Free admission to museums in Lynden, Bellingham

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 25, 2013 

Donovan exhibit

Whatcom Museum photo archivist Jeff Jewell, left, and history researcher and author Brian Griffin, put up "Treasures from the Trunk: The Story of J.J. Donovan," a history exhibit, in Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall, in Bellingham, Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

Three museums in Whatcom and Skagit counties are participating in the Smithsonian Institution's annual Museum Day Live! Event, offering free admission for two people Saturday, Sept. 28.

Whatcom Museum is offering admission to its Old City Hall and Lightcatcher galleries in Bellingham, as is the Lynden Pioneer Museum and the Skagit County Historical Museum in La Conner.

To get your free ticket, go online to smithsonianmag.com/museumday, find the museum you want to visit, and print a ticket. One ticket that admits two people is allowed per email address or household. Smartphone users can show the ticket page on their phones instead of printing a ticket.

It's part of the Smithsonian's annual effort to boost museum attendance - admission is always free to the Smithsonian galleries in Washington, D.C.

"The goal is to encourage learning through free admission," said Mary Jo Maute, the Whatcom Museum's education and public programs coordinator.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, there's a free docent-led tour of the "Treasures from the Trunk" exhibit about famed Fairhaven businessman J.J. Donovan at the museum's Old City Hall galleries, 121 Prospect St. No registration is required.

"People can just show up for them," Maute said.

PARTICIPATING MUSEUMS

• Lynden Pioneer Museum's regular exhibits include a historical replica of downtown Lynden with shops, stores and offices; a farmhouse circa 1900; and more than 60 vintage buggies, cars and tractors.

The museum is at 217 Front St., near Third Street downtown. Regular admission is $7 adults; $4 seniors and students; and free for kids 6 and younger. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 360-354-3675 or see lyndenpioneermuseum.org.

• At Skagit County Historical Museum, visitors can see the new "Have A Seat" exhibit, the "Pieces of History: Quilts of Skagit County" exhibit, and the Skagit Legacy galleries with life-size historical dioramas and displays.

The museum, at 501 S. Fourth St. in La Conner, is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Regular admission is $8 for a family; $4 adults; $3 seniors and children 6 to 12; and free for kids 5 and younger. For more information, call 360-466-3365 or see skagitcounty.net/museum.

• At Whatcom Museum, regular admission is $10 general; $8 students, military with valid ID, and people over 62; and $4.50 for children 5 and younger. Hours for the Old City Hall at 121 Prospect St. are noon to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; hours for the Lightcatcher at 250 Flora St. are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; and the Lightcatcher's Family Interactive Gallery for children opens at 9 a.m. Tuesday and Friday.

SYRE CENTER OPEN

Because the Lightcatcher is in transition with an empty gallery between two major exhibits, the Whatcom Museum is opening its Syre Center from noon-5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday during the month of October. The Syre Center features local natural history exhibits, including Coast Salish masks and basketry - plus a noted collection of some 500 taxidermied birds. It's normally only open for school groups and other special events.

Admission of $5 per person allows visitors into all three venues, including the museum's Old City Hall and Lightcatcher galleries.

It's a move that's proving popular, especially among bird lovers, and the museum offers several programs for birders next month.

On Saturdays and Sundays from 1-3 p.m., members from North Cascades Audubon Society will be on hand to answer questions about the taxidermied birds.

Among the museum's special events next month is an AHA! program from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St., featuring "The Art of Sketching Birds," with local artists Katherine Taylor and Jim Henterly. Admission to the event is the $5 Thursday ticket price.

"We get quite a few requests to sketch the birds," Maute said.

Also featured is "Artist's Perspective: Northwest Coast Native Art with Scott Jensen," from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, in the Old City Hall galleries. Admission is $5.

"Scott Jensen, he's a wonderful carver in the Coast Salish tradition," Maute said.

Robert Mittendorf is a Herald copy editor and page designer. Contact him at 360-756-2805 or at robert.mittendorf@bellinghamherald.com.

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