The Eastern Washington State Historical Society/Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture collects art, artifacts and primary source material in three disciplines: Regional History, Fine Art, and American Indian and other cultures.

The collections include over 68,000 objects representing fine art and material culture from the Americas, Europe, and Asia.


Regional History

Barrett Family Picnic Hamper

  • Broadly represents major regional themes including exploration, settlement, economics, communications, domestic arts, and entertainment/community events.
  • Includes an extensive textile collection with quilts and clothing from mid-19th century to present.
  • Offers a major interpretive program for the museum with the 1898 Campbell House complex, built by mine owner Amasa B. Campbell, supported by original furnishings and research documents.

American Indian

  • Represents culture groups from throughout the Americas.
  • Is one of the preeminent collections of Plateau material culture in the United States augmented by 10,000 photographic images of Plateau Indian culture.
  • Includes works by living American Indian artists and artisans of the Plateau Tribes.

Contact the MAC's Tribal Liaison & Collections Specialist for more information on this Collection. Tisa Matheson - 509-363-5311

Fine Art

Coulee Dam, Looking West

  • Includes historic regional paintings.
  • Highlights artwork of the WPA era associated with the Works Progress Administration’s Spokane Art Center that flourished from 1938-1941 including Vanessa Z. Helder’s Grand Coulee Dam Construction painting suite. See a selected catalog at Northwest Art Collection: Works on Paper.
  • The MAC focuses its collecting efforts on regional contemporary art and art by renowned artists from the region. Recent acquisitions include the work of: Doug Safranek, Kristen Capp, James Lavadour, and Jim Hodges, and Patti Warashina and a major installation piece by Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz.

Library and Archives

Monroe Street Bridge
The Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives:

  • Collects and makes available for research primary and secondary sources that document and interpret the history, art, and culture of the Inland Northwest/Pacific Northwest that are not readily available at other institutions in the Inland Northwest or Pacific Northwest.
  • Provides research and exhibit-quality primary and secondary materials for the MAC’s exhibits, programs, and staff, including regional history, art, and American Indian departments; provides access to research and exhibit-quality materials to individuals and institutions outside the MAC.
  • Houses the institutional archives of the Eastern Washington State Historical Society/Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture.

Collections include:

  • photographs and negatives
  • manuscripts
  • ephemera
  • architectural drawings
  • reel-to-reel film
  • oral histories
  • maps
  • books and periodicals

These materials reflect the broad collecting categories of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/Eastern Washington State Historical Society: regional history, visual art, and American Indian and other cultures.

Effective immediately, the Joel E. Ferris Library & Archive is available by appointment Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
To schedule, e-mail your request in as much detail as possible to