Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum


Join us in exploring, preserving and promoting Olympia’s history. We are a non-profit membership-based organization presenting the stories from our past to enrich the present and inform the future of Olympia. The Bigelow House Museum, owned and operated by the Society and Museum, is the oldest residence in Olympia, Washington, and one of the earliest still standing in the Pacific Northwest.

Society News

Olympia Armory Storytelling Project Launched!

We are very excited to announce the launch of a year-long effort, the Olympia Armory Storytelling Project. In partnership with the Washington State Military Department, the City of Olympia and others, we are asking members of the public to contribute their memories of the Armory, which will be transitioning to a Creative Campus in 2022. Memories and photographs may be submitted on a form, accessed here, or by emailing olyhistoryresearch@gmail.com, with the subject line Armory. Submitted photographs will be displayed and updated regularly in the Storytelling Project’s Gallery. Submissions may be used in displays, videos and other media and will be archived in the Washington State Archives. 

In addition to serving the Washington National Guard since the 1930s, the Armory has been central to Olympia’s community history as a well-used venue and gathering place for events such as basketball games, antique sales, pet shows, wrestling matches, car exhibitions, festivals and Inaugural Balls.


It’s the Water Exhibit

“It’s the Water” exhibit a project of Olympia Arts & Heritage Alliance (AHA!), is now on view in the front windows of the Old City Hall and Fire Station at State Street and Capitol Way in downtown Olympia and will be on view through October.

The exhibit is a curated collection of 48 images, including historic photographs, contemporary art, and maps. The exhibit is designed to explore the importance that water has played in the lives, businesses, cultures and recreation of South Sound residents. Images include oyster growing, shipbuilding, maritime fleets, Olympia Fire Department, Lakefair, beer brewing, Capitol Lake, rainfall, sea level rise, tribal fishing and basketry, and the Port of Olympia. Online resources accompany the installation, with background information, stories, and links to enrich the exhibit. AHA is also planning a series of related events. For more information see olyaha.org.
Thanks to all of you for your support


We would love you to shop local, but if you do happen to be shopping on line, please consider clicking on the Amazon Smile logo and designating us as the beneficiary of this program, where a percentage of your purchase will go to support our programs. 

We also partner with Fred Meyer, and Ralph’s/Bayview Thriftway charitable donation programs. Click on any of the links provided here to be taken to their donation pages. 

Thank you!