Today we explored the museums of Tacoma. Apparently every 3rd Thursday of the month, many of the art museums and the history museum have free admission as part of an art walk.
We decided to hit up the three big museums, the Tacoma Art Museum, The Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art, and the Washington State History Museum. We parked and paid for all day, then went to the Art Museum first. We walked in and were promptly informed that the museum was not actually free until 5pm (it was 11am), but since it was the museum’s 75th Anniversary admission was only 75 cents. We paid it and went inside to walk through the 4 exhibits. The first was a blown glass display of pieces done by local artist Dave Chihuly. Next we came to Japanese woodblock prints. These were very interesting. They museum did a good job showing how the prints were made and their significance to Japanese culture. We enjoyed this section the most I think. The next gallery was of impressionistic art, which didn’t do much for me. Then the last gallery was called “Mighty Tacoma.” It was mostly photographs of the city taken by local artists. There were a couple of interactive displays. One included taking a post-it note and writing on it what Tacoma means to you, then reciting it in front of a camera then afterwards sticking it to the wall. The other display was photographs of people who had come into the museum that day. Eric and I posed for one of these and it seemed to be a favorite among those who came after us. Immediately after the pictures were taken, they were uploaded into a slideshow that was shown on a big screen in the gallery. (The picture was also to be put online with the exhibit, so you can find our picture here and see how cool we are.) Finally we reached the art studio where museum goers could try their hand at some of the types of art portrayed in the museum. Eric and I both folded a paper crane that would help charity then moved on.
We both thought pizza sounded really good, so we found a little pizza place near the museums and had lunch. Afterwards we took a free ride on the trolley through town. It was a bit shorter than we expected, but kinda neat. Then we started towards the Washington History Museum.
This place was very chaotic! It seemed to be full of school kids on a field trip or something. They were running around and screaming and being obnoxious to the extent that we couldn’t really concentrate on the exhibits. The info seemed rather poorly presented too, which made it increasingly difficult to take in the info. There were a bunch of audio presentations that were impossible to hear over so much noise. We tried to take in as much as we could, but ended up leaving after a short time, to go to the Museum of Glass.
We walked across the glass bridge towards the museum admiring the beautiful glass ceiling and sculptures along the way. We walked past a beautiful outside sculpture, but didn’t investigate much. Inside there were a couple of separate galleries, one was mostly by local artist, but the one we enjoyed the most was full of imaginary creatures from the minds of 8-12 year olds. The children apparently created, drew, explained, and sent in a monster to the glass museum. Some were chosen to be produced by professional glass blowers. These included creatures such as the Fire Fish, Pickle Deer, and Green Guy, each accompanied by a caption written by its child creator explaining what the creature is and what it does.
There was a glass blowing demonstration, but we had to split before much started happening because there was a free movie playing at the History Museum that we wanted to go back and see. The movie was called “Reel Injun” and it was presented as part of Independent Lens, a PBS program. The movie explored the portrayal of American Indians throughout film history and how it has formed our ideas of what Indians were and are really like. It was really interesting. Eric and I both realized how our own film studies seemed to leave out the Native American perspective. The movie is to be aired on PBS sometime in the future and I recommend it to anyone who is interested.