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9:30 am - 4:00 pm

The Port of Skagit County, the Skagit County Historical Museum, and the Sedro-Woolley Museum are proud to present our third public history event at Northern State Hospital! Hear from speakers who worked and lived at Northern State, learn the history, purchase books at the book table, take a self-guided outdoor walking tour, write a memory on the memorial wall, and more! This year, we'll be offering a tour inside the Colman Ward for a limited number of participants. See below for reservation information.

Admission to Public History Day is free. Events meet outside the Colman building on the Northern State Campus. Public parking available. Except for the guided Colman tour, access to the inside of buildings is prohibited.

Click here to view a photo-timeline of Northern State.


Hear the Stories

At Public History Day, we'll hear from speakers who lived or worked at Northern State Hospital. Hear the stories, ask questions, and learn the history of NSH!

2024 speaker topics include the life of Superintendent Dr. Jones, the story of a student nurse, employee memories, family research, an update from the Port of Skagit, and more! See the schedule below.

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Tour the Colman Ward

This year we're offering a special opportunity, an inside tour of the Colman Ward (for a limited number of participants). The tour will be guided and curated, with information about the building, general Northern State history, and time for a Q&A.

Colman tour reservations open July 18 at 9:00 am. Tour reservations are free, and may be made by calling 360-466-3365.

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Write on the Memorial Wall

At Public History Day, we seek to honor those who worked, lived, and died at Northern State Hospital.

The memorial wall will be back again--a place to write a note in memory of a friend, relative or special person who had a connection to the hospital.


Purchase Northern State books

Books on Northern State Hospital will be available for purchase at the book table, and are also available at the Skagit County Historical Museum or the Sedro-Woolley Museum.

Purchase memoirs, the Northern State guidebook, a revised version of "Under the Red Roof," a newly issued "Amid Fields of Alyssum: A Year at Northern State," Skagit history books, and more!


Take a Self-Guided Outdoor Tour

Wondering what the buildings were used for? Northern State Researcher A. Muia authored a 30-page Hub Drive guidebook in full color, including the history and function of the buildings, historical highlights, patient voices, interior and exterior photographs, a campus map, and more.


Guidebooks will be on sale at the event, and can also be purchased at the Sedro-Woolley Museum and the Skagit County Historical Museum for $10.00.

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The museums are always looking for volunteers!


Become a docent, greet guests, help work on displays, and assist with special events. Contact Ann Skupniewitz-Maroney at the Skagit County Historical Museum (360-466-3365,, or JoEllen Kesti at the Sedro-Woolley Museum (360-855-2390,

speaker schedule

Join us at the speaker stage outside Colman Hall!

10:00 am :: Amy Muia - The history of Northern State

​11:00 am :: Kris Goodan - Daughter of Superintendent Dr. Charles Jones

12:00 pm :: Ginny Darvill - Memories of a student nurse​

1:00 pm :: Arne Erickson - Memories of a nurse​

2:00 pm :: Carrie Davidson and Washington State Archives - Family research​

3:00 pm :: Port of Skagit update​

event parking

Please follow the signs. Events meet outside the Coleman Building. Yellow parking areas are available to the public while visiting the SWIFT Center (Northern State Hospital campus). Parking along Hub Drive should be head-in to maximize space. There is a parking lot adjacent to the chapel/Hub building.

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