Submitted by Washington State Historical Society

Washington State Historical Society will convene the 67th Pacific Northwest History Conference virtually this year, taking place October 20-23, 2020. Historians, museum professionals, K-12 educators, archivists, historic preservationists, graduate students, and history enthusiasts will gather to explore the theme “Contested Spaces: Power and Resistance in the Pacific Northwest.”

The Pacific Northwest has long been a place of contested spaces. As we embark on a new decade and upcoming presidential election, profound demographic, economic, political, and cultural changes continue to shape struggles over power, rights, and freedoms in this region. These challenges have also produced different forms of resistance by diverse groups of people. 

“Our program committee, which is made up of distinguished historians, public historians, tribal historians and labor historians from across the Pacific Northwest, chose the theme of Contested Spaces: Power and Resistance in the Pacific Northwest,” Allison Campbell, Heritage Outreach Manager for the Historical Society said. “When we decided on this theme eight months ago, we knew that the conference would be scheduled on the eve of the 2020 election. We knew that it was during the year of the suffrage centennial. But in no way could we have predicted just how timely this theme would ultimately be.”

The virtual conference will feature sixteen panels on a wide range of topics related to the theme of Contested Spaces. In addition to these sessions, the Pacific Northwest Historian’s Guild will host a roundtable where historians can informally discuss their current research projects and receive feedback from peers. Three keynote panels will explore the topics of digital history, tribal history in K-12 curricula, and labor history in the Pacific Northwest. Evening programs will feature presentations on cocktail history in the West and a virtual behind-the-scenes tour of the upcoming Washington State History Museum exhibition, Votes for Women: 100 Years and Counting (opening October 24).

The 16 sessions cover a broad range of topics. A few examples:

  • Regional Resistance to National Isolationism
  • Past and Present: Tribal Responses to Disease in the PNW
  • Race, Sexuality, and Environmentalism: Creating Shared Identity Across Political and Regional Divides
  • Foodways: Historical Inquiries at the Intersection of Labor, Environment, and Colonialism

This is the first time the regional conference has been held online. “We know it’s hard to replicate the energy and comradery of an in-person conference, but this virtual format will allow broader participation and greater access with a lower participation cost, while enabling Pacific Northwest historians to show off some of the best work being done today,” said Campbell.  

There are two levels of registration available for the online conference. The full access option is $75 for Washington State Historical Society members, $100 for non-members, and $50 for students, K-12 teachers and contingent faculty. Full access registration includes all of the sessions and recordings of sessions, a research roundtable, keynote panels, and evening programs. The limited access option is free, and includes the three keynotes and evening programs.

To register, see the conference schedule and find further information, visit (exhibitions and events tab), or contact

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