The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture was founded as the Eastern Washington State Historical Society, and is the largest cultural organization in the Inland Northwest. The state agency is accredited by the Alliance of American Museums and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Since its founding in 1916, the museum has served visitors and the state of Washington by offering changing exhibitions and programs and currently serves over 130,000 learners a year.


 “Actively engage all people in the appreciation of arts and culture through collections stewardship, exhibits, and programs that educate and entertain.”


To be the preeminent cultural showplace in the Inland Northwest for the arts, history and promotion of lifelong learning.

  • Lead the nation in understanding the Plateau region and the Inland Northwest.
  • Expand, strengthen and share our collections.
  • Engage diverse national and international audiences.
  • Revitalize and expand our staffing and use of our facilities.


The museum’s extensive permanent collection serves as the memory of the people of the Inland Northwest. The collection numbers over one million artifacts and ephemera, including fine art and material culture from the Americas, Europe and Asia. Collection stewardship is central to the museum’s mission and use of the collection is guided by preservation standards that ensure the collection’s health for generations to come. The museum also proudly balances preservation with public access by supporting loans from our collections to other museums nationwide. Displays of the collections change often in content and theme, along with displays of Plateau contemporary and traditional arts. The museum currently features an open conservation lab that includes objects and art from our permanent collection and teaches our visitors how we store, conserve, and display these objects.