BEST Seattle History Museums
The museums in Seattle are a world-class repository of history and culture. The exhibits range from cultural icons such as Nirvana to the saga of Nordic peoples. There are also working vintage computers, dinosaur fossils, and magnificent glass sculptures in the collection. With so many options, the best history museum in Seattle is the one that piques your personal interest the most.
6861 NE South St, Suquamish, WA 98392 – See on map
Founded in 1983, the Suquamish Museum is housed by a 2012 building located on the premises of the Port Madison Indian Reservation.
The permanent exhibition entitled “Ancient Shores – Changing Tides” represents the museum’s main attraction. Through its collection of historic record, and photographs and drawings, you will get to know the story of the Suquamish Tribe, its culture, and traditions. The main exhibit here is a 300-year-old carved canoe, last used in 1989.
Another interesting exhibition is “The Archaeology of Old Man House” returned to the Suquamish Museum from the Burke Museum. The site inhabited by the Suquamish People for centuries is known nowadays for the Old Man House, an 18th century traditional Salish house featuring a shed roof.
- Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM, Wednesday – Sunday, from May 1st to September 30th, closed on Monday & Tuesday (except on appointment)
- Prices: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors (over 55), and youth (5-17), free of kids under 5. There is the option of buying a family ticket for $15
- More info: www.suquamishmuseum.org
Wing Luke Asian Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
719 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104 – See on map
Located in the heart of Chinatown in Seattle, The Wing Luke Museum, also known as “The Wing” is a tribute to the Asian culture and experience in America. The National Parks Service has recently provided it with a national scale by assigning a status of federal museum.
Located on the first floor and featuring an ad scrim dating from the beginning of the 20th century, from the former Nippon Kan Theatre, Tateuchi Story Theatre is home to many interesting performing arts events that make a great way to get to know the Japanese culture.
Next to this 59-fixed seat theatre, you will find a fascinating exhibition dedicated to Wing Chong Luke – the former Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. state of Washington, based on whose vision the museum was founded. Wing Luke Museum’s entry hall is home to another exhibition, focusing on the history of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. The exhibition on the museum’s second floor represent Wing Luke’s way of honoring Dr. Paul B. Liao and his wife Mei-Yea’s philanthropic efforts.
At the same time, this Seattle history and heritage museum houses temporary exhibitions dedicated to Asian arts and traditions, but also to various personalities of Asian origin. The community portrait galleries provide visitors with an insight into the life and cultural legacy of Asian American citizen through personal stories and photographs.
- Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM, Tuesday – Sunday, closed on Mondays, 10:00 AM – 08:00 PM on the 1st Thursday of the month
- Prices: $14.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors, $10.95 for students (aged 13-18 or showing a student ID, $9.95 for children (5-12), free for kids under 5
- More info: www.wingluke.org
Nordic Heritage Museum
3014 NW 67th St, Seattle, WA 98117 – See on map
Located on this Seattle history and heritage museum’s first floor, the exhibition entitled “The Dream of America” tells the story of an immigrant family who left the Scandinavian countryside in the 19th century, crossed the Atlantic crossing, and landed at Ellis Island. Through life-like visual materials, you get to know interesting details about the development of a small community of Scandinavian origin in Seattle.
On the Nordic Museum’s second floor, you will find the exhibition “The Promise of the Northwest” focusing on the logging and fishing industries Scandinavian people helped develop in Seattle using the skills they brought along from their countries of origin. Next to it, the Folk Art Galleries showcase an interesting collection of items the immigrants brought with them, including household and crafts tools and utensils, pieces of furniture, and folk costumes.
The exhibitions located on the museum’s third floor focus on the differences and the common grounds between the immigrants of various Scandinavian origins. Seattle’s Nordic Museum set in place a gallery for each of the five Nordic countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark.
- Opening hours: 10 AM – 4 PM, Tuesday – Saturday, 12 PM – 4 PM on Sundays, closed on Mondays and legal holidays
- Prices: $8 for adults, $ 7 for seniors and students, $6 for children over 5, free for kids under the age of 5
- More info: www.nordicmuseum.org
Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 – See on map
The new Seattle Museum of History and Industry opened its doors on December 29th 2012 in the neighborhood of Lake Union Park. The exhibitions, programs and events held here allow the visitors to discover the rich history of the region. The recently restored Arsenal allows visitors to understand the history of the industry in Seattle through to the many programs and exhibitions.
- Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM daily, 10:00 AM – 08:00 PM on Thursdays
- More info: www.mohai.org
Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
319 Second Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104 See on map
A national park dedicated to the dreams of easy riches inflaming the minds of thousands of gold diggers in the late 1890s, Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park consists of four units: three located in Alaska and a fourth in Seattle’s Pioneer Square National Historic District
The Seattle unit is housed by an 1889 building – the Cadillac Hotel, which served as departure point during the gold rush times. This Seattle history museum actually serves as information desk, where you can get more details about vising the Alaska units of the park.
- Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
- Prices: free
- More info: www.nps.gov/klse/
Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center
4705 West Marginal Way SW, Seattle, WA 98106 – See on map
The recently opened Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center stands on the banks of the Duwamish River, being home to cultural and social events aimed at raising awareness for this indigenous tribe’s traditions and history.
- Opening hours: 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM from Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays
- Prices: free entrance
- More info: www.duwamishtribe.org