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Whatcom Museum of History & Art

121 Prospect Street
Bellingham, Washington

Phone: 360-676-6981

Statement of Purpose:

To collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret this region's art and cultural history; to provide cultural experiences resulting in personal growth, awareness and enrichment to all segments of the regional population; and to use exhibitions, programs and collections emphasizing the expressions of Northwest art and history.

Highlights & Collections:

The Museum campus is composed of four buildings: the main Museum building (Old City Hall), the Syre Education Center, the Whatcom Children's Museum and the Arco Exhibits Building. Old City Hall is a late Victorian-style building that was built in 1892.

The Museum features both permanent and changing exhibitions which attract an audience of all ages and interests. Permanent exhibitions feature birds of the Northwest, the logging industry, Northwest Coast and Alaskan First Nations, and Early Settlement and Victorian lifestyles.

The Museum offers several changing history exhibitions throughout the year which illustrate and interpret Northwest subjects. Temporary exhibitions also highlight a broad range of American and contemporary art, with an emphasis on contemporary regional art. The Museum's exhibitions, such as A Different War and Clearly Art, have travelled nationally.

The Whatcom Children's Museum features permanent and changing hands-on exhibitions, as well as education and enrichment programs.

Major Collections:

The Museum's permanent collection consists of history, ethnology, fine arts and ornithology. The Northwest First Nations Ethnography Collection includes carvings, masks, tools, garments and basketry. The History Collection is comprised of over 10,000 examples of garments, textiles, decorative arts, tools and Victorian furniture. The Fine Arts Collection emphasizes the work of contemporary Northwest artists and includes nearly 1,000 examples of painting, sculpture, photography and crafts.

The Archives houses a Photography Collection of over 150,000 images of local and regional history, including the Darius Kinsey Collection. The Kinsey Collection contains approximately 6,000 images of Northwest landscape and logging and has received international recognition.

Also widely recognized is the H.C. Hanson Collection of naval architecture which documents the region's maritime industry development.



Noon - 5 p.m., Tuesday - Sunday

Admission & Directions:

free to 3-building main campus; $2 admission to Children's Museum, members free.


The Museum

Key Personnel:

Mary Pettus, Director

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