“This is such a unique city and a great place to visit. You can visit multiple world-class museums, spend some time on the water with orcas and otters, and still have time for a drive up to Mount Rainier. Incredible.” -Mike Bush, director of marketing and communications, Travel Tacoma-Mt. Rainier Tourism & Sports
Creative culture, exquisite glass, and timeless history converge in Tacoma’s Museum District. Six major museums form the district: Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum, LeMay–America’s Car Museum, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, and Foss Waterway Seaport.
Tacoma Art Museum features framed views of Mount Rainier and a permanent display of glass art by Dale Chihuly, a Tacoma native. The museum’s educators use a learner-based method called Visual Thinking Strategies when teaching with artwork. After close examination and discussion, students can further explore their ideas in hands-on artmaking activities.
The Museum of Glass is a cultural landmark in Tacoma. Its most distinctive architectural feature is a tilted 90-foot-tall cone wrapped in stainless steel. Inspired by the wood burners of sawmills that once proliferated the Pacific Northwest region, the cone symbolizes the city’s transformation from an industrial to a cultural center. Go to the Hot Shop amphitheater—it’s in the cone—to see artisans create pieces with molten glass.
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500-foot-long pedestrian walkway connecting the Museum of Glass to the plaza of the Washington State History Museum. The three displays of Chihuly glass art on the bridge make it a free, outdoor museum that is open to the public 24 hours a day.
Within Tacoma’s Theater District are three theaters: Pantages, Rialto, and Theatre on the Square. The theaters play host to ballets, symphonies, live comedy, musicals, concert bands, popular music, and other special events.
At 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier is an icon in the Pacific Northwest. Teachers may bring students to Mount Rainier National Park for field trips any time. Education programs range from nature walks to snowshoe treks.
Travel Tacoma-Mt. Rainier Tourism & Sports
Main Image: A steel cone holds the Hot Shop at the Museum of Glass; Credit: Ken Emly