OLYMPIA -- The Evergreen State College is excited to announce that its students’ self-guided multimedia walking tours, collectively known as "Olympia's Hidden Histories," has been honored with the 2024 Heritage Award by the Olympia Historical Society - Bigelow House Museum. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding contributions to Olympia's history and "Olympia's Hidden Histories" stands out for its innovative approach in bringing to light the diverse stories of the city's rich history of communities, ecology, and global connections.

“Our students are so honored by this award,” said Zoltán Grossman, Evergreen faculty in Geography and Native Studies. “Olympia’s Hidden Histories is what we hope becomes an invaluable tool for those wanting to learn about our state’s capital city and stories of its distant and recent past.”

The Heritage Award ceremony is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 27 in the Olympia Center located at 222 Columbia St. NW, celebrating individuals, historic places and organizations that have significantly shaped Olympia's rich history.

"Olympia's Hidden Histories" is a collection of self-guided ArcGIS StoryMaps tours accessible on smartphones, tablets, or laptops without needing an app. These tours aim to showcase the untold stories of Steh-Chass (Squaxin), Chinese, and working-class communities, as well as the ecological significance of the Deschutes Estuary.

In winter 2022, students from Evergreen's "American Frontiers" program published four tours focusing on the historic displacement of Indigenous and immigrant communities, salmon, and oysters, and contemporary efforts at natural and cultural restoration.

In winter 2023, the "Taking Back Empire" program added three new tours exploring the Port of Olympia connections to global trade and shipping, militarization, and fossil fuels, encompassing historical narratives and contemporary events.

The walking tours feature original and interactive maps, historical and contemporary photos, audio and video clips, and original charts, graphs, and artwork. The tours are available on any web-linked device without an app download, at

The involvement of the Squaxin Island Tribe, Olympia Historical Society, the Locke Family Association, and Salmon Defense in the research and writing process, fostered a remarkable connection between academic exploration and community engagement.

The collaboration between Evergreen students and faculty, alongside the "Walls Tell Stories, Olympia" project by Art Forces and the Rachel Corrie Foundation, has resulted in a comprehensive and engaging exploration of local history. Various grants including the Washington Humanities SHARP grant and the Thurston County Heritage Grant supported the joint project.

For more information on, “Olympia’s Hidden Histories,” please contact Zoltán Grossman at or 360-359-8871.