Five local museums you may not have heard about

Learn about telephones, manuscripts, cars and Buffalo Soldiers

By Marguerite Cleveland on March 28, 2019

Tacoma has a well renowned museum district, but these five local gems are spread throughout Pierce County. Each has its own charm and captures the joy of collecting something you are passionate about.

Tacoma Telephone Pioneer Museum

Now that most people use cellphones, many children have never even seen a telephone. This museum has a collection of vintage telephones with many being the old crank-type sets. It also has the first cordless telephone from the 1961 Seattle World's Fair. 8 a.m. to noon, Thursday only, 757 Fawcett Ave. S., Tacoma, Free, 253.627.2996,

Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

This collection of Library Museums -- there are 14 throughout the country -- holds the largest private collection in the world of historic manuscripts and documents. Parts of the collection rotate throughout the 14 museums every three months, so there is always something new to see. Highlights include the original Bill of Rights, Einstein's famous formula E = MC2 and many more. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday, 407 South G St., Tacoma, Free, 253.272.2336,

Buffalo Soldiers Museum

Jackie Jones-Hook opened the museum in 2012 to preserve the memory of her father William Jones who was a POW in the Korean War. The museum honors the legacy of the all-black regiment, the Buffalo Soldiers. The collection includes the Buffalo Soldiers assigned to Washington state. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday and Saturday, 1940 S. Wilkeson St., Tacoma, Free, 253.272.4257,

Job Carr Cabin Museum

Job Carr was the first citizen of Tacoma. He moved to Washington state when he was 51 and claimed 168 acres in what is now Old Town. This replica of his original cabin was built just yards away from the original site. You step back in time when you enter the cabin. Docents greet you and share stories of Old Town as well as about Job Carr and his family. Learn how the early settlers lived and worked in Tacoma. 1-4 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, 2350 N. 30th St., Tacoma, Free, 253.627.5405,

LeMay Collections at Marymount

This is the largest of the five museums and is spread out over a former military school campus. Unlike America's Car Museum in Tacoma, the LeMay Collection really gives you a feel of who Harold Lemay was and the vastness of his collection. It really is amazing. At one point his collection was over 1,900 vehicles. In addition to the cars, you can also take a historical tour of the site. There is even a Rodin Sculpture Garden. The grounds are lovely if you want to picnic. If you feel like splurging, take a Model T driving class and learn how to handle one of these historic cars. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, 325 152nd St. E., Tacoma, $15 (discounts available), 253.272.2336,

The smaller museums have limited hours so make sure you verify before you visit.