Issaquah History Museums

Field Trips

School field trips in and around Issaquah are an effective and fun way to help students learn about the forces that contribute to the making of a community.

School field trips in and around Issaquah are an effective and fun way to help students learn about the forces that contribute to the making of a community. In addition to the Issaquah History Museums and other downtown sites, there are many regional museums that offer insight into Issaquah’s history and the role it played regionally. History field trips can be integrated into the reading and writing curriculum for primary school students, and the social studies curriculum for higher grades. 



Understand historical time, chronology, and causation

Investigate how coal, timber and railroads affect local historic community life

Analyze the historical development of events, people, places, and patterns of life

Compare and contrast early community life with current community life.

Examine the influence of culture

Explore and investigate the contributions of native Americans, immigrants, and pioneers to the local community.

Investigate and research

Locate, gather, and process information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including photographs, drawings, artifacts, oral accounts, and documents as grade level appropriate.

Analyze historical information

Compare and contrast information from different historical sources as grade level appropriate.

Walking Tour of Downtown Issaquah

A tour of downtown Issaquah’s historic sites makes a great field trip. The pamphlet “Issaquah Historical Society: Walking Tour; Issaquah’s Living History.”  includes seventeen locations, many of which are in the same small area. The tour guide is also available on-line.

The tour can be done as a scavenger hunt.  Students can look for evidence of mountains, streams, railroads, coal, old houses and buildings, old neighborhoods, buildings where the bottom half has changed, but the top half hasn’t, old street names, etc.

Follow Up Activities

Follow-up activities and possible assessments can help develop and demonstrate student understanding and knowledge of the forces that may contribute to the making of a community. Such activities include the following:

  • Diorama
  • Mural
  • Poster
  • Bulletin board
  • Model

Gilman Town Hall Museum and Jail

OPEN: Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11-3. Tours Monday through Saturday by appointment.

PHONE: (425) 392-3500

WEBSITE: To schedule a school tour, see

EVALUATION: Exhibits address the themes of pioneer life, communities, Issaquah’s early industries, and the general history of our town. Children can set off an imaginary charge with an authentic dynamite blaster, ring a logging camp bell, and explore the old old two-cell town jail constructed in 1914.

Issaquah Depot Museum

OPEN: Friday, Saturday, Sunday 11-3. Tours Monday through Saturday by appointment.

PHONE: (425) 392-3500

WEBSITE: To schedule a school tour, see

EVALUATION: Excellent restored train station built in 1889. Exhibits explore the industrial revolution, travel, communication, and the early economic development of Issaquah. The grounds include a restored caboose and an army car with a model train.

Issaquah City Centennial Sculpture

EVALUATION: Centrally located in downtown Issaquah, this rock sculpture is designed as a treasure hunt of Issaquah history. Created as five separate pieces, the rock is carved with clues to Issaquah’s history. It is perfect for a culminating activity after students have studied the contents of the History Kit.

Newcastle Museum and Coal Mines

OPEN: by appointment

PHONE: Milt Swanson, (425) 255-6996


EVALUATION: A small museum but well done and Mr. Swanson is a former miner himself. He leads an excellent tour of the coal mine workings. This is a great tour for students from Cougar Mt. Area.

Renton History Museum

OPEN: Tuesday through Friday from 12-4, Saturday 10-4

PHONE: (425) 255-2330


EVALUATION: A good museum to visit with a tremendous collection of Newcastle and Renton area pictures and an excellent coal mining display. Other displays include Native American (Duwamish) artifacts, turn of the century household items, and a fire engine.

Nordic History Museum

OPEN: Tuesday through Saturday 10-4, Sunday 12-4

PHONE: (206)789-5707


EVALUATION: This museum tells the story of immigration from the late 1800’s from the Nordic countries; Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The tour guides use role-playing when giving tours. The tour follows families from their homeland countryside, through immigration to America, across the United States and into Ballard. Displays show immigration, fishing, logging, household objects, clothing, and what people from the Nordic countries did when they settled in America. Displays on timber and logging came from the old Preston Mill.

Museum of History and Industry

OPEN: Mon, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10-5. Thursdays 10-8.

PHONE: (206) 324-1126


EVALUATION: Displays include Metropolis 150, which covers last 150 years of Seattle history; the salmon industry at the turn of the century; 1880’s storefronts with artifacts, skid row interactive stores; the Klondike Gold Rush; photos and artifacts from the great Seattle fire; Boeing’s first plane; a P.I. exhibit from the 1930’s to the 1970’s; and the Evergreen Playground, which shows sports and recreation from the turn of the century.

The Burke Museum

OPEN: Daily 10-5

PHONE: (206) 543-7907


EVALUATION: The Burke has traveling kits to check out on Native Americans, The Pacific Rim, as well as Earth Science, Life Science, and Archeology (see pamphlet in the front of this folder). They also offer a wide variety of tours for school age children. Call the museum or look at their website for current exhibits. They are an excellent resource for a more in depth study of Native Americans in the Puget Sound area.

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

OPEN: Daily 8am to dusk


EVALUATION: This large park provides insight into our region’s unique historical, cultural and natural heritage. Cultural resources include Native American interpretive areas, mining town sites, mine openings, and a Nike missile site