One of the core goals of the Association is to provide educational experiences to the community. The Nathaniel Orr Home and Orchard is attached to an interactive Museum and wagon shop.

Historic Properties

  • The Nathaniel Orr Pioneer Home Site, dating from 1857, is open to visitors and demonstrates life in the late 1800s. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The restored Wagon Shop dates from the time of Nathaniel’s marriage to Emma Thompson and exhibits Orr’s original tools and other period tools, wagons, and equipment.
  • The Orr Orchard contains heritage fruit trees planted by Nathaniel Orr. More recent plantings reflect the scope of the original trees on the property. The Orchard is on the
    National Register of Historic Places.
  • The Historical Museum where displays on the history of Steilacoom recount stories, provides a “hands-on” room for children with vignettes of pioneer life, and a site for activities.
  • The Bair Drug & Hardware Store, dating from 1895, is a “living” museum and active restaurant featuring displays of the late 1800 to early 1900 drug and hardware store, post office, and soda fountain.

School Partnerships

  • Fourth-grade tours and small group learning opportunities
  • Special custom student project opportunities

Public Education

  • Docent-led tours of the Museum, Orr Home, Wagon Shop
  • Large group tours; custom tours are available
  • Self-guided tours using a brochure of the Steilacoom Historic District.

Kids Club

Hands-on learning experiences with pioneer games and toys, dress up in period costumes, crafts, and interaction with vignettes of a pioneer barbershop, household, and schoolroom. Held on the last Saturday of the month from April through September, each session is guided by a theme for children ages 3-12. Participation is free. Registration is available online.

Knitting Club

Offered monthly from November through February on Saturdays, children between 4 and 12 are shown how to cast on, knit, and purl. They create a finished project by the session's end. Registration is online; there is no cost.

Adult Education

Partnership with the Steilacoom Library also results in in-person or online talks on various topics. Check the listing for topics, time and location.

Lectures and Book Signings

SHMA presents regular speakers and local authors on various topics throughout the year. Check the listing for topics, times, and locations.