About Us

The Olympia Historical Society was founded in 2001 with the vision to collect and preserve Olympia area historical resources, from family attic treasures to architectural gems, and to find ways to make that history accessible and available to the public. The Bigelow House Preservation Association was formed in 1992,  dedicated to preservation of Bigelow House and interpretation of local and regional history. In December 2013, the memberships of both organizations voted to merge and become the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum (Society and Museum).

The Society and Museum is a 501(c)(3) organization. It is governed by a Board of Trustees, elected by the membership. Link here for our bylaws.

We sponsor programs of talks, walking tours, panel discussions and other events to educate and entertain the public about local history topics and places of interest. We partner with many other state and local history and museum organizations to host events and promote increased knowledge and advocacy for historic preservation. Our online newsletter, frequent bulletins, Facebook postings, and extensive website all foster engagement and participation, and provide sources of information and tools for further research and activity. We strive to help create a community that is interested and informed about local history.

The Bigelow House Museum, located at 918 Glass Avenue, NE, Olympia, Washington,  is a rare surviving example of the Carpenter Gothic style architecture popular in rural America during the mid-1800s and is still surrounded by more than an acre of the family’s original land claim.  The home displays original documents, artifacts, and furnishings representing 150 years of the family’s participation in important causes on the community, state and national levels. More information on the house, its history, and operating hours here.

Please join the Society and Museum and get involved in this crucial work of saving “the past” for the enrichment of today and the future of our community. We welcome your interest, ideas and participation!

To learn other ways you can be involved in our organization, visit our Get Involved page.

Society and Museum Collections Policy

The Society and Museum is dedicated to the collection and preservation of materials which document and illustrate Olympia’s history and heritage.

In addition to the many items on display at the Museum, the Society and Museum archives a growing collection in safe and secure locations. Public research access to this collection is limited. Our goal for the future is to create or build a research facility that will both store and make accessible this important community resource. If you are interested in contributing to our collection, please contact us at olyhistory@gmail.com. Please note that not all items are suitable for inclusion in our collection, which is focused primarily on items of importance and interest to Olympia’s history.