The Lewis County Historical Museum is the principle repository of the distinct and complete history of Lewis County. We hold over 1,000 books; 5,000 documents, manuscripts, maps, aerial photo and metzger maps, as well as pieces of ephemera (everyday printed material such as pamphlets, newspaper cuttings, advertising brochures); 23,000 historical photographs; oral history transcripts. Some specific resources in the Research Library collection include the Polk County Directories for Lewis County, local school annuals, cemetery records, and various materials relating to Lewis County communities, businesses, persons, and events. All chronicling the vast history of “the mother of all counties”.
If you would like to utilize our Research Library come into the Museum located at 599 NW Front Way, Chehalis, WA 98532 during regular business hours and we would be more than happy to help research a topic or family records for you. Access to the Research Library is free for Lewis County Historical Society/Museum members or is included in Museum admission. If you would like to become a member for free, unlimited access to the Research Library just click here!
We do take research requests if you cannot make it into the Museum for a small donation of $15 per hour. Please contact the Museum for requests and we ask that you include all information available to you. This ensures a faster response.
The Lewis County Historical Museum is currently in the process of digitizing our vast Research Library for use online so please bare with us as the project is quite substantial. Records that have been competed will be accessible as soon as they are available. We thank you for your patience!
Regarding genealogical research, the Research Library does have records to assist in your quest but addition resources may be found at the Lewis County Genealogical Society at http://walcgs.org/
The Lewis County Historical Museum's Research Library is open to any researcher, professional or novice, who is working on a specific project.
- Research materials are non-circulating and may not be checked out or obtained through inter-library loans.
- A majority of our research materials are open and may be browsed. For some delicate materials, such as original photographs, must be requested to library staff.
- Photocopying is available on request and at a cost with staff assistance.
What to Bring
Pencils (no pens please)
Paper or writing tablet
Laptop computers are allowed
What Not to Bring
Cameras, scanners, or other electronic recording devices
Food or drinks
Book bags, backpacks, briefcases, large purses (These items can be checked-in at the front desk)
Original documents come in numerous different sizes and conditions but we strive to make your research as easy as possible. It should be noted that all photocopying damages documents physically and chemically so please keep your photocopying requests to an absolute minimum to ensure the resources are available for research into the future.
- Photocopying is done at the complete discretion of the Lewis County Historical Museum.
- Due to their condition, age, or legal restrictions, some material may not be reproduced.
- Oversized materials larger than 11 by 17 inches, bound manuscripts, and rare books will not be photocopied.
- Permission to examine, request, and obtain photocopies of materials in the Research Library is not an authorization to publish them.
Office copy machine copies are available for the following fees:
8.5 x 11 inches - 25¢
11 x 17 inches - 50¢
Collections Access Requests
Unlike the Research Library, the Museum collection is not open to the public. To determine if our collections contain any materials or objects relevant to your research or to arrange a visit to view select materials or objects, please submit a completed Collection Access Request Form to the Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to 599 NW Front Way, Chehalis, WA 98532. All requests are at the complete discretion of the Executive Director.