Primarily Washington is the Washington State LibraryWashington State Archives, and Legacy Washington's way of bridging the gap between the primary sources in our collections and the classroom. The State Library's goals include actions to promote education and life-long learning, as well as connect Washingtonians to their history. This portal will contribute to these efforts by containing content that will consist of digitized primary sources that have been partnered with curriculum developed by Washington State teachers. There are also featured exhibits for further study by students and all others wishing to learn more about the history of the Pacific Northwest.

Note: These primary sources include materials that reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. These materials are presented as part of the historical record. Inclusion of these materials does not mean endorsement of or agreement with any views expressed. But they provide opportunities for examining multiple perspectives, generating discussions and comparing and contrasting points of view over time.

Copyright Information

Unless otherwise noted, all images are offered under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) and lesson plans under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Please credit materials with the phrase [Material citation]. Courtesy of Washington State Library. Or [Material citation]. Courtesy of Washington State Archives. (ex. Map of Oregon, Washington, and part of British Columbia. S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1860. Courtesy of Washington State Library). Please contact the State Library if you have any questions regarding the credit and use of any material presented on this website.

How to Use Primarily Washington

The homepage contains two entry buttons – Explore and Learn.

Explore will give you a list of all of our collections. Clicking on a specific collection will reveal all items in that collection for browsing.

Learn will give you a list of all of our lesson plans.

You can also get to these areas by clicking on Browse Collections or Browse Lesson Plans on the menu bar under the header. Also included in the menu bar are entry points to our exhibits and additional resources.

The search bar at the right hand top of the page is also a great discovery tool.

Searching Primarily Washington

Basic Search

Using the simple search bar, type the keyword(s) you want to search for in the field and either hit enter on your keyboard or click the Search (magnifying glass) button. This will search items, files, and collection metadata, the text on simple pages, exhibit summary pages and exhibit pages.

Search Options

To access the options for the basic search, click on the ellipses (...) button to the right of the search bar, next to the search (magnifying glass) button.

The first set of options allows you to select a query type:

  • Keyword, or general search
  • Boolean, in which you can add boolean operators like AND and NOT
  • Exact match, which will only find exact matches to the word or phrase you enter.

The second set of options are a series of checkboxes for content to include in the search. The checkboxes populate based on the search settings and include:

  • Item
  • File
  • Collection
  • Exhibit pages
  • Exhibit summaries

Advanced Search

Advanced Search, which will only search the items in Primarily Washington.  To access the advanced search, click on the ellipses (…) button to the right of the basic search bar and then click the link to “Advanced Search (Items Only)”.

The “Search Items” page gives many options for advanced searching across all items. You do not need to complete all fields, only as many as you want.

Questions? Please contact Ask a Librarian.