Fun & Unusual Specialty Museums of Washington

Specialty museums are a destination unto themselves. They showcase the creativity, quirky personalities, and humor of everyday people.  All show a desire to rescue, save, and document the past before these memories are lost forever.  Most are not well known.  While visits to the larger museums are always high on the to-do list, these smaller museums offer their own unique memories to those that take the time to stop by. 

Valentinetti Puppet Museum

Bremerton, WA

Valentinetti Puppet Museum showcases the magnificent craftsmanship of generations of puppet artists.  Many of these artists are long gone, but at the museum you can still see their work, sense their devotion to a unique art form, and almost hear the laughter that they lovingly created in children long ago.

280 4th St, Bremerton, WA   Valentinetti Puppet Museum

Bing Crosby Museum

Spokane, WA

Gonzaga University houses a large collection of material relating to 20th Century singer and actor Harry Lillis (Bing) Crosby, a native of Spokane and alumnus of Gonzaga. Crosby began to donate items to Gonzaga University in preparation for the opening of the Crosby Library in 1957, and today the Crosby House, Bing’s boyhood home, serves as a museum for Bing’s many enduring fans. Items in the Crosby Collection include his awards, photographs, audiovisual recordings, paintings and artwork, books, original manuscripts, letters, research material, fan club periodicals, and the entire collection of the Bing Crosby Historical Society of Tacoma, Washington. 

508 E. Sharp Ave, Spokane WA Bing Crosby Museum


Nutcracker Museum

Leavenworth, WA

There are different ways to crack a nut…direct pressure, indirect pressure, screw, and percussion, and you will find them all in the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum. The creativity of man is vividly portrayed in the many ways he used to crack a nut. Come and appreciate the craftsmanship, creativity, and fabulous style of these folk art pieces.

735 Front St., Leavenworth WA  Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum

McSteven’s Chocolate Cocoa Tin Collection

Vancouver, WA

McSteven’s Cocoa is headquartered in Vancouver, WA. In their factory store they show off their collection of antique cocoa tins as well as let you try out their different cocoa flavors available for sale in their gift shop. The collection is free to view. See how many you remember!

5600 NE 88th St, Vancouver, WA  McStevens Cocoa

Seattle Pinball Museum


An opportunity to play in a museum on the actual exhibits… With admission fee you have unlimited play, featuring classic & modern pinball games. The collection includes games as early as 1934 to present day. Step back to your childhood and enjoy the sights and sounds of a good old fashioned pin ball game!

508 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA  Pinball Museum

NW Carriage Museum


One of the finest collections of 19th century carriages, buggys, wagons, and historical artifacts in the country. From the elaborate undertaker’s carriage to the simple, the collection is astounding.

314 Alder St, Raymond, WA  NW Carriage Museum

Telephone Museum

Cle Elum

The oldest complete telephone museum west of the Mississippi, with displays covering the history of telephone technology from 1876 to the present.  In addition to the telephone displays, the museum features a collection of coal mine artifacts which were donated by local miners.  FREE admission.

221 E 1st St, Cle Elum, WA    Telephone Museum

Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum


Featuring a rotating variety of original manuscripts on display including the likes of original Darwin Past examples have included Darwin’s original manuscripts on science versus religion, the logbook from the Enola Gay, and a handwritten draft of “Madame Butterfly.” Come and visit 1 of 13 national museums that house the largest private manuscript collection in the country. The Karpeles family collection includes historical documents from Einstien, Darwin, WWII, Wright Brothers, and much more. Attendance is FREE

407 S. G Street, Tacoma, WA  Karpeles Museum

Living Computer Museum


Come geek out in this museum dedicated to the computer era. See “ancient” computers, see what life was like growing up in the 80’s tech world, and see what is new in this modern museum in the city in which many of these inventions were born.

2245 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA  Living Computer Museum


Buffalo Soldiers Calvary Museum


This small Tacoma museum is one of the only two museums in the nation dedicated to the Buffalo Soldiers, and holds a collection of military artifacts, an extensive library of books, and articles and DVD’s from the founder Mr. Jones’ military career with the 10th Calvary. Celebrating the lesser-known history of the men of color and their service to the U.S. Military.

1940 S Wilkeson St
Tacoma, Washington

Buffalo Soldier Museum Tacoma


White Bluffs Quilt Museum


A small regional textile arts center, serving the Tri-Cities and the Mid-Columbia Basin. The Center serves as both a museum and a support organization for the quilting, weaving, spinning and basketry guilds in Eastern Washington State.

294 Torbett Street, Richland, WA 99354  White Bluff Quilt Museum


Archie McPhee Rubber Chicken Museum


Located inside the Archie McPhee toy store is one of the world’s most unusual speciality museums – dedicated to the love of the rubber chicken. The displays explore the questions of what, who, and why are they funny? You can take your photo standing next to the world’s largest rubber chicken.

1300 N. 45th St., Seattle WA  Rubber Chicken Museum