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Whatcom Museum

The Whatcom Museum occupies three distinctive and historically significant buildings in downtown Bellingham's cultural district. 

The Lightcatcher is designed by Olson Kundig Architects’ founding partner, Jim Olson. The building is named for its focal point and most innovative feature — a spectacular, translucent wall 37 feet high and 180 feet long, that captures the Northwest’s most precious natural resource: sunlight. The 42,000-square-foot-building integrates natural materials native to the region and is the first museum in Washington designed and registered to LEED Silver-Level specifications. The Lightcatcher hosts a rotating schedule of art exhibitions throughout the year as well as a Family Interactive Gallery (FIG).

The Syre Education Center is home to a classroom space and permanent historical exhibits for group tours and school field trips including "Northwest Coast First Nations", "Pioneer Life," "Logging," and "Birds of the Pacific Northwest." Built in 1926 as the City of Bellingham’s fire hall and adjacent to the 1892 Old City Hall Building, the Whatcom Museum’s widely recognized photo archives are also located on the second floor of the Syre Education Center; the archives are open to the public for research.

Old City Hall has been home to Whatcom Museum since 1941 and a beloved city landmark. With its Victorian cupolas and central clock tower a stately community presence for more than a century, the history of the building and its inhabitants (including prisoners!) remains central to the Whatcom Museum’s mission. While the fine art exhibitions have moved to the climate-controlled galleries of the Lightcatcher, Old City Hall is open with one historical exhibition, and remains the site for many of their most popular programs. General visitor hours are Thursday - Sunday 12 - 5 PM.  One admission gets you into Old City Hall and The Lightcatcher!

The Family Interactive Gallery (found in the Lightcatcher building) is an interactive, hands-on museum space designed for children of all ages and their families. By offering self-directed exploration, play, and learning together, the FIG provides educational opportunities in many critical areas, including science, technology, art, innovation, problem-solving, early childhood literacy and social and cross-cultural experiences.
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(Whatcom Museum)