The Des Moines Legacy Foundation and Humanities Washington will be presenting a FREE, engaging conversation with Harriet Baskas, a member of the 2012-14 Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, on Tuesday, May 13 at the Des Moines Activity Center, 2045 S. 216th, beginning at 7 p.m.

Space restrictions allow most museums to display only about 10 percent of their holdings. However, there are also surprising political, philosophical, artistic, environmental and historic reasons why museums keep objects from view. Journalist Harriet Baskas will present a fast-paced, photo-filled and, at times, somewhat offbeat tour of Washington history through the stories of museum artifacts that are rarely – or never – shown to the public. Examples include Bing Crosby’s toupees in Spokane, a quilt made of Ku Klux Klan robes in Yakima and Native American spirit boards in Tacoma. We will explore how those objects came to be in the local collections and who makes decisions about what is displayed or kept from view.

Harriet Baskas is the author of the recently released book, Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can’t or Won’t Show You (Globe Pequot, $19.95), which has received great reviews from USA TODAY. Harriet Baskas writes about airports, museums and a wide variety of other topics for,, AAA Journey and other outlets. She also maintains two and She produced a major radio series on hidden museum artifacts that aired on National Public Radio, with Smithsonian-based historians as her advisers. Baskas has a master’s in communication from the University of Washington and served as general manager for three community radio stations in Oregon and Washington. Baskas is the author of a half dozen books, including Washington Curiosities, Washington Icons and Oregon Curiosities.

Hidden Treasures in Washington’s Museums will also bring four of our local historical societies together in one location to share with the audience the “hidden treasures” of their local museums. These are the Des Moines Historical Society, The Federal Way Historical Society, the Highline Historical Society, and the Kent Historical Society. Each historical society will host a table showcasing their hidden treasures, upcoming programs and events, and items they sell to support their services.

A drawing will be held at the end of the evening for a chance to win a signed copy of Harriet’s new book, Hidden Treasures; What Museums Can’t or Won’t Show You. For more information, contact Des Moines Activity Center, 206-878-1642.


WHO: Hidden Treasures in Washington’s Museums with Harriet Baskas, presenter and hidden treasures on display from Des Moines, Highline, Kent and Federal Way Historical Societies!!

WHEN: Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 7pm

WHERE: Des Moines Activity Center, 2045 S. 216th St.

COST: Free

INFO: On the or

Questions? Des Moines Activity Center, 206.878.1642.