Museum of Glass

I’m trying to do more than two posts a month, so that I can clear the backlog and have the posts be more relevant, but I’m having a difficult time coming up with time to write and post. I want a semi-regular schedule, either on a weekly basis or every so many days. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’ll get there. Any who, continuing on the day trip in Tacoma, my buddy and I visited…

Museum of Glass, located in Tacoma, Washington

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The Museum of Glass has different seasonal hours, they are as follows: during the fall, winter and spring, the museum is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm; during the summer (memorial day to labor day), the museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. Throughout the year, every third Thursday of the month, the museum is open till 8pm, and has free admission from 5pm to 8pm. Admission is $15 (when I visited, it was $12, they upped the price, so check before you visit for the most current price), but there might be a coupon in one of the Seattle attraction booklets for several dollars off, so find a booklet to save some money. The museum is easily accessible by both car and public transportation. If you drive, there are parking lots nearby. Public transportation takes about an hour from Seattle, take the 594 bus and get off at Pacific Ave/UW, then cross the street and look for signs for the museum. (I took the bus, it was easy, no transfers or anything, so don’t worry about getting lost.)

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Part of the outdoor art section of the museum is the “Chihuly Bridge of Glass”, which connects the museum to downtown Tacoma. (You can see the outdoor sections without visiting the museum, so this part is free.) The bridge is comprised of three installations, the “Seaform Pavilion”, the “Crystal Towers” and the “Venetian Wall”, all comprising of pieces made by Tacoma’s very own glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly. (He’s quite famous in Washington State, and more of his work can be seen at the Chihuly Glass and Garden in Seattle.)

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The Museum of Glass contains three galleries, all of them are temporary exhibits showcasing different type of glass related artwork. The first exhibit visited was “Kids Design Glass Too”, which was on display from January 17 to July 12, 2015. The museum has a Kids Design Glass (KDG) program, where children under 12 submit drawings, and the museum’s glassmaking team, known as the Hot Shop Team, transforms the drawings into glass sculptures. This exhibit is the second of its kind to be on display at the museum, the first exhibit was from 2009-2011.  At the more recent exhibit, there were 28 glass sculptures, some new, some previously displayed. The sculptures were colorful and whimsical, things truly only a child’s uninhibited mind can come up with.

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The next exhibit was “Patra Passage”, which was on display from February 14 to May 10, 2015. On display were 108 small ceramic bowls created by artist Lynda Lowe, and were all part of her art project involving the gifting of the bowls. During a one year period, the bowls were gifted to various recipients who kept the bowls for as little as a few days to several months. Through this gifting and receiving of the bowls, the participants were able to gain experiences and share stories with others involved, thereby emphasizing the use of art to create and connect a community. As a non-participant of the project, I didn’t gain much insight from this exhibit, only that the ceramic bowls were nice (and I wouldn’t mind owning one, but they’re probably over the price range I will spend on a bowl).

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The last of the three exhibits is “Chihuly Drawings”, which was on display from March 1 to June 30, 2015. The exhibit showcases the drawings done by Chihuly across various mediums including graphite, charcoal, and acrylic, over thirty five years. If you’ve seen some of Chihuly’s glass sculptures, you will find that some of the drawings bear resemblance to his scupltures. In addition to the drawings, visitor can learn about the evolution of Chihuly’s drawing process.

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In the Art Alley, more sculptures designed by kids were on display. I don’t these are part of the Kids Design Too exhibit, rather these are part of the museum’s permanent collection.

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Another feature of the museum is the Hot Shop that is housed in the stainless steel cone that is iconic to Tacoma. (I didn’t get an image of it, but search for the Museum of Glass, and it should come up, it’s quite a spectacle.) At the Hot Shop, visitors can see the museum’s Hot Shop team and visiting artists create art from glass. It’s actually pretty fascinating, my buddy and I spent some time watching them. (They were making a scorpion or something with a pincer.) There’s even an emcee around who explains the process of glassblowing and to answer any questions one may have. Also, don’t miss the two other outdoor installations in front of the museum. One is “Martin Blank’s Fluent Steps” (above, second row on the right) and “Water Forest” (I don’t have a photo).

My friend and I spent about one hour at the museum. Depending on how interested you are in glassmaking and art, the amount of time may vary. The glassmaking was definitely the highlight of the museum, as the galleries didn’t have much glass on display, only the one gallery, but the pieces there were a delight. For the price of admission, I thought there would’ve been more on display, but I suppose the price of admission was high due to operating the Hot Shop daily. Anyone interested in glassmaking or art will definitely enjoy the museum. The museum may be a hit or miss for some visitors as the exhibits are always changing, but take a chance and visit the Museum of Glass cause at the very least you will get to see how glass art is made.

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