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April 12, 2019

Christina Claassen, Marketing & PR Manager
Whatcom Museum

Whatcom Museum New History Exhibits Highlight Women in Flight, Washington's Statehood

The Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, WA features two new history exhibits at the Old City Hall building in 2019.

Firsts in Flight

"Firsts in Flight: A Hidden History," runs April 13 through August 4, 2019. The exhibit offers a "timeline tour" that outlines the significant contributions made by women and African Americans, particularly African American women, to our country's history of aviation and space flight. Visitors will "meet" pioneer aviator Bessie Coleman, who in 1921, became the first African American woman to earn her pilot’s license. Before her, in 1911 Harriet Quimby became the first American woman of any race to secure her pilot’s license. Other "hidden figures," including the African American women who played a pivotal role in the country’s space program in the second half of the twentieth century. In Puget Sound, there were the WASPs—Women Airforce Service Pilots—trained pilots who tested Boeing aircraft, ferried aircraft, and trained other pilots during World War II. Their stories are presented in a video narrative provided by The Museum of Flight in Seattle. Additional short videos include "Trailblazers and Heroes: African Americans Who Flew First" and "Doing the Math for NASA: African American Human Computers." Local "hidden figures" include Bellingham women who worked in the factories and shipyards during World War II, including Marie Manning, the first female welder at the Bellingham Marine Railway & Boatbuilding Company in 1943. This exhibition was provided, in part, by the Morehead Planetarium & Science Center at the University of North Carolina, with special thanks to The Museum of Flight. Additional support from the Whatcom Museum Foundation, the City of Bellingham, and the Whatcom Museum Advocates.

Exploring Washington's Statehood

On exhibit April 20 through July 21, 2019 at Old City Hall is "1889: Blazes, Rails, and the Year of Statehood." The year 1889 captured a place in our history as a time of great prosperity and adversity. The face of Washington changed as pioneers arrived and landscapes changed. On November 11, 1889, Washington rose as the 42nd state in the union. This Legacy Washington exhibit from the Office of the Secretary of State introduces visitors to the people and events shaping the territory in the days leading up to statehood.

About the Whatcom Museum

Located in Bellingham's cultural district, the Whatcom Museum, a non-profit organization operated jointly by the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom Museum Foundation, offers a rich variety of programs and exhibitions about art, nature, and Northwest history. The Museum's collections contain more than 200,000 artifacts and art pieces of regional importance, including a vast photographic archive. The Whatcom Museum is accredited nationally by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Affiliate. The Museum has two buildings with public hours: Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. and the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St., Wednesday-Sunday, noon-5 PM. The Family Interactive Gallery, located in the Lightcatcher, is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 AM-5 PM, Sunday, noon- 5 PM. Admission for Museum members is free; $10 general; $8 youth (6- 17)/student/senior/military; $5 children 2-5; under 2 free.

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Visitor Center Located at I-5 Exit 253 - Check Hours
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990

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