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New Washington Museum Exhibits: Summer and Fall 2023

Enjoy special and limited-time exhibitions throughout Washington state

Washington state is blessed with excellent museums, and many of these will open temporary and traveling shows, or debut permanent exhibitions in summer and fall 2023.

If you’re looking to beat the heat or for something fun to do on a free day, why not spend time in one of these great spaces?

Here are just some of the new Washington museum exhibits, including several with AAA Washington member discounts. Be sure to ask about the AAA member discount at The Museum of Flight in Seattle; the Washington State History Museum and LeMay America’s Car Museum in Tacoma; and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane.

Seattle

The Museum of Flight

ART+FLIGHT

June 10-Jan. 7

The Museum of Flight departs from its traditional focus on aviation history with a community-wide celebration that connects the region’s vibrant art scene with its rich aerospace history. See artwork in all mediums, with mural painting, music, dance, family activities and guest speakers. Regular community events will also be held through Jan. 7.

The Museum of Flight's Art + Flight exhibit shows many artists including this painting, Assemblage, 2023, a full view of the hand-painted mural by Joe Nix.
The Museum of Flight’s Art + Flight exhibit shows many artists including this painting, Assemblage, 2023, a full view of the hand-painted mural by Joe Nix. Photo: The Museum of Flight
  • Open daily
  • Admission: Adults, $26; senior, $22; youth, $18; children 4 and under, free. 
  • Admission is free between 5-9 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month.
  • AAA members receive a $2 discount off regular admission prices.
  • Address: 9404 E. Marginal Way South

Museum of Museums

Sea of Vapors

June 2-Dec. 31

See Seattle-based artist Emily Counts’ imaginative installation of female figures who travel by boat through a dream space to meet their venerated Queen. Each voyager’s physical features are playfully reimagined with abstract shapes, vibrant colors and rich textures. Counts, a Seattle native whose work has been exhibited nationally, creates ceramic and mixed media sculptures that draw on craft traditions.

Hoping to see new Washington museum exhibits on a trip to Seattle? Experience "Sea of Vapors," an immersive installation by ceramicist Emily Counts, in The True Space at Museum of Museums.
Hoping to see new Washington museum exhibits on a trip to Seattle? Experience “Sea of Vapors,” an immersive installation by ceramicist Emily Counts, in The True Space at Museum of Museums. Photo: Emily Counts
  • Open Thursday-Sunday (regular museum hours resume June 3)
  • Admission: $23.21 (includes fees)
  • Address: 900 Boylston Ave. Seattle

Tip: Get ready for your road trip to new Washington museum exhibits with a AAA Membership. Get peace-of-mind on the road plus member discounts on hotels, rental cars, movie tickets and more.

Frye Art Museum: Eight New Works

A Living Legacy: Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary Art

June 3-Sept. 17

To mark Frye’s 70th anniversary, this free museum will display for the first time eight new works acquired in 2022. These range from altered photographs to mixed media, and are by Amoako Boafo, Sky Hopinka, Gisela McDaniel, Bony Ramirez, Tschabalala Self, Ann Leda Shapiro and Sadie Wechsler.  The museum continues its efforts to obtain works that offer a different perspective than Frye’s founding collection of 19th and 20th century European and American art.

Seattle's Frye Museum will display its latest acquisitions starting in June 2023, including Gisela McDaniel's Mangahufo' I famaguon.
Seattle’s Frye Museum will display its latest acquisitions starting in June 2023. Photo: Gisela McDaniel. Mangahufo’ I famaguon (detail), 2021. Oil on panel, found object, sound. 55 1/4 x 40 x 5 1/2 in. Frye Art Museum, Purchased with funds provided by Monica and Rick Segal, 2022.006 

Kelly Akashi: Formations

June 17-Sept. 10

See the innovative art of Los Angeles’ native Kelly Akashi who works in glass, wax and bronze to create shapes bearing the imprint of her breath and touch. This is the largest exhibition of the artist’s work to date.

Rafael Soldi: Soft Boy

Oct. 7-Jan. 7

The Seattle-based artist Rafael Soldi’s first solo museum exhibition on the West Coast builds on his experience as a queer youth in Peru, bringing together three recent projects that explore gender constructions and masculinity in Latin American society.. The core of the exhibition is the video Soft Boy (2023), which follows a group of uniformed, school-aged teens as they perform a series of rituals drawn from the artist’s memories of his days at an all-boys Catholic school.

  • Open Wednesday-Sunday
  • Admission: Free to all visitors
  • Address: 704 Terry Ave. Seattle

Burke Museum

We Are Puget Sound

June 3-Dec. 31

Based on the book “We are Puget Sound: Discovering and recovering the Salish Sea,” this exhibit draws on the Burke’s extensive collection to spotlight efforts to protect the Salish Sea region.  Experience the unique culture and wildlife ranging from resident orcas and Chinook salmon to community gardens and the annual Canoe Journey, plus hear stories from scientists, tribal members and advocates.

The Seattle area has a multitude of new museum exhibits in 2023. Visitors and locals alike won't want to miss the new exhibition "We Are Puget Sound" through Dec. 31 at The Burke Museum.
There are a multitude of new Washington museum exhibits in 2023. Visitors and locals alike won’t want to miss the new exhibition “We Are Puget Sound” through Dec. 31 at The Burke Museum. Photo: Burke Museum
  • Open Tuesday-Sunday
  • Admission: adults, $22; seniors, $20; youth/student; $14; children 3 and under, free. University of Washington students, faculty and staff are free
  • Burke Museum is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of the month
  • Address: 4303 Memorial Way NE, Seattle

Museum of History & Industry

25 Years of the Neddy Awards

June 4-Sept. 5

See the art created over the past 25 years by recipients of the Neddy Artist Award, which was begun to honor Seattle artist and teacher Ned Behnke (1948-1989). The exhibition will display works from some of the most significant Northwest visual artists of the last quarter century. The Neddy Artist Awards provide two gifts of $25,000 and six of $2,000 to visual artists based in the Puget Sound region every year.

The Museum of History & Industry in Seattle will showcase the work of the past quarter century's Neddy Artist Award winners, inspired by the work of the late Seattle artist Ned Behnke, which includes this 1980 painting "The Table with the Mirror."
The Museum of History & Industry in Seattle will showcase the work of the past quarter century’s Neddy Artist Award winners, inspired by the work of the late Seattle artist Ned Behnke, which includes this 1980 painting “The Table with the Mirror.” Photo: Winifred Westergard
  • Open daily
  • Admission: adults, $22; seniors, $18; students and military, $17; youth 14 and under, free with chaperone
  • Address: 860 Terry Ave N. Seattle

Seattle Art Museum

Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks

July 13–Sept. 13

See more than 30 works created by the Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo, known for his distinctive portraits. The 39-year-old artist paints the faces and bodies of his subjects in bold colors with his fingertips, bringing out the subject’s emotions. In describing his portraits, Boafo has said: “When I’m making paintings, I want the characters to be strong, I want them to be free, I want them to be independent, I want them to be unapologetic.”

See more than 30 works by artist Amoako Boafo (pictured) at the Seattle Art Museum. Photo: Francis Kokoroko
See more than 30 works by artist Amoako Boafo (pictured) at the Seattle Art Museum in summer 2023. Photo: Francis Kokoroko

Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence

Oct. 19-Jan. 21

See more than 100 works from Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), one of the world’s most influential artists. The exhibition includes woodblock prints, paintings and illustrated books from the collection of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The show also includes 200 works by Hokusai’s teachers, students, rivals and admirers.  

  • Open Wednesday-Sunday
  • Admission: Adults, $29.99; seniors/military, $24.99; students/teens, $19.99; children 14 and under, free. (These prices include a $3 discount for booking online in advance.)
  • Admission is free to everyone on the first Thursday of the month.
  • People 65 and older pay a special discounted rate of $5 on the first Friday of every month.
  • Address: 1300 First Ave. Seattle

Seattle Asian Art Museum

Renegade Edo and Paris: Japanese Prints and Toulouse-Lautrec

July 21-Dec. 3

This exhibit draws on Seattle Art Museum’s 19th century Japanese print collection to illustrate its renegade spirit, as well as its influence on the French artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) and his contemporaries in Paris. See roughly 90 works from the museum’s collection and private holdings of Toulouse-Lautrec.

Looking for new Washington museum exhibits that open in summer 2023? The Seattle Asian Art Museum will showcase numerous 19th century Japanese prints beginning in July. Pictured is the work "Yoshida on the Tokaido" by Katsushika Hokusai.
Looking for new Washington museum exhibits that open in summer 2023? The Seattle Asian Art Museum will showcase numerous 19th century Japanese prints beginning in July. Pictured is the work “Yoshida on the Tokaido” by Katsushika Hokusai. Photo: Seattle Asian Art Museum
  • Open Friday-Sunday
  • Admission: Adults, $14.99; seniors/military, $12.99; students/teens, $9.99; children under 14, free (These prices include a $3 discount for booking online in advance.)
  • Admission is free to everyone on the last Friday of the month.
  • Address: 1400 East Prospect Street, Volunteer Park, Seattle

Tip: Many area museums offer discounts for booking ahead online. Several museums in the Seattle-Tacoma area also participate in the library pass program that offers library card holders free admission. Also, several museums in Washington state are in the Museums for All program, which offers free or discounted admission for families receiving food assistance.

Tacoma

LeMay America’s Car Museum

75 Years of Porsche

Through January  

Porsche celebrates its 75-year anniversary this year, and this exhibition puts the company’s engineering excellence on display. See some of the most significant and iconic Porsche models to date over its seven decades of car making.

LeMay America's Car Museum in Tacoma will showcase 75 Years of Porsche cars in 2023. Photo: LeMay–America’s Car Museum
LeMay America’s Car Museum in Tacoma will showcase 75 Years of Porsche cars in 2023. Photo: LeMay–America’s Car Museum
  • Open Thursday-Monday
  • Admission: adults, $22; seniors and military/veterans, $20; youth, $16; children 4 and under, free
  • AAA members receive a 10% discount on adult admission
  • Address: 2702 East D St. Tacoma

Tip: Before a trip to see Washington museum exhibits, check out all the ways you can save as a AAA Washington member. AAA discounts are available on entertainment, fuel, motels and more. Nationally, AAA members who used member discounts saved on average $199 in 2022, which is more than the yearly price of a premium membership.

Washington State History Museum: Three New Exhibits

End of the Line: The 150th Anniversary of the Northern Pacific Railroad in Tacoma

June 24-Jan. 1

This exhibition focuses on the year 1873 when Tacoma was selected as the end of the line for the Northern Pacific Railroad transcontinental railway. Drawing on original documents, objects and photographs, the exhibit explores the period from the original telegram that announced the decision to the final spike that was driven through on Dec. 16, 1873.

The new Washington museum exhibit "End of the Line" at the Washington State History Museum includes this 1889 image of the Northern Pacific Railroad headquarters and terminus at Commencement Bay in Tacoma.
“End of the Line” at the Washington State History Museum includes this 1889 image of the Northern Pacific Railroad headquarters and terminus at Commencement Bay in Tacoma. It’s one of many new Washington museum exhibits in 2023. Photo: Washington State History Museum

The Ceramics of Kenneth D. Stevens

June 24-Jan. 1

See the work of the internationally acclaimed ceramicist Ken Stevens, who used scientific methods and a knowledge of Japanese forms to create his signature style. A long-time Art Department faculty member at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Stevens played an important role in forging cultural and artistic relationships between artists in Washington state and Japan, as well as inspired numerous notable ceramicists. 

In the Spirit Contemporary Native Arts 2023

July 22-Sept. 24

Displays a wide variety of Native American arts, including textiles, paintings, carvings, beadwork, mixed media, basketry, and digital works. Each work is accompanied by the artist’s statement. Vote in the gallery for your favorites; the People’s Choice Awards will be announced at the end of the exhibition. Note that this will be the museum’s featured exhibition through the summer and early fall.

  • Open: Tuesday-Sunday
  • Admission: adults, $14; seniors and students, $11; children, 5 and under, free.
  • The museum is free 3-8 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month.
  • AAA Washington members get a 15% discount on up to two adult tickets.
  • Address: 1911 Pacific Ave. Tacoma

Tacoma Art Museum: Two New Exhibits

Camille Patha: Passion Pleasure Power

Through Sept. 3

See more than 50 new works from Seattle-based painter Camille Patha, a fixture on the Northwest arts scene since the 1960s. In many of the paintings you will not see recognizable people or objects; the focus is rather on what you can’t normally see, like moods, feelings and emotions. The exhibition also features Camille in Color, a short film directed and edited by Seattle-based filmmaker David Wild that explores Patha’s passion for painting.

Tacoma Art Museum will display 50 works by Seattle-based painter Camille Patha through Sept. 3, as well as "Camille in Color," a film directed by David Wild and produced by Tacoma Art Museum.
Tacoma Art Museum will display 50 works by Seattle-based painter Camille Patha through Sept. 3, as well as “Camille in Color,” a film directed by David Wild and produced by Tacoma Art Museum. Photo: Tacoma Art Museum

The Current: Saying the Quiet Parts Out Loud

Through Oct. 15

The exhibition features work from The Current’s 2022 awardee Darrell McKinney, ranging from installation work to sculpture and design. To complement the artwork, the gallery’s walls are brightly painted in pinks, purples and oranges that envelop visitors in a warm, inviting space.

  • Open Wednesday-Sunday
  • Admission: adults, $18; seniors, $15; youth ages 6-18, $10; military, $15; children age 5 and under, free
  • The museum is free to everyone from 5-8 p.m. every Thursday
  • The museum offers free year-round admission to active duty military, reservists, veterans and their families
  • Address: 1701 Pacific Ave. Tacoma

Tip: Did you know you can save on hotels in Washington and across the country with your AAA membership? Find member deals here

Museum of Glass

A Two-Way Mirror

Opens Oct. 21

See an exhibition of contemporary Black artists from the U.S., Puerto Rico and Britain. Each artist uses glass to reflect the thoughts and bodies of people who have historically been exploited. Glass was once shut off as a medium for marginalized people due to its cost. As the production of glass has become more accessible, the medium has become more open to different voices.

Starting in October, see glass works at the Museum of Glass by contemporary Black artists, including these works by Nigerian artist Layo Bright.
Searching for new Washington museum exhibits in fall 2023? Starting in October, see glass works at the Museum of Glass by contemporary Black artists, including these works by Nigerian artist Layo Bright. Photo: Museum of Glass
  • Open Wednesday-Sunday
  • Admission: adults, $18; seniors, $16; youth, $10; children 5 and under, free. (Tickets may vary depending on gallery changes and visiting artists.)
  • Admission is free to everyone from 5-8 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month
  • Address: 1801 Dock St. Tacoma

Tip: Planning on traveling to new Washington museum exhibits? Save on hotels with your AAA membership.

North of Seattle

Cascadia Art Museum: Two New Exhibits

Urban Scenes of Seattle: 1910-1960

Through Jan. 7

This exhibition illustrates Seattle’s changing urban environment over a 50-year span as depicted by several of Washington state’s finest artists, including Roi Partridge, Paul Morgan Gustin, Kenjiro Nomura, Kamekichi Tokita, Salvador Gonzalez, Yvonne Twining Humber, Blanche Morgan Losey and several mid-century watercolors by Andrew Chinn.

See an exhibition of urban scenes that display Seattle's changing landscape, including this 1962 watercolor "The Pacific Science Center Under Construction" by Andrew Chinn (1915-96), at the Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds.
See an exhibition of urban scenes that display Seattle’s changing landscape, including this 1962 watercolor “The Pacific Science Center Under Construction” by Andrew Chinn, at the Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds. It’s one of many new Washington museum exhibits opening across the Evergreen State in 2023. Photo: Cascadia Art Museum

Native American Modern: Shared Expressions in Northwest Art

July 27–Oct. 29

This exhibition focuses on the art of Julius “Land Elk” Twohy (Two-vy-nah-auche) (1902–1986) and his local contemporaries. One of the region’s earlier modernists, Twohy was best known for his paintings and prints created in Seattle through the Federal Art Projects of the 1930’s and 40’s.

  • Open Wednesday-Sunday
  • Admission: adults, $12; seniors, $9; children and youth to age 18, free; students, free
  • Address: 190 Sunset Ave. S., #E, Edmonds

Tip: Got an old car battery? Get battery service before your road trip. 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.

Whatcom Museum: Two New Exhibits

Learning to Look

Through Dec. 31, 2024, in Old City Hall

This extended exhibition challenges visitors to appreciate the art that is all around us. Various works from the museum’s collection are arranged in the gallery into seven core elements — line, shape, form, texture, value, space and color — with question prompts and interactive activities that can help visitors learn to see.

See the unique photos by California-based artist and Iranian immigrant Mina Afshari in her debut exhibit at Whatcom Museum in Bellingham.
See the unique photos by California-based artist and Iranian immigrant Mina Afshari in her debut exhibit at Whatcom Museum in Bellingham. This not-to-be-missed exhibit is one of several new Washington museum exhibits north of Seattle. Photo: Whatcom Museum

Let It Shine: Photographs by Mina Afshari

June 24-Oct. 29 in the Lightcatcher Building

California-based artist Mina Afshari, a young Iranian immigrant, took photos in her Carmel, California, apartment using a single light source — a window — to light up a farmer’s market produce and flowers. A contrast between darkness and light runs through the photos, suggesting Afshari’s personal journey to escape an oppressive regime and family trauma for a new life in the United States. This is Afshari’s debut exhibit at a museum.

  • Open Wednesday-Sunday
  • Admission: adults, $10; seniors, youth, students, military, $8; children 2-5, $5; children under 2, free
  • Address: 121 Prospect Street (Old City Hall); 250 Flora Street (Lightcatcher building), Bellingham

Tip: Planning on road tripping between new Washington museum exhibits? Why not rent an electric car? AAA members can save up to 35% off base rates on EV rentals with Hertz.

Eastern Washington

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture: Three New Exhibits

Frank S. Matsura: Portraits from the Borderland

Through Nov. 26

See photographs from Frank Sakae Matsura (1873-1913) that reveal Syilx (Okanogan) tribal communities adapting to a changing time. Matsura arrived in the U.S. from Japan about 1901, settling briefly in Seattle before making Okanogan County his home. His body of work includes some of the most visually powerful and nuanced images of Indigenous people from the era.

Planning a road trip to one or more Washington museum exhibits? See the work of Pakistan-born artist Humaira Abid at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane through Aug. 6. (AAA Washington members get a discount.) Pictured is the 2017 work, "This World Is Beautiful and Dangerous Too."
Planning a road trip to one or more Washington museum exhibits? See the work of Pakistan-born artist Humaira Abid at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane through Aug. 6. (AAA Washington members get a discount.) Pictured is the 2017 work, “This World Is Beautiful and Dangerous Too.” Photo: Adeel Ahmed

Humaira Abid: Searching for Home

Through Aug. 6

Features the artwork of Seattle-based, Pakistan-born artist, Humaira Abid, who specializes in woodcarving. This exhibit presents a human-scale look at the refugee crisis, focusing on the plight of women and girls. The works depict a series of objects and personal items that have been left behind or are lost mid-flight. In creating these works, Abid spent months interviewing refugee women who have resettled in the Pacific Northwest and Pakistan from Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and other nations.

Cowboy Says Wow!: Tanden Launder

July 21-Aug. 25

The Wild West comes alive in this collection of western inspired art by multidisciplinary North Idaho artist Tanden Launder, who draws upon his childhood love of biographies of people like Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull. He uses those books as collage material for his pieces, creating “visual biographies.” There will be an artist’s reception on July 10.

  • Open Tuesday-Sunday
  • Admission: adults, $12; seniors and college students, $10; children, $7; children 5 and under, free
  • AAA members get $1 off regular admissions with the Show Us Your Card and Save Program with walk-in tickets
  • Address: 2316 West First Ave. Spokane

Tip: Gas is still expensive, but AAA Washington members can save 30 cents per gallon on their first fill-up by signing up with Shell’s Fuel Rewards program, then 5 cents per gallon on every fill-up afterwards.

Maryhill Museum of Art: Two New Exhibits

The Hound of Heaven

Through Nov. 15

See 23 large paintings by the American painter R.H. Ives Gammell that incorporate symbols drawn from C.G. Jung, ancient and medieval cultures, myths and the bible. The paintings date from World War II to 1956 and were inspired by a mystical/religious verse poem by English poet Francis Thompson (1859-1907). The works were last displayed together at Maryhill Museum of Art a decade ago.

Nocturnes

Through Nov. 15

This exhibition features an eclectic mix of nighttime scenes. Featured works include “Sailing Ships, Nantucket Light” by Edward Moran, “The Funeral of Victor Hugo” by Alfred Phillipe Roll, multiple nighttime scenes of Portland streets by Guy Gilray and Michael Flohr, and a large diptych by Okanagan/Sinixt artist Joe Feddersen.

  • Open daily through Nov. 15. (Closed during the winter).
  • Admission: adult, $12; senior, $10; college student, $9; youth, $5; children 6 and under, free
  • Address: 35 Maryhill Museum Drive, Goldendale

Tip: There are countless ways to save with AAA member discounts. AAA membership gives you access to exclusive entertainment discounts nationwide.

Yakima Valley Museum: Three New Exhibits

¡Quinceañera!

June-January

See spectacular dresses, tiaras, bouquets, shoes and other items given by families in celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday. The quinceañera is both a religious and a social event that emphasizes the importance of family and society in the life of a young woman, marking her passage from girlhood to womanhood.

Yakima Valley Museum is opening the permanent exhibit "Land of Joy and Sorrow" in June 2023. It's one of several new Washington museum exhibits. Photo: Yakima Valley Museum
Yakima Valley Museum is opening the permanent exhibit “Land of Joy and Sorrow” in June. Photo: Yakima Valley Museum

Land of Joy and Sorrow

Permanent exhibit after June opening

This new permanent exhibit focuses on the mid-20th century Japanese experience in the Yakima Valley, including the families who were displaced from their homes and interred in camps during World War II. The exhibit features objects, photos and stories of the Japanese families who settled in the area. Includes an audio tour in English and Spanish.

Portraits in Red

Opens in October

This exhibition spotlights the national problem of domestic violence in Indigenous communities, with 40 original paintings of missing or murdered Indigenous women by Nayana LaFond, herself a survivor of domestic violence and an artist of Anishinaabe, Abenaki and Mi’kmaq descent in Massachusetts. Roughly half of the portraits have a connection to the Pacific Northwest.

  • Open Tuesday-Saturday
  • Admission: adults, $8; seniors and students, $6; children 6-18; $5; children 5 and under, free
  • Address: 2105 Tieton Dr. Yakima

Tip: Planning on visiting one or more Washington museum exhibits in 2023? Don’t forget to ask about AAA member discounts at The Museum of Flight in Seattle; the Washington State History Museum and LeMay America’s Car Museum in Tacoma; and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane.

—Compiled by AAA Washington staff

—Top photo: Museum of Flight

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