Whatcom Museum's History Cruises sail into 30th year this summer


In 2004, the Bellingham City Council considered cutting several programs to save money. Among them was the popular History Cruise aboard the Island Caper, hosted by Whatcom Museum.

Luckily, that program wasn't cut.

Now in its 30th year, guests aboard the 110-foot vessel can learn about geology, flora and fauna, shipwrecks and the changing maritime history of Bellingham.

Whatcom Museum's Richard Vanderway provided on-board narration for about 22 years; now Brian Griffin provides insight on the tours. Both are as knowledgeable about local history as the founder of the cruises, Galen Biery.

Even if you're a Bellingham native, you'll no doubt learn some local lore during the 90-minute adventures, which disembark and embark at Squalicum Harbor every Thursday, July 11 through Aug. 29. Boarding is at 5:30 p.m.; the boat departs at 6 and arrives back around 8:30.

Tickets - $30 for museum members, $35 for nonmembers, $28 for groups of eight or more - can be purchased at the museum store at the Lightcatcher, 250 Flora St., or by calling 360-778-8963. Reservations are encouraged.


Lindsey Gerhard, the marketing coordinator at Pickford Film Center, says changes are happening at Limelight Cinema on Cornwall Avenue.

Beginning Independence Day, the Limelight will serve beer and wine, so admission will be limited to people 21 and older. The beverages can be taken into the theater.

The change is due to a new state law that allows theaters with four or fewer movie screens to apply for an annual license from the State Liquor Control Board.

Also, a new digital cinema package is being installed at the Limelight to match upgrades done to Pickford earlier this year, due to the planned industrywide phaseout of 35mm film. The interior also will have a new splash of color to go with the beer-and-wine offerings.

Pickford Film Center on Bay Street, which began selling beer and wine in February 2012, will remain open to people of all ages.

Details: pickfordfilmcenter.org, 360-783-0735.


George Muldrow, a Herald reader who lives in Glacier, wrote to tell me about "Reflections: Selections from the Permanent Collection, " an exhibit opening Saturday, June 29, at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St., in La Conner.

George says two of his friends, Jane Hamilton Hovde and Robert Bragg, who are both retired from painting, have works in the show, along with Morris Graves, Paul Havas, Mark Tobey and Guy Anderson.

George says both Jane and Bob have played significant roles in the Bellingham art scene, and both have had one-person shows at Whatcom Museum.

Hovde's 2000 exhibit, "Picasso's Eye: A Symbolic Process," included works that explored the process of individualism, inspired by psychologist Carl Jung. Hovde, who is in her mid-90s, was born on the tugboat "Northwest," en route to Anacortes from Blakely Island; studied and traveled throughout Europe; and has work in the permanent collection of the Seattle Art Museum as well as Whatcom Museum. Her work, and that of her husband, A.J. Hovde, are documented at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies at Western Washington University.

Bragg, one of the four original faculty members at Whatcom Community College, helped develop the college's curriculum and was a longtime art instructor at Whatcom.

The exhibit in La Conner runs through Sept. 29. An opening reception is 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 29. Details: 360-466-4446, museumofnwart.org.

The hours of the History Cruises were corrected on Thursday, June 27, 2013.

Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or margaret.bikman@bellinghamherald.com. Follow Bellingham Entertainment on Facebook or @bhamentertainme on Twitter.

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