Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society

A nonprofit organization


We dream big even though we're "little."

The Harbor History Museum inspires curiosity about local history and cultural traditions as they connect to the world around us. Our vision is to be a premier South Sound resource and destination that is recognized as the community memory bank, preserving and sharing our regional heritage and its connections to the world. 


Established in 1964, the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society dba the Harbor History Museum was awarded a 501(c)3 status by the IRS, and began operating a Museum in 1976. In the summer of 2007, the Society underwent a re-branding to create the name that communicates the essence of our mission. "Harbor History Museum," was established at that time.

The Museum fulfills its mission and vision by providing a museum to the community and educational programs serving residents, tourists, researchers, and students. The Museum re-opened to the public on September 18, 2010. The facility includes: an 1893 fully restored one-room school house; a 65-foot fishing vessel currently under restoration; 7,000 square feet of exhibition space; and a 900-square foot library, research and meeting room.

The Harbor History Museum provides a variety of public education programs, including exhibits, publications, school and public programs. Our permanent exhibit features professionally designed exhibitions and opportunities for hands-on exploration of our region's rich history and unique heritage. Artifacts, video kiosks, and a small theater bring South Sound history to life in our permanent galleries. In addition, the Museum provides 2-3 special exhibits throughout the year so there is always something new to see and experience for our members and visitors. We also provide lectures, book readings, workshops, and film presentations.

Our core school program is the Pioneer School Experience, which serves over 1,500 students every year. Led by a trained "School Marm," the children experience a one-room school classroom complete with lessons, recitations, music, recess, and lunch. Children are encouraged to dress in period costume and are provided with pioneer identities to support their learning experience.


Every dollar we raise is used to match our state and federal grants. We currently have a $2.5 million capital project underway to complete the conservation of the FV Shenandoah, enclose our Maritime Gallery, and create new, engaging exhibits that explore the stewardship of our Maritime Heritage. With HHM located within the new National Maritime Heritage Area, we are excited to bring this truly innovative project to our region.

In addition to more than 150 individual contributors, we have received project support from the following: Washington State Heritage Capital Project Fund, Pierce County Historic Preservation Commission, Port of Tacoma, Peninsula Light Company, and Sound Credit Union. We are still actively fund raising for this project scheduled to be complete by 2025.

Organization Data


Organization name

Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society

other names

Harbor History Museum

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture


PO Box 744
Gig Harbor, WA 98335



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