History Connects Us All

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Washington State History Museum: Gallery Reinstallation, Phase One
Tacoma, Washington


How best to begin to rejuvenate an existing history hall?

In the summer of 2014, Storyline took on the challenge of creating the first in a series of new exhibitions for the history hall. The brief was to show how epic natural forces have shaped the landscape of Washington today, and to introduce visitors to the first traces of humans in the region.

Our first move was to suggest the creation of an “advanced organizer” – an experience that prepares the visitor for the entire experience of the hall. We achieved that through a simple, but striking horizontal video wall presenting more that twenty iconic stories using a dramatic composition of voices, images and quotes.


We felt it important – in this first step of renewal – to introduce a fresh visual aesthetic and a new interpretive approach that is both engaging and relevant to contemporary audiences. The result is a bright, modern room with many opportunities to explore, touch and interact.



The Car Trip of the Catastrophes is an articulated shelf running along two sides of the space. On it, visitors can follow a route around Washington encountering astounding landscapes shaped by cataclysmic forces [volcanoes, ice sheets, floods]. The trip is punctuated by delightful sketches and objects that whimsically interpret the geological themes.



The centrepiece of the exhibition is a display showcasing the Wenatchee Clovis find – an archaeological treasure dating back 12,000 years. Visitors can explore the exquisite stone point horde through a series of simple interactive devices.




Our primary goal was to ensure that subjects that are sometimes difficult to understand, are made accessible – so that everyone – no matter age or capacity – have an opportunity to participate in the experience.




In late 2015 the new exhibition opened to positive reviews. Now … we are about to begin on work for Phase Two.

Thanks to our production partners:

Group Delphi: Exhibit Fabrication

NGX Interactive: Computer & Video Design and Production

Karen Lewis: Illustration

Tyler Roemer: Photography

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