The Rainier Valley Historical Society maintains an ever-growing archive of historic photographs, documents, maps, oral histories, and artifacts. The collection — along with a library of books and other research materials relating to the Rainier Valley — is available to the public during regular office hours or by appointment. Researchers are encouraged to contact the RVHS to discuss their request in advance.
The collection focuses on the history of the Rainier Valley from 1850 to the present day. Our geographic boundaries are from Dearborn Street on the north to the City limits on the south, and from the I-5 freeway to Lake Washington. Our collection has historically centered on Columbia City and the period from 1890 – 1940, but we are working to expand the collection to include a broader geographic range, materials from World War Two and the post-war period, and from the many ethnic and cultural communities present in the Rainier Valley today.
In 2009 the RVHS Board adopted a new Collections Policy that outlines our commitment to collect and preserve the historical materials in our care. The new Policy establishes a Collections Committee that will oversee accessions, cataloging, and preservation efforts.
We have several dozen oral histories in our collection. These are available to researchers by appointment. For a list, click here.>
Many thanks to 4Culture for supporting our collections through Special Projects and Sustained Support Grants.