Whatcom Museum's Syre Center open in March


Syre Education Center bird room

Lauren Baddeley, left, points out some of the stuffed birds to Karlee Cooper, right, as they search through the glass cases for the answers to their activity book clues during a day at the Syre Education Center bird room on Feb. 13, 2007.


While the Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher galleries are between major exhibits, the museum's Syre Center will be open with reduced admission to all three museum buildings for several days in March.

"It's just kind of a soft opening between exhibits," said Chris Brewer, educator and public programs coordinator for the Whatcom Museum.

"Vanishing Ice," the museum's acclaimed exhibit addressing polar climate change has closed, and "Paint," a collection of Northwest Coast painting by Lyle Wilson opens March 30.

Normally open only for special education tours and for special events, the Syre Center features natural-history exhibits of local pioneer life, Coast Salish basketry, and the early logging industry of Whatcom County. Its highlight, however, is a collection of nearly 500 taxidermy birds representing many species from Washington state.

It's a favorite not only among birders, but also among artists, who flock to draw the eye-catching display, Brewer said.

Opening dates for the Syre Center are noon to 5 p.m. March 20-23; March 27-30. On those days, $5 admission allows access to the galleries at the Syre Center, 201 Prospect St.; the Old City Hall, next door at 121 Prospect St.; and the Lightcatcher, a block away at 250 Flora St. Regular prices are in effect for April 3-6; April 10-13; and April 17-18. General admission is $10, $8 for seniors age 62 or older or students with ID, $4.50 for children 2 years old to 5 years old. Admission for children under age 2 is free. General admission is always $5 on Thursdays.

Brewer said museum officials hope the reduced admission will draw visitors not only to the Syre Center, but also to the Old City Hall, which features a permanent collection of Victorian toys and is offering a historical look at Bellingham entrepreneur J.J. Donovan. There's also "Big Cameras, Big Trees: Darius Kinsey at Large in the Woods," an exhibit featuring large-format photography of old-growth trees and the early logging industry.

"It's all about the lumber industry and the native trees that used to live here," Brewer said.

Admission prices were corrected March 21, 2014.

Robert Mittendorf is a Herald copy editor and page designer. Suggest your ideas for local family-friendly events, hikes or day trips at 360-756-2805 or at robert.mittendorf@bellinghamherald.com.

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