Although Seattle is known for Pike’s Market where they throw fish, Microsoft, Amazon, and the Seahawks, the art museums offer a way to view art from around the world. Art museums offer a cultural experience with works of art from different locations and time throughout history. Providing an opportunity for learning, experiencing, and viewing the world is the purpose of art museums. Without museums, history, cultures, and artists would be forever lost.
Seattle has many great art museums worth visiting. From the Seattle Art Museum, The Burke Museum, and Chihuly Garden and Glass to name a few, it’s easy to get excited learning about new artists. Visiting art museums will develop an appreciation for cultures and a lifelong learning resource.
SEATTLE ASIAN ART MUSEUM
Located in Volunteer Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and housed in an Art déco building designed in 1933 by Carl F. Gould. The museum has a permanent collection that spans thirteen galleries with art from China, Korea, Japan, India, the Himalaya, and Southeast Asian Art. They set the galleries up with a theme such as worship, celebration, visual arts, literature, etc. Another feature of the Seattle Asian Art Museum is the education center, conservation center, and a library.
THE BURKE MUSEUM
Starting as a high school naturalist club formed in 1879, The Burke Museum is the oldest in Washington State with over 16 million artifacts. Located on the University of Washington campus, it’s the official state museum of Washington. The Burke Museum reopened in a new building in 2019 along with several new long-term exhibits. Each exhibit is based on a category of Washington State, which includes a well preserved T-Rex skull and other fossils. Temporary exhibits occur throughout the year and include traveling exhibits from other institutions.
FRYE ART MUSEUM
Created in 1952 for the art collection of Charles and Emma Frye and their 232 paintings, The Frye Art Museum has rotating exhibitions of emerging artists and is free to the public. The art collection of the Frye’s was representational was more dark, dramatic, and psychological. The museum began moving away from the dark and dramatic to more free spirited art in 2007. An interesting fact about the Frye paintings is that they moved the paintings to a meat plant for storage after the death of the Frye’s and a B-29 bomber crashed at a nearby airfield and caught the plant on fire. Luckily, the art work was not damaged. This was in 1943 and the B-29 was a top secret military project.
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM (SAM)
In downtown Seattle, the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) invites you to walk through special art collections and temporary exhibits from around the world. In 1933, SAM had 1926 pieces of art and through expansions and the new facility, it has amassed a collection of over 25,000 original works of art. The permanent collections of the museum range from ancient antiquities to present day art from all around the globe. From African, Mediterranean, and Aboriginal, just to name a few. All walks of life will enjoy the collections. General admission for an adult is $22.99 and open Wednesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.
CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly is one of the best glass artists in the world. After traveling to Venice to work in the Venini factory, he learned the importance of a team approach to glass blowing. At the Seattle Center next to the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass opened on May 21, 2012. Working in glass factories around Europe, the Chihuly Over Venice was created and installed the glass sculptures over the canals in Venice. Regular admission to the museum is $30.00 in the morning and $35.00 in the afternoon. If you’re in Seattle and around the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is worth a visit.
HENRY ART GALLERY
In February, 1927 the Henry Art Gallery was named for Horace C. Henry, who donated the money for the gallery. The Henry Art Gallery is for contemporary art and the history of photography. Not only did Horace donate the money, but his collection of 178 works of art. Before they created the gallery, he added a gallery to his home and operated it as a free museum to the public, which was open for 10 hours a week. The gallery is on the University of Washington campus and is open Thursday through Sunday. General admission cost is a suggested donation of up to $20.00. The Henry Art Gallery and The Burke Museum are only a few blocks from each other.
The purpose of art museums is to collect and preserve works of art. They provide an insight into past cultures. How much art would be lost without museums? How many artists would never be discovered? Art museums are a great way to increase creativity, expand your horizons, and countless other benefits. These are places you can sit in silence and contemplate the meaning of the art. Everyone views art different and creates their own meaning, their own feelings, etc. Art museums offer a glimpse into the possibilities of humans.