The Secret Life of an ARTIFACT

Unveiling the mysteries of museum collection care 

A working Collections Lab opens for a public view behind-the-scenes.

Informational displays include:

Artifact Boot Camp:

Chat with Museum staff and volunteers as we work.
New artifacts will continue to emerge from storage for study, cataloging, numbering and photography.
How do we keep track of thousands of unique objects?

Artifact Emergencies: 

Study Museum collection treasures for condition and preservation challenges.
How do we extend the lifespan of museum objects?

Collection Intersections and Artistic Spirit: 

What do we collect - and why?
An Inland Northwest thread connects the entire Museum collection: visual art, regional history, American Indian, and archives.
Enjoy a cross-section from each, including The Chap Dunning Collection of Plateau Indian objects.

Visible Storage: 

Visit often! Display case contents will change as collections are processed and new materials brought forward for work.

The Science of Decay: 

Investigate how materials decay, despite museum efforts, using what you learn to explore Museum traveling exhibits.

See collections as they are being processed: On display NOW: Navajo rugs and vintage textiles.

Buy Tickets Now!


“Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artifacts, art and specimens which they hold in trust for society.”  

-United Kingdom Museum Association Code of Ethics