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Our Collections

The Kittitas County Historical Museum continues to collect, preserve, and share the history, heritage, and culture of Kittitas County.

Since 1961, we have received more than 30,000 items relating to our collective history, telling stories of its people, places, events, and activities. 

The collection contains a wide array of physical items ranging from our local Indigenous culture to rocks and minerals, to thousands of photographs and archival items, and much more. We continue collecting items that reflect our ever-changing community, and items from our distant past to the present, as history is made every moment that passes.

Collection strengths represent local Indigenous cultural items (especially that of the K’ti’tas and Pshwánapam bands of Indigenous people), antique automobiles, geological specimens, textiles, household goods and furnishings, military ephemera, historic photographs, agricultural tools, and business history including neon signs.



Viewing the Collections

Visitors to the Kittitas County Historical Museum will see many of the items in our permanent collection on display with the 50+ different exhibits and displays. 

We frequently rotate items on displays which allows for exhibit (and interest) changes but also in order to ensure the proper preservation and museum care for each item. When the item is rotated into storage, we review its condition, doing our best to provide the appropriate care for it according to the best practices and standards for museums, and update our records and information on the item.

If you are planning a visit to the Museum and would like to see a particular item, please contact us with sufficient notice prior to your visit. We will be able to tell you if the item is currently on display. 
If the item you are interested in viewing is in storage, we may be able to schedule you for a research appointment. If you are interested in learning more, you can either Contact Us or submit a Research Request.

Donating an object

The Kittitas County Historical Museum seeks to uphold its Mission by collecting and preserving materials, which may help establish, illustrate, and educate about the history of Kittitas County.

The Museum’s permanent collection began in 1961 with the donations of items from families and individuals wishing to preserve local history. Since that time, our collection has steadily grown, reflecting almost every corner of our county. We continue to accept items to ensure that we remain relevant and representative of our ever-changing community today and into the future.
If you are interested in donating to our collection, we encourage you to contact us!


The Donation Process
We request that any individual, family, organization, or business interested in donating an item for the Museum’s permanent collection, please contact us with as much information about item(s) as possible and as well known. This may include item history, item use, family history, etc., and photographs as well. We do not recommend bringing the item(s) into the Museum as we have limited storage space to store items that we are not certain will go into the Museum’s permanent collections.

The information provided is very important to us as this is what will help us decide on whether the item meets the requirements for our permanent collection. Unfortunately we do not have space for everything offered, and our Collections Committee and Museum Staff evaluate every donation that comes in the door for suitability. Information provided helps to provide context and provenance, as well as information for our files and eventual display if accepted.
Please note that the Museum will not accept/collect items that are: by their nature unsafe (such as items in an advanced state of loss or deterioration that to accept them would place an undue burden on the Museum Staff and/or Museum); objects that are suspected of being illegally obtained; or objects too large or cumbersome to display, store, or transport safely and efficiently. And please note that sometimes items are not accepted into the collection due to duplicating material already in the collection; undue restrictions or conveyances upon the item; or items not being related to Kittitas County (or something like that which was used here).
Once the intent to donate has been made, Museum Staff will then follow up to make sure that the paperwork is complete and send it to the Collections Committee for review (and for any additional research and/or paperwork as needed). From there, the donor will hear from the Museum within a reasonable time of the Committee’s decision and further steps as needed. Depending on the Committee’s decision, additional paperwork and a physical transfer of the item will be necessary. Depending on the originating location of the item, it may be shipped via USPS, UPS, FEDEX, or other postal carrier.

Please note as well: there is no guarantee of acceptance by the Museum for any item(s) intended for donation; and there is no guarantee that any item(s) accepted for the permanent collections will be displayed at any given time.

Other Ways to Donate An Item
Items can also be accepted through bequests (through a will/estate), but we appreciate the opportunity to work with a donor before the gift is being made. If you are interested in including the Museum as a recipient in your will/estate, please contact us for more information.

For those interested in just providing a digital copy of their items to the Museum collection and retaining the original, Museum Staff would be happy to assist. Depending on the nature of donation and condition of original material, scanning processes may take quite some time to accomplish, and a use agreement will need to be established (also conditional to copyright ownership and use conveyance).

For More Information 

If you are interested in donating an item, whether at present or in the future, please contact us.

We are also seeking onsite volunteers to help process items that have been received. To learn more about volunteering and how to get involved, please click here.