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Special Exhibits

Temporary exhibits in the Great Room showcase objects from the Fort's permanent collection. They provide insights into the daily lives of the Fort's historical residents and into the workings of the Hudson's Bay Company, of which the Fort was part. All exhibits include hands-on activities for visitors of all ages.

Current Exhibitundefined

The Art of Agriculture
September 22, 2018 - Spring
Even while the laborers toiled in the swamp for the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a romantic idea of life in the countryside was popular among the 19th century upper classes. This exhibit will explore the contrasts between raising cattle and sheep as depicted in artwork with the realities of life on Nisqually farm.

Past Exhibits

A Child’s-Eye View of Fort Nisqually: May 12 – September 16, 2018

Of the many people who lived at Fort Nisqually, the children of the managers and laborers often go overlooked. Explore the operations of this trading and agricultural center from a child’s perspective, learning about the chores, education, and the adventures of daily life for boys and girls in the 1850s. Experience the past through a different angle at this family friendly exhibit. 

Firearms of the Fur Trade Era: January 13 – May 6, 2018undefined

From Native Americans and fur traders to farmers and laborers, firearms as tools were a part of everyday life in the 19th century. Explore the craftsmanship and function of these artifacts, and learn about the changes in firearms over the course of the rise and fall of the Pacific Northwest fur trade. Historic firearms from Fort Nisqually’s Sutt Collection will be featured in







Tolmie the Ethnographer 

Open September 23, 2017 - January 7, 2018

This exhibit is the third in a series examining different aspects of Fort manager William Fraser Tolmie’s work and interests. This exhibit focuses on Tolmie’s personal collection of ethnographic objects, such as baskets, and his role in writing down the native languages he encountered in the Pacific Northwest. Artifacts on display will include Pacific Northwest Coast baskets, beadwork, and the 1884 book Comparative Vocabularies of the Indian Tribes of British Columbia co-authored by W. Fraser Tolmie and Canadian anthropologist George M. Dawson.




From the Islands to the Inland Sea: Hawaiians at Fort Nisqually

Open  May 13 - September 17, 2017

This family-friendly exhibit explores how Hawaiian laborers brought to the Pacific Northwest by the Hudson’s Bay Company left a lasting legacy in communities throughout the region. Try your hand at some of the tasks the workers did around Fort Nisqually, such as pressing wool into bundles, and learn about the maritime networks that reached across the Pacific Ocean.