Museums & Historic Sites

Tacoma and Pierce County in the Pacific Northwest offer an extraordinary mosaic of cultural and historical experiences, distinguished by several distinct categories that invite visitors to explore and engage with the region's rich heritage.
Artistic Exploration
At the forefront of Tacoma's art scene is the Museum of Glass, a testament to the city's status as a hub of contemporary glass art. Here, live glassblowing demonstrations and a diverse array of glass artworks provide an immersive experience. Complementing this artistic journey, the Tacoma Art Museum showcases Northwestern art in all its forms, from historical pieces to modern creations, reflecting the area's evolving artistic landscape.
Historical Insights
History enthusiasts will find a wealth of knowledge and experiences in Tacoma and Pierce County. The Washington State History Museum in Tacoma dives deep into the state's past, covering everything from its Native American heritage to present-day stories. Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood sheds light on the region's 19th-century military history. Additionally, the Buffalo Soldier Museum in Tacoma honors the critical role of African American soldiers in U.S. military history.
Adding to this historical tapestry is the Lewis Army Museum, located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This museum offers a unique perspective on military history, focusing on the legacy and stories of the United States Army in the Northwest. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, situated in Tacoma, provides an interactive glimpse into the lives of early European settlers and the fur trade era, bringing history to life through reenactments and hands-on exhibits.
Automotive and Maritime Heritage
Tacoma's LeMay - America's Car Museum, and the LeMay Collections at Marymount in Spanaway celebrate automotive history with vast collections of vehicles, showcasing the evolution of car design and technology and paying homage to automotive Americana as well. For maritime history, the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma delves into the area's seafaring past and its influence on regional development, featuring exhibits on the Salish Sea's maritime activities.
Architectural Marvels and Historic Homes
Pierce County is home to architectural and historical marvels. The French Renaissance architecture of Stadium High School in Tacoma is an awe-inspiring sight, while the Ryan House Museum in Sumner offers a window into early 20th-century residential life. Thornewood Castle in Lakewood stands as an exquisite example of Tudor Gothic architecture, reflecting the grandeur of early 20th-century design.
Manuscripts and Rare Documents
The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Tacoma holds an intriguing collection of manuscripts and historical documents. It's a treasure trove for those interested in the written word and global history, offering insights into various historical events and figures.
Each of these categories encapsulates a facet of Tacoma and Pierce County's diverse cultural identity. From the artistic brilliance of the Museum of Glass to the historical depths of the Lewis Army Museum, the region offers a stimulating journey through art, history, and human achievement. These museums and historic sites are more than just attractions; they are vibrant storytellers, each contributing a unique voice to the rich cultural tapestry of the region. For visitors seeking a blend of education and enjoyment, Tacoma and Pierce County present a compelling destination, rich in experiences and discoveries.