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“Sea” the City Through It’s Arts: Seattle Museum Month is Here!

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Once again, Seattle Museum Month is back, and we can’t think of a better time to explore the city than through its arts and culture. Greater Seattle has a rich history and the best places to see it on display are at the various museums around the Pacific Northwest. The list of participating museums is endless, from one side of the Sound to the other. 

Locals can enjoy free museum days at select institutions or special membership deals at a handful of museums. If you have guests visiting from out of town, they can receive museum discounts if staying in select downtown Seattle hotels as well. 

Be sure to stop by a nearby Ivar’s location for a bite before or after experiencing what exhibits are living within the walls of these institutions.

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art: Discover contemporary arts and crafts of the Puget Sound region at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Current exhibits include glass art collections, art from Jessixa Bagley, knitted pieces from Carol Milne and more. 

Bellevue Arts Museum: Experience art, craft and design on Seattle’s Eastside at Bellevue Arts Museum. Current exhibits include art by Robert Williams, Maria Phillips and Nicole Gordon and jewelry from Playa Made. 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center: Featuring interactive exhibits, programs and tours, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center sparks conversations, makes connections and inspires action. Current exhibits include the temporary “We the Future” showcasing stories of 10 young leaders and permanent displays that show the current challenges we face and the progress made to reverse them.

Burke Museum: The recently renovated Burke Museum features historic displays offering a window to the life before us. Current exhibits include Northwest native art, evolution, fossils, living culture and more. 

The Center for Wooden Boats: Promoting Northwest maritime heritage with education, interpretation and hands-on experiences, the Center for Wooden Boats offers a look maritime history like never before. Current exhibits include small craft from the PNW, photography from Neil Rabinowitz, artworks from Pacific Rim Institute of Maritime Artists and more. 

Chihuly Garden and Glass: The breathtaking museum is a long-term exhibition showcasing the work of Dale Chihuly and the region’s creative energy to engage with locals and visitors. The museum houses eight galleries and three Drawing Walls for Chihuly’s work, a massive glasshouse as the centerpiece, a garden anchored by four monumental sculptures and The Theater for an interactive look at the process of glassblowing. 

@chihulygg on Instagram

Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum: Located at Paine Field in Everett, the FHCAM is a rare and private collection of WWII era aircraft and military armor, restored to working condition and displayed with interactive exhibits. The newest exhibit, “Why War: The Causes of Conflict,” looks at the roots of military confrontation throughout history with multimedia experiences. 

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Fort Nisqually aims to engage visitors with Puget Sound’s first globally connected settlement through historic preservation, experiential learning and interpretation, featuring arts and artifacts, events and camps. 

Frye Art Museum: A living legacy of visionary patronage and civic responsibility, the Frye is committed to giving each visitor a unique and enriching experience. Current exhibits include pieces from Seattle artists Francesca Lohmann and Rob Rhee, abstract art from Rebecca Brewer and more. 

Henry Art Gallery: The Henry features bold exhibits that push boundaries of contemporary art and culture and is known for being the first to premiere new works by established and emerging artists. Current exhibits include “In Plain Sight” which showcases art that addresses narratives, communities and histories typically hidden or invisible in the public space, along with art from James Turrell and Samantha Scherer.

Job Carr Cabin Museum: Job Carr Museum brings Tacoma’s birthplace to life with interactive experiences for elementary students and the community. The Cabin is a replica of Tacoma’s first permanent non-Native residence, located about a block away from the original site of Job’s frontier home.  

Kids Discovery Museum: The Kids Discovery Museum sparks children’s curiosity through play and experiential learning. Current exhibits include “Our Town,” the Science and Literacy Hall, “Totally TOT” and a private tree house. 

Kitsap Historical Society & Museum: The Kitsap County Historical Society & Museum collects, preserves and exhibits the diverse culture, heritage and history of Kitsap County. Exhibits rotate throughout the year, special events are held on various occasions and guests speakers are welcomed monthly. 

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park: This urban park located in the historic Cadillac Hotel acts as a visitor center, museum and ranger activity area. Guests can learn the story of the Klondike Gold Rush and its role in Seattle’s history, discover other national parks or participate in the summer ranger program. 

LeMay – America’s Car Museum: As a celebration of America’s love for automobiles, LeMay – America’s Car Museum offers exhibits and activities that share stories and capture imaginations. Current exhibits include “Cadillac – the Standard of the World,” “Legends of the Motorsports: The NASCAR Story,” “Route 66 – Dream of the Mother Road” and more.  

Museum of History & Industry: MOHAI collects and preserves artifacts and stories of the Puget Sound region’s diverse history, highlighting our tradition of innovation and imagination through exhibits, public programs, education and more to bridge the past, present and future. Current exhibits include the “Kid-struction Zone,” “Bezos Center for Innovation,” “True Northwest: The Seattle Journey” and “Maritime Seattle.” P.S. Don’t miss the many Ivar’s artifacts on display like our original Acres of Clams menu, souvenir figures, a clamtastic surprise in the Grand Atrium and multiple cameos in photographs! 

Museum of Pop Culture: A house for all-things creative expression, MoPOP offers experiences that inspire and connect communities through creativity and imagination. Current exhibits showcase the popular video game, Minecraft, the music of Nirvana, Jimmy Hendrix and Pearl Jam, science fiction and fantasy genres and more.  

@mopopseattle on Instagram

National Nordic Museum: The National Nordic Museum is an international recognized museum and cultural center where guests are invited to be inspired by the values, traditions, art and spirit of the Nordic people by collecting and preserving arts and objects. Current exhibits display the Nordic immigration story, photography from Danish photographers and more. 

North African American Museum: Celebrate black history, art and culture at the North African American Museum through exhibitions, special events and educational experiences. Current exhibits include work from Hiawatha D., Christopher Shaw and the Journey Gallery featuring Bertha Pitts Campbell and Mona Humphries Bailey. 

Northwest Railway Museum: Experience how the railroad changed everything at the Northwest Railway Museum. Through a collection of railroad equipment on display, various programs including seasonal themes and events, guests are given a look into the history of the railroad.

Pacific Bonsai Museum: The Pacific Bonsai Museum connects people to nature through the living art of bonsai. As one of the two museums in the United States dedicated only to bonsai, it features a collection of 150 bonsai with permanent collections and rotating exhibits.  

Olympic Sculpture Park: Ever wondered what the massive sculptures are towering over you on Seattle’s waterfront? That’s what we know and love as the Olympic Sculpture Park. The park features nine acres covered in monumental artworks as an extension of the Seattle Art Museum, just one mile away.  

@daysandclouds on Instagram, Olympic Sculpture Park

Pacific Science Center: The Pacific Science Center ignites curiosity in every guest and fuels a passion for discovery, experimentation and critical thinking through its events and programs. Current exhibits include VR experiences, the tropical butterfly house, “The Studio: Science in Action,” “Wellbody Academy” and more. 

Puget Sound Navy Museum: The Puget Sound Navy Museum collects, preserves and interprets the naval heritage of the Pacific Northwest. Permanent exhibits include “USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and “A Heritage of Excellence” and temporary experiences include 3D printing in the Navy, Puget Sound patrol boats and photography from John H. Steen. 

Seattle Aquarium: The region’s premier resource for hands-on marine experiences and conservation education, the Seattle Aquarium offers fun and exciting ways to discover the Puget Sound and our world’s ocean. Beautiful fish, massive octopi and up-close marine mammals are just a few of the things you’ll “sea” at this museum, and so much more!

Seattle Art Museum: The halls of the Seattle Art Museum are filled with endless exhibits that celebrate various art forms, cultures and communities. A few current exhibits include “Claire Partington: Taking Tea,” “You Are On Indigenous Land: Places/Displaces,” “Big Picture: Art After 1945” and “France: Inside and Out,” but so much more await upon your arrival. When you see the massive “Hammering Man” sculpture, you know you’re in the right place. 

@nocturina on Instagram, Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Asian Art Museum: With an extensive collection of Asian art, the Seattle Asian Art Museum breaks boundaries to offer a thematic exploration of art from Asia. The museum reopens on Feb. 8 with its newly renovated building. 

Seattle Children’s Museum: Known as the place where imagination comes alive, the Seattle Children’s Museum encourages families to bring to life the joy of discovery through fun, creative and hands-on exploration of the world around us. The space is designed for kids from ages up to 8 years old (yes, even the newborns are welcome!) with exhibits that offer imaginative adventure around every corner. 

Seattle Pinball Museum: Created from the desire to share pinball games with local collectors, the Seattle Pinball Museum provides vintage pinball machines as an interactive display of kinetic art. 

Shoreline Historical Museum: The Shoreline Historical Museum is dedicated to preserving, recording and interpreting the heritage of the historic Shoreline area and its relationship to the Northwest region. Current exhibits include “Linking the Community Through Time: Connections That Bring Us Together,” “Coming To America: Personal Stories of Putting Down New Roots,” “Once Upon a Time in Playland” and more. 

Suquamish Museum: The Suquamish Museum features exhibits and events that celebrate and remember the Suquamish people. The featured exhibit is “Trade of the Northwest Coast” which explores trade by Native American tribes along the Northwest Coast as well as the unique “trade language,” Chinook. 

Tacoma Art Museum: The Tacoma Art Museum connects people through art by serving diverse communities through collections, exhibitions and learning programs that emphasize art and artists of the Northwest region and beyond. Current exhibits include “Immigrant Artists and the American West,” “Native Portraiture: Power and Perception,” “The Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Wing” and more. 

University of Washington Botanical Gardens: Located in the Washington Park Arboretum, the UW Botanical Gardens boasts a living collection of dynamic plants, some that are only found in the Northwest.

U.S. Naval Undersea Museum: Featuring exhibits, education and collections, the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum offers a look at the Navy’s undersea operations, technology, combat, research and salvage. Current exhibits showcase marine mammals, the Navy Experimental Diving Unit and more. 

U.S.S. Turner Joy Navel Destroyer Museum Ship: Explore a piece of maritime history at the moored Naval Destroyer museum ship. 

W.W. Seymour Conservatory: Take in the natural wonder of the world at the W.W. Seymour Conservatory. Grand floral displays with 300-500 blooming plants rotate seasonally and permanent collections feature more than 250 individuals plant species from around the world and more than 200 orchids always in boom.

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience: Step into a uniquely American story at the Wing Luke Museum with its immersive programs and the stories showcased. Current exhibits include “Where Beauty Lies,” “Vietnam in the Rearview Mirror,” “Excluded, Inside the Lines” and more.  

Woodland Park Zoo: The Woodland Park Zoo is home to more than 1,100 animals and 300 species – including some of the world’s most critically endangered – to encourage guests to discover the amazing animals that are near and far from us. 

@woodlandparkzoo on Instagram

Who knew Greater Seattle had so many wonderful museums showcasing the history that makes the Puget Sound what it is? Whether you’re looking to learn more about different cultures and science discoveries or immerse yourself in the arts, there’s something for everyone in and around Seattle. And when you’re ready for a bite to eat, there’s something for everyone at Ivar’s.