We’ve been to too many museums to count in our time spent reviewing various attractions, but we never found a museum in Washington that would actually hold up to Smithsonian standards… well, not until now, that is.
It has a great collection of permanent exhibits, as well as (what we saw, at least) great rotating exhibits.
The layout is fantastic, truly top-notch. With the 100,000+ square feet of exhibit space and the open, vaulted ceilings, there’s nothing too big for them to tackle. They even have a scale model power relay tower, complete with buttons to push and placcards to read about how the whole thing actually works.
When we went, there was also a terrific exhibit of contemporary Native American art. Don’t blink or you might just miss the coolest picture of Spider Man or Batman that you’ve ever seen… seriously, they really capture the tradition of Native American art, while bringing something new and fresh to it.
Easily our favorite part was the mummy exhibit. They had no zombies, which would have really been awesome, so a mummy is the next best thing. It was a real mummy, and a tiny one at that. The whole thing was there complete with X-Rays and an CT scan of the body.
But for us, we spent more time looking at the state’s largest model train exhibit on display anywhere. This thing is truly massive, and it’s all based on the history of Tacoma with many parts of it dedicated to greater Pierce County. It has the “Top of the Ocean” floating restaurant, and too many more local landmarks to even name. And here, the trains really do run on time. All the time.
Parking is available in either of the two adjoining lots for a reasonable rate, with disabled access parking along the alley, and the museum is open from 10:00 to 5:00 daily through Labor Day (check the site for current hours, with special events on the third Thursday of each month, when the museum is open until 8:00pm with free admission from 2:00 to 8:00.
Check out the full details on their site at www.WashingtonHistory.org.