Fort Lewis, WA MuseumsPuget Sound Museums - The greater Seattle Metro area has one of the highest densities of art and history museums in the US. In Pierce County, there are several museums.
The Washington State History Museum is in downtown Tacoma, fairly near the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass. This museum features exhibits and hands-on activities related to Washington State history.
Just south of the base, in Olympia, is the Washington State Capitol. With guided tours offered daily, it is a must see and an easy day trip.
The Museum of Glass is focused on glass art, particularly but not exclusively the art of Dale Chihuly and his students. That being said, it collects glass art from around the world and has an eclectic collection. The museum features a hot shop, where visitors can watch glass art being created. There are also glass art education workshops for the artistically inclined. After enjoying the museum, visitors can cross over busy streets into the heart of Tacoma via the Glass Bridge.
The Tacoma Art Museum features northwest art, including a section of local glass art, with about a third of the collection non-northwest art.
The LeMay American Car Museum features about 500 cars, including some rarities, many classics, and a few very odd designs. This museum is in easy walking distance of the Tacoma Dome sports and convention center.
The Foss Waterway Seaport Museum has a large collection of recreational boats,. models, hands-on boat toys, and summer sea science camp programs.
The McChord Air Museum, right on base, features historic artifacts related to McChord especially, and military aviation in the Puget Sound area, and a collection of restored and preserved aircraft.
The Lewis Army Museum, also on base, is the only US Army museum on the West Coast. It features many artifacts from units historically assigned to Camp Lewis or Fort Lewis, including I Corps, the Medical Corps, and the 9th Infantry Division. Also on display are artifacts from enemies of various wars, alongside a collection of military vehicles and various disabled large weapons.
Much further afield, the US Navy has two museums, the Puget Sound Navy Museum, and the Naval Undersea Museum, at separate locations in Kitsap County. The Washington National Guard Museum is the Guard's own at Camp Murray.
King County and the closer Seattle area has an even larger collection of museums. Many of these are science or technology museums. Briefly, these are the Boeing Museum of Flight, featuring aviation artifacts, and a large collection of aircraft and aerospace displays; the Museum of History and Industry, focusing on industry in Seattle; the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum, exploring modern music (especially Seattle-area music) and three floors of science fiction exhibits; the Pacific Science Center, with three floors of science displays and demonstration, including a planetarium; and the Museum of Communications, focusing on telegraphs and telephones (you know, those things they used to talk in the 19th and 20th Centuries). The Burke Museum of Natural History is the only major natural history museum in the state.
Cultural museums in the area include the Nordic Heritage Museum (the area was largely settled by Scandinavians in the 19th Century), Northwest African American Museum; and the Wing Luke Museum (looking at Chinese and other Asian cultures in Seattle).
The Karshner Memorial Museum is a local Puyallup museum operated by the school district, performing a number of educational functions for local schoolchildren, including an onsite exhibit collection.