Don’t let a little winter weather keep you from enjoying museum collections

“Winter Dance Time (Spegpegud)” is a 1946-47 lithograph on paper, 16 x 23 inches, by artist Helmi Juvonen, 1903-1985. It’s a gift from Dr. Ulrich and Stella Fritzsche to the Whatcom Museum.
“Winter Dance Time (Spegpegud)” is a 1946-47 lithograph on paper, 16 x 23 inches, by artist Helmi Juvonen, 1903-1985. It’s a gift from Dr. Ulrich and Stella Fritzsche to the Whatcom Museum. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Sometimes, getting up and out of the house and choosing to visit a museum, theater or community event feels like too much effort. That doesn’t mean that cultural experiences are forgone. Actually, the Whatcom Museum’s online virtual exhibitions provide visitors with curated art and history exhibits that can be enjoyed right from the comfort of home. No need to worry about wearing shoes, having food in a gallery or keeping your voice quiet for the sake of other visitors.

The museum’s virtual exhibits feature a variety of historic photographs, artwork, ephemera and featured artist collections that visitors can view at their leisure. Recently, three new virtual exhibits were added to the website with a total of 25 online exhibits available for exploration. The most recent additions include a “People of the Sea and Cedar” exhibit that is a companion to the museum’s recently reinstalled exhibition at the Lightcatcher, an exhibit of artwork by artist Helmi Juvonen, 1903-1985, and a gallery featuring Dow Walling’s comic strip “Skeets.”

The Whatcom Museum also is home to more than 200,000 photographic archives, many from well-known Bellingham photographers. Online visitors can peruse the Galen Biery collection, the Darius and Tabitha Kinsey collection, and even the collection of Bellingham Herald photographer Jack Carver, which features many images taken during his time working on The Herald staff between 1945–1981.

In addition to the artwork collection of Helmi Juvonen, the museum highlights female artists in the virtual exhibit Northwest Women Artists, featuring artwork by Ross Palmer Beecher, Susan Bennerstrom, Sonja Blomdahl and Helen Loggie, among many others. A selection of artworks and woodcut prints by Elizabeth Colborne are also presented.

Even though these exhibits make for a great evening or weekend exploration at home, visitors can experience some of these artworks and photographs at Old City Hall and the Lightcatcher, too. Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like seeing the “real thing.”

Read it on the blog: Want to learn more about the artwork and life of Seattle artist Juvonen or about Dow Walling’s, 1902-1987, comic strip “Skeets,” which ran on Sundays in the New York Herald Tribune between 1932–1951? Read the museum’s blog for a deeper look at these artists.

Christina M. Claassen is Whatcom Museum’s marketing and public relations manager. Reach her at cmclaassen@cob.org.

Whatcom Museum

The non-profit Whatcom Museum is operated by the Whatcom Museum Foundation and the city of Bellingham. The Old City Hall building at 121 Prospect St. and the Lightcatcher Building at 250 Flora St. are open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays. The Family Interactive Gallery, located inside the Lightcatcher, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission, good for all sites in a day, is $10 general, $8 youth (6-17 years) and student, senior or military, $5 children (2-5 years). Memberships start at $50 and include free museum admission.

The museum offers a variety of programs and exhibitions about art, nature and Northwest history. Its collections contain more than 200,000 artifacts and art of regional importance, including a photographic archive. The museum is accredited nationally by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.