Tacoma’s World-Class Museums are Re-Opening with New Exhibitions

Written and Released By The Tacoma Museum District

Tacoma, WA – After a year (more or less) of closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tacoma’s Museum District is springing back to life with a bevy of new exhibitions and experiences for visitors. Each museum is implementing best practices for public health, including social distancing, one-way gallery paths, increased cleaning throughout the day, bolstered air filtration systems, and occupancy limits per the Office of the Governor, among other measures. Visitors will be required to wear masks or face coverings. With these protocols in place, visitors can feel welcome to dive into the culture again.

“We are really happy to be at the point of safely reopening and welcoming our community again,” said Jennifer Kilmer, Washington State Historical Society’s director. “Stimulating exhibitions, cultural engagement and education are critical nutrients to feed resilience as folks begin to recover from the challenges of the past year. We know people are eager to get out and enjoy new spaces and opportunities to learn and connect, and the museums are ready to fill those needs.”

Some of the museums will initially operate with reduced schedules. Some will also continue to offer online programs and all offer online educational resources. Check each museum’s website for hours and admissions information before you go, as each organization’s situation can change.

Brent Mason, executive director at the Foss Waterway Seaport, shared similar thoughts about the role of museums in the community right now. “Museums play a critical role in restoring our sense of progress and community by bringing us together virtually and physically to learn about art, culture, history and the natural world around us, about one another and our diverse cultures and backgrounds, through experiences that are transporting, enriching, and, especially important at this time, joyful.”

With spring around the corner it’s a great time to revitalize your mind and spark your imagination by visiting these six amazing museums. See what’s new and reconnect with culture and community. Planned opening dates, hours, and websites for the museums are listed below:

Washington State History Museum

Opens Friday, April 2, 2021.

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM; and every Third Thursday, 10:00 AM-8:00 PM with free admission from 3:00-8:00 PM.

Website: www.WashingtonHistory.org

Reopening Highlight: Just the Ticket! Hop aboard for a journey through the history of railroad passenger travel in Washington. Learn the how, why, when and where passengers rode the rails through the Evergreen State. And don’t miss the state’s largest public model railroad display while you’re visiting!

Museum of Glass

Opens Friday, April 2 for a Members-Only Day, and open to all starting Saturday, April 3, 2021.

Hours: Friday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

Website: www.MuseumOfGlass.org

Reopening Highlight: Museum of Glass is excited to welcome the Hot Shop Team back to the Cone, and reopen with two new exhibitions, Counterparts: Glass + Art Elements and René Lalique: Art Deco Gems from the Steven and Roslyn Shulman Collection. Details on Family Days, select educational opportunities, and the Museum Store will be available on the MOG website.

America’s Car Museum

Opens Friday, April 2, 2021

Hours: Friday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM, last entry at 4:30PM

Website: www.AmericasCarMuseum.org

Reopening highlight: Let ’Zoom’ have a different meaning as you leave the office behind and  fill up on LeMay – America’s Car Museum’s high octane exhibits! Explore everything from the supercars of Steve Saleen to the 1918 Liberty Cadillac 1257X, a special car documented in the Library of Congress and featured in the National Register for Historic Vehicles! Fuel up your family fun and drive over to ACM for an adventure we’re sure will have you pushing the accelerator to keep going!

Children’s Museum of Tacoma

Opens Monday, April 12, 2021

Hours: Limited daily sessions by reservation only. For more information about hours and how to make a reservation, see https://playtacoma.org.

Website: https://playtacoma.org

Reopening Highlight: The downtown Children’s Museum of Tacoma will reopen with a fantastical new climber that allows for big body movement and inspires imaginative play! Also announcing the grand opening of the Children’s Museum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Saturday, April 24, 2021.

Tacoma Art Museum

Opens Friday, April 16, 2021

Hours: Friday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

Website: www.TacomaArtMuseum.org

Reopening Highlight: Painting Deconstructed: Selections from the Northwest CollectionTake a deep dive into the art of painting by focusing on core components that come together to create a finished image.

Foss Waterway Seaport

Opens Thursday, June 3, 2021

Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 10:00 AM–4:00 PM, and every Third Thursday 10:00 AM-4:00 PM with free admission from 4:00-8:00 PM.

Website: https://fosswaterwayseaport.org

Reopening Highlight: Private tours available of our brand new Heritage Boat Shop, plus explore our newly refreshed Rails to Sails exhibit.

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Image credit: Photo by Michael Simmons. The Chihuly Bridge of Glass provides a stunning walkway linking the museums on Pacific Avenue with the museums along Thea Foss Waterway. Access the bridge on the west side at the plaza outside of the Washington State History Museum, and on the east side atop the graceful staircase that wraps around the landmark cone at the Museum of Glass.

About The Tacoma Museum District
The Tacoma Museum District is one of the jewels of the South Sound! Visit six premier museums within walking distance to each other (or catch the convenient and free Link light rail). Each museum shares a different aspect of Pacific Northwest arts and culture and they work together to share the best of Tacoma as a destination.

Where are the museums? Along Pacific Avenue you’ll find the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, the Tacoma Art Museum, and just past Historic Union station, the Washington State History Museum. From the History Museum, take the pedestrian Bridge of Glass right to the Museum of Glass. Stroll along Thea Foss Waterway to reach the Foss Waterway Seaport. Catch the Link on Pacific Ave for a quick ride over toward America’s Car Museum. See each museum’s website for address and location details.

 

Tacoma Museum District to Reopen to the Public Beginning September 25

After being given the option to reopen by Governor Inslee last month, the museums of the Tacoma Museum District – Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, LeMay – America’s Car Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport, and Children’s Museum of Tacoma – will begin opening their doors to the public starting September 25, 2020.

The reopening timelines, days of operation, and onsite protocols will vary from museum to museum, based on staffing and exhibit configurations. The museums recommend purchasing tickets online in advance. Visitors are encouraged to check each museum’s website for specifics before visiting.

Throughout the pandemic, the directors of the individual institutions have consulted with local experts and worked in concert to monitor local COVID-19 transmission rates and trends. The decision to reopen comes after thoughtful consideration for the safety of guests, staff, and volunteers, and in accordance with specific protocols established by Washington State, the Department of Labor & Industries, and the Department of Health. Among these protocols are universal mask-wearing, the addition of sanitizing stations throughout the facilities, one-way routes through galleries, monitored social distancing between groups, reduced occupancy, and enhanced cleaning schedules. Each museum has also installed safety features and procedures specific to their individual building layout.

Initially, some venues will operate with reduced schedules:

Museum of Glass: Opening Sept. 25; operating hours Friday through Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm

LeMay – America’s Car Museum: Opening Sept. 25; operating hours Friday through Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm

Washington State Historical Society: Opening date to be announced soon. Operating hours will be Tuesday through Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm with seniors-only hours Tuesdays 10 am to 12 pm (ages 65+). Initially, the Great Hall of Washington History (third floor) will be open and fifth floor galleries will remain closed for installation of new exhibitions; admission will be half price during this time. Tickets may be purchased online or using credit/debit card at the museum (cash will not be accepted).

Tacoma Art Museum: Opening Oct. 9; operating hours Friday through Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm

Foss Waterway Seaport: Opening Oct. 16; operating hours Fridays from 3 pm to 7 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm, and Sundays from noon to 4 pm

Children’s Museum of Tacoma: Will remain closed until 2021 due to the hands-on, interactive nature of the galleries. Greentrike, the museum’s parent company, will continue to provide Distance Learning Camps and licensed child care for our community’s youngest children.

You can read the governor’s COVID-19 requirements for museums here: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19%20Phase%202%20and%203%20Museums%20Guidance.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

You can find more information at the Tacoma Museum District’s Facebook page (@TacomaMuseums)and each museum’s website (www.WashingtonHistory.org, www.TacomaArtMuseum.org,www.MuseumofGlass.org, www.AmericasCarMuseum.org, https://fosswaterwayseaport.org/, and https://playtacoma.org). The museum teams look forward to seeing you again.

When Will Tacoma Museum District Reopen?

Earlier this week, the Tacoma Museum District (TMD), which includes the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Art Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, and LeMay – America’s Car Museum, and Museum of Glass, collectively addressed plans for reopening.

For now, all five organizations have chosen to stay “paused” and continue to monitor local conditions on a daily basis. While the buildings are closed, many staff are working remotely to provide enriching online presentations and activities, as well as providing extensive downloadable learning materials to engage with history, arts, and culture from home.

Follow the Tacoma Museum District Facebook page for district updates, and of course, check the MOG site for details on our plans.

Museum of Glass Offers Free Admission to Active-Duty Military and their Families!

By Bonnie Wright, Curator of Education and Community Engagement

Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums is a national appreciation program, organized by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and over 2,000 museums across the country, instituted to thank our military families for their service and to share with them America’s museums.

Since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered FREE admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Tacoma museums, including Museum of Glass, are once again offering free admission as part of the program this summer.

Participating Tacoma museums:

Buffalo Soldiers Museum

Children’s Museum of Tacoma

Foss Waterway Seaport

Job Carr Cabin Museum

Museum of Glass

Tacoma Art Museum

Washington State Historical Society

This is a great opportunity for military families to experience exhibitions, artist demonstrations, family days, and hands-on crafts.

The complete list of museums participating is available at https://www.arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums. ID is required to receive free admission.

Thank you for your service!

Bonnie Wright is the Curator of Education and Community Engagement at Museum of Glass. A newcomer to the west coast, Bonnie can often be found exploring Tacoma, Seattle, and the region’s natural wonders.

Seattleite Goes South for the Spring

Seattleite recently paid a visit to Tacoma to discover what the City of Destiny has to offer residents of its neighbor to the north.

Seattleite

“Compared to Seattle (especially these days), the pace there feels significantly slower, the streets emptier, the buildings lower,” shares Corinne Whiting, Seattleite contributor.  “Seattleites might not think of Tacoma for a nearby adventure, but traveling just 45 minutes (traffic depending) can prove a refreshing respite from the routine and familiarity of home.”

Whiting took time to explore Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Harmon Brewing Co., and Hotel Murano for a well-rounded arts and craft brew South Sound experience.

For more about Seattleite‘s weekend wanderings in Tacoma, click here.