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$2,940 pledged of $5,000 goal
By Legacy Washington
$2,940 pledged of $5,000 goal


Washington 1889 Exhibit
Washington 1889 Exhibit

Washington 1889: Blazes, Rails & the Year of Statehood marks the sixth exhibit of Legacy Washington, an educational program within the Office of Secretary of State. The public exhibition celebrates the biggest stories of Washington’s seminal year, the year of Statehood. It will be on display in the Legislative Building November 1, 2014, through August 1, 2015. Washington 1889 will feature as many as 13 exhibit panels, an original 42-star flag, artifacts from the Great Seattle Fire, a replica of the Washington State Constitution, the original tools used to sculpt the Washington State Seal and a video montage of children with Secretary of State Kim Wyman reading excerpts from the constitution. The Office of Secretary of State joins other offices and the State Historical Society by marking the 125th anniversary of statehood in 2014.

The mission of Washington 1889 is to celebrate the big stories in the year of statehood through unique storytelling and design. The exhibit is free to visitors year round who visit the Secretary of State’s Office, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. or by appointment.

Washington 1889 will showcase the following stories on exhibit panels installed on the lobby walls of the Secretary of State’s office. Panels are large in scale (generally 6’x 6.5’) but will also incorporate smaller sidebar stories and cutouts to include:

Promised Land: Honors Washington pioneers, including a Swede who lives among the Indians and is adopted by a prominent tribe.

The Fires of 1889: Focuses on Seattle, Ellensburg and Spokane with first-person, riveting recounts of the devastating blazes and possible causes.

Railroads: Explores the expansion of the railroads in Washington and the use of Chinese labor.

Washington State map: Pinpoints the cities vying to be Washington’s capitol city, and ensuing debates over naming the state.

Washington State Constitution: Includes the Constitutional Convention and key players, women’s suffrage movement, formation and history of the State Grange, and the making of the state seal. Video montage with lines from constitution read by children and Secretary Wyman.

Newspapers: The integral role of newspapers in the year of statehood.

The exhibit will officially open November 11, 2014, on Washington’s 125th anniversary of statehood. A special program will feature Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a reception and chance to view the exhibit will follow in her office. This special event will take place in conjunction with a larger celebration of the 125th anniversary in the Legislative Building that includes many organizations, tribes and local historians.

The Legislative Building and Secretary of State’s office welcome tens of thousands of people annually. Visitors include student groups from across the state, many who are enrolled in social studies and state history classes. Legacy Washington exhibits offer a unique and interactive opportunity for students to learn about our state’s history and the people who made it remarkable. Additionally, after the exhibits are taken down, they travel statewide to museums, libraries and other venues.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman enthusiastically supports Washington 1889 in her office and recognizes its importance in the celebration of our state’s 125th anniversary. While this exhibit is presented under the auspices of the Office of the Secretary of State, no public funds are spent on any of the exhibits Legacy Washington offers. Exhibits are sponsored with private funds raised by the Washington State Heritage Center Trust, a 501(c)3 non-profit.

Take part in this exhibit! Sponsors of the exhibit:

  • will be invited to participate in the opening ceremony as well as additional programs throughout the year as either guest speakers or discussion group participants. 
  • have their names displayed on all printed materials and on the Secretary of State website. 
  • will be invited to a special private reception with Secretary Wyman and exhibit staff after the exhibit launch.

Risks and challenges

The assembly of Washington 1889 is currently underway. The Legacy Washington team works closely and consults with historians, librarians, archivists and museums to select intriguing stories and illustrate them for the public to view and learn about Washington State history. Our ongoing challenge is to select the most relevant and captivating stories of 1889 and bring them to life in our lobby.

We are working diligently on a schedule backwards from November 11, 2014, the official celebration of Washington 125 and our official exhibit launch. Our team works on various projects in addition to exhibits, including the Legacy Project oral histories and biographies and other Legacy Washington programs that promote Washington State heritage.

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    Supporters of this exhibit will be invited to participate in the Washington 125 celebration, official exhibit launch and program which will be followed with a special reception with Secretary of State Kim Wyman and exhibit staff in her office.
    Sponsors will also receive invitations throughout the year to participate in additional programs (special guest lectures and panel discussions) related to the exhibit. Sponsors names will displayed on all printed materials relating to the exhibit and also on the Secretary of State website.

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