Fall and winter are times to explore all-things indoors. What better way to learn about regional art, history and culture than at our museums?
Seattle museums offer visitors numerous interactive exhibits, shows by world-renowned artists, and displays with fascinating facts about our region’s maritime, musical and historical heritage, as well as family-friendly activities year-round.
Here are a few hot spots not to miss. And don’t rush it. Allow plenty of time (usually at least three hours) for each place you visit, and check the museums’ websites ahead of time to learn about what’s on display and what special events are taking place.
MOHAI: The Museum of History & Culture, 860 Terry Ave. N. Phone: 206-324-1126. Online: mohai.org
After its move from Montlake neighborhood to Lake Union in 2012, this center boasts an illustrated chronological history of the greater Seattle area, with displays on the relationships between the city’s history and culture. Currently on display: “Maritime Seattle,” in partnership with Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society; “Shalom: Open for Business,” with the Washington State Jewish Historical Society; the Bezos Center for Innovation; and the center’s core exhibit, “True Northwest: The Seattle Journey.”
Seattle Art Museum. 1300 First Ave. Phone: 206-654-3100. Online: Seattleartmuseum.org
After several decades and a few moves, SAM relocated to its current downtown location in 1991. Some of SAM’s most successful exhibits have been “Treasures of Tutankhamun,” an exhibit of works by Van Gogh and a retrospective of works by Northwest artist Mark Tobey. Among the displays now: “City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India;” “Pop Departures” and “American Art Masterworks.” Watch for the “Hammering Man,” a local landmark.
Don’t forget the museum’s related operations, the Seattle Asian Art Museum on Capitol Hill and the Olympic Sculpture Park on Seattle’s waterfront.
Pacific Science Center, Seattle Center, 200 Second Ave. N. Phone: 206-443-2001. Online: pacificsciencecenter.org
The science playground from the Seattle World’s Fair offers visitors a plethora of activities for all ages, from outdoor fun to robots, 3D, live animals and more, as well as IMAX theaters, a planetarium and a live-science stage. On display now: “The Science of Ripley’s Believe it or Not;” “Dinosaurs: A Journey Through Time;” and “Portals to Current Research.” Coming up Feb. 7: “Pompeii: The Exhibition.”
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, UW campus at 17th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 45th Street. Phone: 206-543-5590. Online: Burkemuseum.org
The state’s oldest museum, the Burke is the only major natural history museum in the Northwest, with more than 14 million artifacts and specimens. Current exhibits include “The Confluence of Science and Art,” “Life and Times of Washington State” and “Here and Now: Native Artists Inspired.”
EMP Museum, Seattle Center, 325 Fifth Ave. N. Phone: 206-770-2700. Online: empmuseum.org
If your thing is music, science fiction or popular culture, the EMP is your go-to museum. The sometimes-beloved, sometimes-loathed Frank Gehry-designed building hosts concerts, films and numerous special events. Now on display: “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses,” “Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Films” and “Indie Game Revolution.”
Museum of Flight, 9404 E. Marginal Way S. Phone: 206-764-5720. Online: museumofflight.org
The largest aviation museum on the West Coast houses flight simulators, mission models and a historical displays, and offers tours of Boeing Field. The programs at the museum feature talks by astronauts, pilots and scientists, and hosts family weekend events. On view: Air Force One, “Space: Exploring the New Frontier,” and “Sky-bots: A Look at Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”