Skagit County museum exhibits designer chairs from WWU collection

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 19, 2013 

"Have a Seat," the new exhibit at the Skagit County Historical Museum in La Conner, offers a prime opportunity to see designer furniture from Western Washington University's rarely seen collection.

Jo Wolfe, the museum's fundraising and publicity coordinator, said the museum director remembered the collection from his days as an undergraduate at WWU.

"It's incredible, the chairs and designs - it's pretty cool," Wolfe said. "These were all in storage. They haven't been shown in quite some time."

WWU's Chair Collection, part of the Western Gallery, focuses on 20th century furniture created by international designers. Wolfe said WWU began collecting examples of furniture in the 1970s through its home economics department. Some of the items were donated, some are part of a private collection - totaling more than 60 pieces.

The current exhibit includes a piece by architectural designer Maya Lin, famous for her Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

"It's everything from a very modern and stylized desk chair ... to older chairs, I think the oldest piece is mid-19th century," Wolfe said.

"Have a Seat" shows though Oct. 25. A companion exhibit, "Pieces of History: Quilts of Skagit County," closes Oct. 6.

The Skagit County Historical Museum is at 501 S. Fourth St. in La Conner. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors and children 6 to 12. Museum members and children 5 and younger are admitted free. There's a special family rate of $10 for two adults and two children.

To get there, take Interstate 5 south to Highway 20 westbound. Turn left (south) at La Conner-Whidbey Road. Turn right (west) at the Morris Street traffic circle and a quick left onto Maple Avenue. Turn right on Caledonia Street, right on Second Street, right on Benton Street and left on Fourth Street.

The museum is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Details:, 360-466-3365 or


Anacortes writer Lois V. Harris reads and signs her 2011 book, "Maxfield Parrish: Painter of Magical Make-Believe," from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 4099 Meridian St.

Harris' biography of the celebrated early 20th-century painter, a key figure in the Golden Age of illustration who helped shape the future of American visual arts, contains many striking color plates.

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