important artifacts representing the evolution of flight were being lost or destroyed at an incredible rate. To aid in the preservation of these artifacts, the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation was established with the twin goals of saving significant aircraft and related artifacts and educating the public in terms of their importance.
It soon became clear that a place to store and exhibit these artifacts was needed, and in 1965 the first official Museum of Flight exhibits were put on display in a 10,000 square foot space at the Seattle Center, location of the 1962 World’s Fair. The concept for the Museum complex began to jell in 1975 when the Port of Seattle leased the land on which the Red Barn® now sits to the Museum for 99 years. The Red Barn®, the birthplace of The Boeing Company, was saved from demolition on its original location on the Duwamish River, and floated by river barge to its current location. It was restored in 1983 and became the first permanent location for the Museum. The Red Barn was eventually joined by the Great Gallery in 1987, the Library and Archives Building in 2002 and the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing and Airpark in 2004.
Museum of History and Industry
2700 24th Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112
MOHAI is committed to presenting exhibits that illuminate, educate, provoke and inspire. Tracing the 150 year history of the city, Essential Seattle takes the visitor on a journey through the core of the museum, telling significant Seattle stories, beginning with Captain Vancouver’s exploration of Puget Sound, through the heyday of the 1880s and the Great Seattle Fire and continuing through World War II. The transformation of Seattle from frontier settlement to major metropolis is emphasized by stories from the modern era: the environmental movement, grunge music, the Kingdome’s rise and fall, and more.
Nordic Heritage Museum
3014 Northwest 67th Street
Seattle, WA 98117-6215
The Nordic Heritage Museum shares Nordic culture with people of all ages and backgrounds by exhibiting art and objects, preserving collections, providing educational and cultural experiences, and serving as a community gathering place. Visit a place where history comes alive and contemporary artists and community activities are celebrated with vibrant exhibits and events. Dedicated to collecting, preserving and educating since its founding in 1980, the Nordic Heritage Museum is the only museum in the United Sattues to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Icleand, Norway and Sweden.
Pacific Science Center
200 2nd Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
Pacific Science Center began as the United States Science Pavilion during the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Millions came to explore the wonders of science during the World's Fair and upon closing ceremonies, the Science Pavilion was given new life as the private not-for-profit Pacific Science Center, becoming the first U.S. museum founded as a science and technology center. On October 22, 2012 Pacific Science Center will celebrate making science fun for 50 years.
Pacific Science Center is committed to advancing the public’s understanding of science and contributing to the development of a scientifically literate society. Science is a human endeavor that uses observation and experimentation to develop explanations of the natural world. Scientific knowledge and theories are grounded in and compatible with the best evidence of the time, are internally consistent, and demonstrate effectively the explanations of a wide variety of phenomena. Science is based on years of scientific experimentation and observation of the results which are critically reviewed by the scientific community. Pacific Science Center uses data and information based on such rigorous scientific evidence in its exhibits, demonstrations and science curricula.
Seattle Art Museum
1300 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Come and celebrate the new downtown Seattle Art Museum which seamlessly integrates old and new buildings, creating timeless, light-filled spaces for art and for people.
Northwest Railway Museum
38625 SE King St
Snoqualmie, WA 98065
Visit a Victorian depot. Learn how the railway changed Washington and influenced settlement. See and feel the excitment of a working railroad. Experience what travel was like before Interstate highways. Hear all the bells and whistles. Travel back in time. See the sights and all the sites!
Camp 6 Logging Museum
Pt. Defiance Park
5400 North Pearl Street
Ruston, WA 98407
Our mission is to preserve and present to the public a portion of Washington State's history from the 1880's through the 1940's as it pertains to the "Steam Era of Logging." With photographs, paintings, artifacts and equipment displays, Camp 6 takes the visitor back in time from when horse and ox teams hauled out the timber up through the last days that steam powered "Donkeys" and Railroads worked the woods. Visitors will see first hand what life in the logging camps and woods of Western Washington was like.
The Museum is located on a 14 acre forested site inside Pt. Defiance Park and was set up by logging engineers in 1964 to look and feel like a logging operation with an operating railroad connecting the working sites ("sides" or "shows") with the bunk houses and bunk cars of the camp. As a National Registered Historic Place, Camp 6 with its historic buildings, over 500 tons of "Fire Breathin' Steam Spewin' Iron Beasts" and railroad equipment is a place for all to visit.
Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
5400 N Pearl Street #11
Fort Nisqually is a living history museum where volunteers and staff, in period clothing, demonstrate the crafts of the 19th century and engage visitors in historic dialogue during the Living History Days and other events throughout the year.
Travel back in time with us and experience life in Washington Territory during the fur trade era. A Hudson's Bay Company outpost built in 1833, Fort Nisqually was the first European settlement on Puget Sound. With a diverse work force of American, English, French Canadian, Hawaiian, Irish, Native American, and Scottish laborers, Fort Nisqually was a bustling center of trade that expanded into a large scale agricultural enterprise.
Karpeles Manuscript Museum
407 South G Street
Tacoma, WA 98405
The Karpeles Libraryis the world's largest private holding of important original manuscripts & documents.The archives include Literature, Science, Religion,History and Art. Among the treasures are .... "The original draft of the Bill of Rights of the United States", The original manuscript of " The Wedding March", Einstein's description of his " Theory of Relativity", The " Thanksgiving Proclamation" signed by George Washington, Roget's " Thesaurus", Webster's " Dictionary" and over one million more.
Six large Greco-Roman columns and portico form a stately entrance to the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Tacoma, Washington. Facing lovely Wright Park, an arboretum of hundreds of mature trees from throughout the temperate world, and just across the street from the Victorian-styled Seymour Botanical Conservatory, it offers an ideal environment for the exhibit of original papers of historic importance.
As both children and adults view the papers in some fifty oak and glass cases, they gain a fresh appreciation of their heritage. The primary sources of history displayed in the museum provide the means for increasing the cultural literacy of the population the museum serves. Exhibits, which are always admission free, are normally on display for three months at a time.
Museum of Glass
1801 Dock Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
The Museum of Glass is a hot destination. Come experience our exhibitions with work by world-renowned contemporary artists and be enthralled by artists in the Hot Shop making artwork from molten glass right before your eyes.
Washington State History Museum
1911 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98402
The Washington State History Museum is where fascination and FUN come together! People of all ages can explore and be entertained in an environment where characters from Washington's past speak about their lives. Through interactive exhibits, theatrical storytelling, high-tech displays and dramatic artifacts, learn about our state's unique people and places, as well as their impact on the country and the world.
Begin your journey through Washington with an architectural masterpiece: designed by Charles Moore and Arthur Andersson, the 106,000 square foot museum building stands proudly on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma. The museum boasts soaring spaces and dramatic archways that invite you into a history experience full of colors, textures, sights, and sounds.