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There's historical society in every Western state, and you can join.

There's a historical society in every Western state, and you can join

If you're caught by the rough romance of the early West, you'll delight in the wealth of regional narrative you'll be offered as a member of any of the West's state historical societies.

These societies, as well as dozens of others representing individual communities or counties, are valuable repositories of the American frontier experience.

Trappers, traders, whalers, prospectors, pioneers, cowboys, Indians, miners, missionaries, desperadoes, and adventurers are among the characters whose stories form the stuff of historical society arrchives. Sometimes their saddles, wagons, weapons, furniture, and even clothes are displayed as well.

A membership (tax-deductible) costs $5 to $40 per year. It's a thoughtful, stimulating gift for anyone from high-school student to grandparent.

Members' benefits usually include journals, newsletters, admission to society-run museums and museum events, gift shop discounts, and invitations to workshops, seminars, and tours. Several societies also publish books.

Here are the basics on state historical societies in the West. Write to individual organizations for more details.

Alaska Historical Society, Box 100299, Anchorage 99510. Membership: $35. Publishes quarterly newsletter, semiannual journal, and books. Also has publications list, sponsors workshops and conferences.

Arizona Historical Society, 949 E. Second St., Tucson 85719; (602) 628-5774. Membership: $25. The society maintains and supports museums in Phoenix, Yuma, and Flagstaff, as well as historic sites. Bimonthly newsletter, quarterly journal.

California Historical Society, 2090 Jackson St., San Francisco 94109; (415) 567-1848. The society also has a center at 4201 Wilshire Boulevard, in Los Angeles, and one at El Molino Viejo, 1120 Old Mill Road, in San Marino. Membership: $40, $25 teachers, $20 students. The society's period-furnished Victorian house in San Francisco is open 1 to 4:30 Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with docent-led tours at 1:30 and 3. Schubert Hall research library in nearby Spreckels House is open 1 to 5 Wednesdays through Saturdays. The society sponsors house tours, travel programs. Members get a bimonthly newsletter and a quarterly.

Colorado Historical Society, 1300 Broadway, Denver 80203; (303) 866-4597. Membership: $25, $35 family, $20 seniors, $15 volunteers or students, free if you volunteer 100 hours or more. The society maintains 13 museums and historic sites, most open free to members. Monthly newsletter and quarterly.

Hawaiian Historical Society, 560 Kawaiahao St., Honolulu 96813; (808) 537-6271. Membership: $20, $10 seniors. Members get annual Hawaiian Journal of History, plus newsletters and discounts on books. A library, open to members, contains more than 10,000 volumes on Hawaiian and Pacific history. The society's annual book sale and open house will take place on December 3.

Idaho Historical Society, 610 N. Julia Davis Dr., Boise 83702; (208) 334-2120. Membership: $15. Operates Idaho Historical Museum and Historical Library, the Old Idaho Penitentiary, and U.S. Assay Office. Members receive a newsletter and a quarterly.

Montana Historical Society, 225 N. Roberts St., Helena 59620; (406) 444-2694. Membership: $18. Members get a newsletter and a quarterly magazine. The society maintains a museum, the state library and state archives, and the original Governor's Mansion (304 N. Ewing Street).

Nevada Historical Society, 1650 N. Virginia St., Reno 89503; (702) 789-0190. Membership: $25. Society members automatically belong to branches of the state's Department of Museums and History, including ones in Carson City, Las Vegas, Overton, and Reno. Quarterly and newsletter.

Historical Society of New Mexico, Box 5819, Santa Fe 87501; (505) 983-2646. Membership: $15, $10 student, $20 family. Members get reduced subscription rates to the quarterly New Mexico Historical Review, and to New Mexico Architecture. Society publishes historical material, marks historic routes and sites.

Oregon Historical Society, 1230 S.W. Park Ave., Portland 97205; (503) 222-1741. Membership: $25, $20 seniors, $15 students. Publishes a bimonthly newsletter, a quarterly, and books on regional history. Historical Center houses a library and huge files of maps and old photographs, with copying facilities.

Utah State Historical Society, 300 Rio Grande, Salt Lake City 84101; (801) 533-5755. Membership: $15, $10 students and seniors. The society's museum, in a handsome old railroad station, is open, free, from 8 to 5 weekdays. It has an extensive library and genealogical material. Bimonthly newsletter lists classes, workshops, special events.

Washington State Historical Society, 315 N. Stadium Way, Tacoma 98403; (206) 593-2830. Membership: $20, $30 family, $15 students and seniors. The museum building contains a fine research library. The society publishes a quarterly journal in conjunction with the UW Department of History; it also issues a newsletter. A new quarterly, Columbia, began publication last March. Continuing until December 27, "Magnificent Voyagers' details the Wilkes Expedition of 1838-42 to Puget Sound.

Wyoming State Historical Society, Barrett Building, Cheyenne 82002; (307) 777-7015. Membership: $5 individual, $7 double. Members get a semiannual journal, bimonthly newsletter. Besides the Cheyenne museum, memberships help support six sites elsewhere in the state.

Photo: Visitors cast appreciative looks at print of painting by Charles M. Russell in Montana Historical Museum store

Photo: Salt Lake Depot went up in 1910 to serve Denver & Rio Grande rail lines, now houses Utah Historical Society

Photo: Children raise tepee as part of Colorado Historical Society summer program
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Date:Dec 1, 1987
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