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Washington State History Museum celebrates Veterans Day

The downtown Tacoma museum offers a full day of programs

Make toys, hear stories at the Washington State History Museum. Courtesy photo

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The Washington State History Museum, located at 1911 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma, is planning to open its doors on Veterans Day and offer Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray's military members and their families free admission. Veterans are also eligible to take advantage of this unique, educational opportunity.

Monday, Nov. 11, doors will open at 10 a.m. and guests will be permitted to explore every display, exhibit and participate in special programming until 5 p.m. that afternoon.

"The Washington State History Museum, which is part of the Blue Star Family, honors military personnel year-round, and makes a point of honoring Veterans Day especially," stated Corinna Fabre, public relations associate for the museum.

The day will begin with "Historical and Scientific Toy Making" with master toy maker Rick Hartman. Participants of all ages will construct, and get to take home, captivating wooden toys that hearken back to an earlier era and demonstrate timeless principles of science. The toy making session will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Then, from 2-3 p.m., guests can settle in to watch Bryan Willis' stage adaptation of the best-selling novel, If All the Sky Were Paper. Local actors from the NW Playwrights Alliance will read from a collection of wartime letters that capture the wide-range emotions experienced by veterans, active-duty servicemembers and their loved ones during combat.

Throughout the entire day, visitors are also invited to participate in a special edition scavenger hunt in honor of the holiday. The challenge will send people out to search for answers to military and war-related questions, all of which can be found among the museum's exhibits.

Additionally, the museum's current exhibits, to include "COOPER" and "David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work," will be open.

"COOPER" examines the unsolved airplane hijacking of 1971 that was attributed to D.B. Cooper. The event, which happened in the sky over the Pacific Northwest, led to changes in airline security and aviation as a whole. Cooper has never been caught and the legend continues to grow, even more than 40 years later.

Naturalist David Douglas, for whom the Douglas Fir tree is named, spent years traveling through the Northwest, identifying and collecting over two hundred species of plants, animals, and birds previously unknown to science. The exhibit links geography, science, art, and cultural history.

Parking is available next to the museum or by following the access road behind the museum to the parking lot located behind Union Station. Rates during the week are $4 for up to two hours, $7 for two to four hours and $10 for up to six hours. If the lot is full, guests can also look for parking along Pacific Avenue.

After Veterans Day, the museum offers a discounted admission price for military; with a valid military ID, admission is just $7. Memberships, which include unlimited admission, are available annually for $45 per person. Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

For more on the museum, as well as memberships, click here.

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