See special and limited-time exhibitions throughout the Pacific Northwest
If the colder weather is getting you down, here’s a suggestion: Why not visit one of the Pacific Northwest’s fascinating museums? Many of our region’s museums and galleries have special shows, events and new exhibits running into June.
A trip to a museum is a moment of discovery. Even if you return to the same space again and again, you’ll never know what you will see for the first time.
You still have time to catch some great, temporary exhibitions that were launched this winter. Here are a few notable special exhibits in our region that are worth exploring. Please check ahead in case of program changes.
(1) Northwest African American Museum
Through June 24
See the colorful and creative abstract art of four Northwest African American artists. The exhibit features the work of Vincent Keele, Shantell Jackson, Lo Mar Metoyer and Yeggy Michael.
Admission: adult, $10; youth (4-18), $5; children (3 and under), free. Open Wednesday-Saturday.
(2) Museum of Glass
Through June 18
You may have seen their beautiful works of glass; now you can hear the music that inspired the artists. Out of the Vault features the soundtracks that artists listen to while they create during the time-consuming, often tedious process of working in glass. Hear personal playlists of each of the artists in the exhibition, accessible through QR codes and available on Spotify.
On permanent display: 20th and 21st Century glass works.
Admission: adult, $18; senior/military/college student, $16; student (6-18), 10; child (5 and under), free. Prices can vary due to gallery changes and/or visiting artist residencies. Admission is free from 5-8 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. Open Wednesday-Sunday.
(3) Washington State History Museum (AAA Discount of 15% on two adult admissions)
Fine Lines: Cartoons from the WSHS Collections
Through June 11
Tickle your funny bone with cartoons and illustrations from the Washington State Historical Society’s collections, many of which have never been shown in a gallery setting. Dating from the early 1900s, the cartoons still are relevant today.
On permanent display: Northwest history artifacts; WW II Japanese Internment gallery; model railroad
Admission: adult, $14; senior/student/military, $11; child 5 and under, free. Admission is free on the third Thursday of every month. Open Thursday-Sunday.
(4) Whatcom Museum, Old City Hall
There Was a Time: Whimsical Relics & Eclectic Images
Through May 21
Showcases quirky items from the history collection and photo archives that rarely see the light of day. Interpret what these objects tell us about our shared sense of place, the past and ultimately ourselves.
On permanent display: 19th Century to contemporary artwork; Pacific Northwest history and Indigenous cultures; historical photos.
Admission: general, $10; youth (6-17)/students/military/seniors, $8; children (2-5), $5; children under 2, free. Open Wednesday-Saturday.
(5) Yakima Valley Museum
Showcases the spectacular fashion designs from Carolyn Schactler, a retired professor of apparel design at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. Some 20 original creations will be on display, 11 of which stand on motorized platforms and rotate slowly, allowing the visitor to inspect every stitch.
On permanent display: agricultural equipment, apple box labels, curiosities, costumes and more.
Admission: adults $8, seniors $6; children 6-18, $5; students, $6; families, $18; children 5 and under, free. Open Tuesday-Saturday.
( 6) Portland Art Museum
Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe
Through May 14
Introduces new generations to one of the 20th century’s most innovative Native American painters. Oscar Howe (1915–1983) committed his artistic career to the preservation, relevance and ongoing expression of his Yanktonai Dakota culture.
On permanent display: Art from around the world; graphic art; photography; silver objects
Admission: adults, $25; seniors and college students, $22; children (17 and under) and veterans/active-duty military, free. Open Wednesday-Sunday.
Several Pacific Northwest museums also launched new exhibitions around February in conjunction with Black History Month; however, you still have time to see the following exhibits:
(7) Museum of History & Industry, Seattle
From the Ground Up: Black Architects and Design
Through April 30
Celebrates the enduring innovation and impact of Black architects across the United States. This traveling exhibit highlights individual architects and designers from the late 1800s to today. Also, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. on Feb. 15, the museum will host “History Café: Paying Tribute to Seattle’s Black Landmarks and their Namesakes.” Open daily.
(8) Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle
Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop
Through Jan. 7, 2024
Examines the evolution of hip-hop through 170 images of the most influential artists. Also, MoPOP’s permanent collection contains early rap battle fliers, Tupac Shakur manuscripts, Flavor magazines and costumes from Sha-Rock, The Notorious B.I.G and MF DOOM. Open daily except Wednesdays.
Read our Q&A on the hip-hop exhibit here.
(9) Washington State History Museum, Tacoma
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (permanent free digital exhibition)
Experience Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic visit to Seattle in 1961 through images, videos and oral histories. Open Thursday-Sunday.
(10) Buffalo Soldier Museum, Tacoma
See artifacts, documents and images exploring the African American experience and contributions in the U.S. military from 1866-1944. Open Wednesday and Saturday, or by appointment.
Travel Tip: Some public libraries offer free admission to museums. For example, Tacoma Public Library offers free passes to four local museums and two regional gardens; and the Seattle Public Library offers free passes to participating museums. Check with a library near you.
Road Trip Tips
Before you go: Get ready for your road trip with a AAA Membership. Get peace-of-mind on the road plus travel and insurance services and much more.
Save on hotels and rental cars: Unlock savings on hotels with a AAA membership. Plus, AAA members save up to 20% with Hertz.
Save on car insurance: AAA members save up to 8% on car insurance.
Get battery service: AAA Mobile Battery Service uses state-of-the-art technology to accurately diagnose battery-related problems. We’ll even replace your battery with a brand-new one if necessary, at a special member price.
Save with AAA member discounts: AAA membership gives you access to exclusive entertainment discounts nationwide.
—Compiled by Victor Whitman
—Top photo is of Oscar Howe’s “Sioux Woman Grooming.” Photo: Portland Art Museum