Washington State Historical Society with Mary Mikel Stump

hosted by
marguerite martin


washington state history museum arches

About This Episode

Mary Mikel Stump, Director of Audience Engagement for the Washington State Historical Society is a fairly new transplant to Tacoma. Though both her and her husband were undergrads at UW, life took them to Texas and Washington called them back in the spring of 2017 for work. Mary Mikel and Marguerite talk history, cool old (and not so old!) toys and more in this week’s episode.

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Show Notes

  • While history hounds are in the know, many may wonder what’s the difference between the Tacoma Historical Society and the Washington State Historical Society. Mary Mikel Stump clarifies that the WSHS is a parent agency and was founded in the late 1800’s. She reveals that the epic looking brick building in the Stadium District that plays as home base is not a secret spy agency as Marguerite has often suspected.
  • As Director of Audience Engagement, Stump says, “As a non-profit and a state agency we look to see how the history of the state of Washington connects us all.” She also discusses the very reasonably priced annual membership and perks. She laughs when talking about the abundance of 4th and 6th graders that visit the museum but assures listeners, “there’s a lot to do in-between.” And she reflects on how people connect with objects on display and the stories contained within those objects.
  • Stump and her husband, who works with Metro Parks, live in a lovely older home in Tacoma’s North End. She says, “We had an antique house in Texas, it’s not a house, it’s a lifestyle. I kept gravitating to old houses here with walkable neighborhoods and the North End has so much to offer.”
  • Marguerite’s skydiving experience takes her down the DB Cooper rabbit hole since she missed the recent DB Cooper exhibit and Mary Mikel tells us about some past and upcoming special themed gatherings and exhibits including spotlights on Bigfoot, UFOs, McNeil Island and even mountaineering. The permanent exhibit includes a Great Hall of WA history with factoids about the why, the who and the how as well as details about industry, natural resources, the Depression, logging, maritime and more.
  • The current temporary exhibit is Toytopia and is available to view until June 10th. This isn’t your average museum experience,  you can journey through the nostalgia at any age with toys from all generations! Also, worth checking out are the regular 21+ “History After Hours” gatherings, which include beer! (yes, IN the museum).
  • You can also look forward to the upcoming Make/Do exhibit, opening on July 14 where the museum will highlight creative reuse!