5 Must-See Museums In The Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest has been home to many talented artists, skillful craftspeople, and intelligent innovators over the years. If you want to learn more about the culture and history of this region, consider visiting some of the museums listed here. Whether you're interested in paintings, glass, or electronics, there's sure to be something that piques your interest. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Great Museums In Washington & Oregon

Organization Mission
Tacoma Art Museum Serve the diverse communities of the Northwest through its collection, exhibitions, and learning programs, emphasizing art and artists of the Northwest and the broader western region
Northwest African American Museum Spread knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of the histories, arts, and cultures of people of African descent for the enrichment of all
Museum of Glass Ignite creativity, fuel discovery, and enrich lives through glass and glassmaking
VintageTek Encourage the next generation of engineers by sharing knowledge and history and supporting STEM programs in the local community
Frye Museum Foster artistic inquiry and provide visitors with a rich experience

Ways To Engage In Lifelong Learning

  • Visit a museum
  • Read both fiction and non-fiction as often as you can
  • Teach others what you know
  • Explore new places
  • Start a creative project, like a vlog or podcast
  • Get a good desk for your home
  • Join a study group
  • Take a hike through nature
  • Listen to different types of music
  • Look up words you don't know in the dictionary

8 Great Movies That Feature Museums

  1. Night at the Museum (2006)
  2. Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre (2001)
  3. Horrors of the Black Museum (1959)
  4. The Da Vinci Code (2006)
  5. The Museum (2017)
  6. Tourist Trap (1979)
  7. Ocean's Eight (2018)
  8. Museum Hours (2012)

The Case For Museums

In Depth

Great museums have something for everyone, no matter their age, background, or income level. The five institutions listed here, in no particular order, have collections, programs, and events that cater to all members of their communities as well as tourists passing through. Whether you live in the Pacific Northwest or are planning a trip there soon, these venues are certainly worth checking out.

First up, at #1, we have the Tacoma Art Museum, which strives to serve the diverse people of the area by highlighting art and artists from the Northwest. Its events and programs not only serve aspiring painters and illustrators, but the community as a whole. During its weekly Neighborhood Nights, admission is free and the public can watch performances and demonstrations, look at installations, and even create works of their own.

Rotating exhibitions and collections come through regularly, so there's always something new to see for repeat guests. Those with children can take advantage of TAM Studio, which is full of hands-on activities and well-stocked with art supplies, so creators of all ages can connect, explore, create, and read together. If you want to give back, consider volunteering either by doing administrative work, leading tours, maintaining the studio, or pitching in during events.

Rotating exhibitions and collections come through regularly, so there's always something new to see for repeat guests.

Coming in at #2 is the Northwest African American Museum, which aims to spread knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of the contributions made by people of African descent. Visitors can learn the story of how African Americans first arrived in the region as slaves, and how more recent immigrants came from places like Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia. Exhibitions include not only works of visual art, but also explorations of the legacies of black individuals and groups throughout American history.

The venue offers docent-guided tours to school groups that are interactive and encourage inquiry, so that kids can get an in-depth understanding of the history and culture of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Teenagers with an interest in art can join the Youth Curators Program, where they are introduced to the practices of museum work through hands-on projects that are publicly displayed at NAAM. If you want to support these programs and more, you can give a donation online, or become a member.

In the #3 spot, we have the Museum of Glass. Since it opened in 2002, it has given guests the opportunity not only to look at stunning works of art, but to watch the process behind them as well. Demonstrations take place every day the museum is open, featuring both world-renowned artists and up-and-comers. If guests are inspired to create their own glass objects, they can sign up for workshops that teach everything from fusing and mosaics to glassblowing.

Demonstrations take place every day the museum is open, featuring both world-renowned artists and up-and-comers.

MOG hosts a number of annual events, including Bird Lovers' Weekend, where master craftspeople create gorgeous avian sculptures, and the holiday-themed Fire and Ice Festival, which offers fun activities to both children and adults. There are also plenty of artist talks and discussions that take place throughout the year. You can show your support by making a tax-deductible contribution, or buying something from its shop.

For #4, we have VintageTek, which is dedicated to teaching the history of Tektronix, a company that played a significant role in the growth of the technology industry in the Portland area. Exhibits display working Tektronix products that enabled generations of scientists, engineers, and technicians to create new things. If you can't come in person, you can still explore the collection online, by looking at high-res pictures and descriptions of dozens of pieces of equipment.

Tours are offered to people young and old, and have been given to everyone from schoolchildren to residents of a local senior center. These tours, as well as general admission and events, are all free to the public. If you want to help support these efforts, you can donate money or Tektronix instruments, or buy something from the organization's online store.

These tours, as well as general admission and events, are all free to the public.

Finally, at #5, we have the Frye Museum. Art enthusiasts Charles and Emma Frye displayed paintings both privately and publicly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When they died, they gifted their collection to the people of Seattle. This Founding Collection was the starting point for the museum, which has continued to obtain more works over the years, as well as host a number of rotating exhibitions.

Artists of all ages and levels can participate in classes and workshops, including Mindfulness Meditation, which teaches students to be thoughtful with their work as well as all aspects of life, and Path with Art, a collaboration with a local nonprofit that offers studio classes to low-income adults recovering from homelessness, addiction, and other trauma. If you want to give back, see if your employer offers a matching gift, which can double or triple the impact of your donation, or consider becoming a member.