< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >
Washington State History Museum opens in Tacoma on August 10, 1996.
HistoryLink.org Essay 7892
: Printer-Friendly Format
On August 10, 1996, the Washington State History Museum opens in a new $42 million building on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma. The museum will be one of the important features in the renaissance of downtown Tacoma, which will include a campus of the University of Washington, a convention center, two art museums, and a trolley line to run to the revitalized theater district. Union Station will become the U.S. Courthouse.
The idea of a museum in Tacoma first came from state legislator Dan Grimm. He wrote a letter to John McClelland Jr. (1915-2010), chairman of the Washington State Historical Society's board of trustees suggesting construction of a state history museum and Grimm had in mind Tacoma's downtown. Grimm collaborated with other Tacoma-area legislators such as Brian Ebersole, Lorraine Wojahn (1920-2012), Ruth Fisher, Art Wang, Marilyn Rasmussen, Ken Madsen, and Peter von Reichbauer to approve $34 million in general obligation bonds. The City of Tacoma donated two-and-a-half acres of land on Pacific Avenue through the good offices of City Councilman Tom Stegner.
Museum Director David Nicandri built a statewide constituency for the project and raised $6 million from government agencies, trusts, and local businesses. Big donors included Boeing, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the M. J. Murdoch Charitable Trust, Key Bank, the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Weyerhaeuser, the Forest Foundation, and the McEarchern Charitable Trust.
Architects Charles Moore and Andersson designed a 106,000 square foot museum that housed a five-eighths scale electricity transmission tower, a 270-seat amphitheater, a museum shop, and a cafe.
"History is Alive at New Museum," The News Tribune (Tacoma), August 9, 1996, p. A-10; "History Museum Gets a Jump Start," Ibid., April 10, 1996, p. A-6; Duncan Livingston, "Click!: First Nighters at the Museum," Ibid., July 18, 1996, p. SL-2; Marisa Lencioni, "A Grand Opening / Museum Celebration Entertainment Ranges from Polka Breakfasts to the Wailers and Chinese Opera," Ibid., August 9, 1996, p. SL-3; Hector Castro, "Museum Makes History," Ibid., August 11, 1996, p. A-1; Linda Woo, "Face to Face with the Future," Ibid., December 7, 1993, p. B-1.
Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay
Browse to Next Essay >
Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that
encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both
HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any
reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this
Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For
more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact
the source noted in the image credit.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided
By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins
| Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry
| 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle
| City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach
Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private
Sponsors and Visitors Like You