The main reason to visit Tacoma was to see the Museum of Glass, but I skimmed the section on the city in the AAA TourBook (yeah, I know, how old school) and noticed an entry for the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. That sounded intriguing! I had time for a quick visit.
The Karpeles Collection is the world’s largest collection of original manuscripts and documents. David and Marsha Karpeles made money in real estate. Some folks with money buy sports teams they went with manuscripts. The facilities to make them available to the public are to stimulate an interest in learning. “Learning is lighting a spark, not filling a vessel.”
The museum is located across the street from Wright Park. It is housed in a building sporting Greco-Roman columns that used to be the home of some fraternal order. The main exhibit, which changes every three months, was displayed in cases in a large auditorium type room. There’s a stage and it sounded like the museum sometimes has events there. There was another exhibit in a smaller area as well. Admission is free!
There are 12 facilities around the country, the exhibit that was in Tacoma when I visited, Arthur Conan Doyle, Houdini and Spiritualism, is now in Newburgh, New York. The smaller exhibit area had a variety of historical political documents.
I was the only visitor on a Tuesday afternoon, and the fellow running the place was quite chatty. He brought out some reproductions of other items in the collection, including some CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott and Winnie the Pooh. It’s really fascinating to see the handwriting of so many different authors and historical figures, whether you believe in graphology or not. He was a Tacoma native, quite proud of his city, and told me about other places to visit.