Hands-On History in the Pacific Northwest

One of the first Europeans to explore Washington state was Greek navigator Juan de Fuca. Since then, the area has developed a rich history across the centuries. Study up at these museums and attractions.

The Washington State History Museum in Tacoma rustles up everything from wagon ruts to Rainier Beer commercials. Dress up in a sunbonnet and pinafore, listen in on long-ago phone conversations or tour a traditional Southern Coast Salish plank house.

At the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma, you can walk among a collection of wooden buildings replicating an 1883 Hudson’s Bay outpost.

At the Pioneer Farm Museum in Eatonville, you can tour a log cabin, watch a blacksmith work or try your hand at woodworking.

Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker built a 17-room Italianate Victorian mansion for his wife in downtown Puyallup. At the Meeker Mansion don’t miss the mirror and dressing area, bespoke-crafted for Mrs. Meeker’s 4-foot 8-inch height (about the size of today’s average third-grader).

Dive deep into Seattle’s past—including the Great Fire of 1889—and explore some fun surprises at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), where you’ll find Boeing’s flying boat and the Lincoln Towing pink Toe Truck. (Yes, the truck features giant pink toes.)

—Lora Shinn