Bellingham and Whatcom County shine with arts and heritage activities. A combination of nationally touring and locally produced museum exhibits, gallery tours, theater productions, symphony performances, comedy shows, science and history exhibits provide an active and diverse year.
Washington State’s “Safe Start” plan has been revised to allow Museums to reopen at 25% occupancy in Phase 2 counties, which includes Bellingham and Whatcom County. Please check with the Museum or Gallery directly via their contact information below for updated hours and guidelines before visiting. Masks and social distancing are required.
Most Museums in Bellingham and Whatcom County are now open, please check with the Museums directly via their contact information below.
Museums currently open: Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Artwood, Gallery Syre, Jansen Art Center, Lynden Pioneer Museum, Peter James Gallery, Spark Museum of Electrical Inventions, Western Washington University Outdoor Sculpture Collection, Whatcom Art Market, Whatcom Museum Old City Hall and Lightcatcher Building.
Museums temporarily closed: Mindport Exhibits, Whatcom Museum’s FIG (Family-Interactive Gallery) and Western Gallery.
Bellingham’s downtown Cultural Arts District includes:
- The Whatcom Museum’s state-of-the-art venues
- Allied Arts of Whatcom County
- Downtown Art Walks
- Follow the balloons around downtown to visit participating venues
- The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention
- Mindport Exhibits
- Artist Studio Tours – October, various locations around Whatcom County
- Dozens of visual artists county-wide participate in the Whatcom Artists Studio Tour each October, opening their homes and galleries to visitors.
- The Pickett House
When you’re ready to stretch your legs, a self-guided Historic Walking Tour of Downtown Bellingham is available in desktop, mobile and printed version.
Whatcom County Museums and Historical Sites
History comes alive throughout the county at numerous venues including:
- Peace Arch State Park in Blaine
- The Lynden Pioneer Museum
- Hovander Park and Pioneer Park in Ferndale
- Semiahmoo Park Maritime Museum
Additional Museum and Gallery Information:
Whatcom Museum’s Family Interactive Gallery (FIG) typically features hands-on learning for kids of all ages.
Travel Tip: The Whatcom Museum has temporarily closed the Family Interactive Gallery’s inresponse to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Whatcom Museum invites you to join them for virtual activities by exploring our FIG at Home page here!
Northwest Coast Salish tribes history and culture are celebrated in the new permanent exhibit at the Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher building in Downtown Bellingham with People of the Sea and Cedar.
On the south side of Bellingham Bay, the historic Fairhaven District is home to numerous art galleries featuring pottery, woodworking, glass, and painting, as well as, a unique Pharmacy Museum.
Bellingham’s Big Rock Sculpture Garden, a 2.5-acre city park, also features more than 35 permanent works by distinguished international and local artists.
One of the Top 10 outdoor sculpture collections in the nation resides at Western Washington University in Bellingham. With over 29 pieces located throughout the campus by renown artists such as Bruce Nauman, Tom Otterness, Isamu Noguchi, Alice Aycock, Beverly Pepper and Robert Maki.
Museums & Galleries Resources
Extending from the Western Gallery’s plaza and integrated with other campus buildings, quadrangles, lawns, and playing fields is Western’s Outdoor Sculpture Collection. The Western Gallery is in the Fine Arts Complex, centrally located on campus and across from Carver Gym.
Whatcom County artists open their studios to the public during the 20th annual Whatcom Studio Artist Tour the first two weekends of October. Artwork is for sale and artists are available (some demonstrating) to meet with visitors. Tour includes clay, glass, handmade books, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and woodworking. This self-guided tour is free.
The Whatcom Museum, located in the heart of downtown Bellingham’s cultural district, offers a rich variety of programs and exhibitions about art, nature and Northwest history. The campus features two buildings with public hours; Old City Hall and the Lightcatcher.
We are composed of over 40 local artists & craftspeople, from watercolor & oil painters to wood & metal workers. Our photographers travel to bring you stunning images! We have artists creating jewelry & glass, handcrafted knits & textiles. Visit us Wednesday-Sunday 10:00-6:00.
The exhibition features a selection of paintings, drawings and sculptures that spans David Syre’s artistic career so far, from one of his first works to the most recent large-scale canvases that show a complex mastery of painting techniques and visual translation of spiritual, personal and collective experiences.
The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention offers an exciting and educational experience for audiences of all ages. Compelling, interactive exhibits spanning four centuries of scientific achievement and cultural heritage are featured in a world-class collection of unique objects. The Spark Museum displays the inventions and innovations that changed the course of human history.
Mindport features interactive exhibits designed and hand built by our staff and fine art installations that rotate through our public window display and our indoor galleries. Opportunities abound for discovery, learning and experimentation for visitors of all ages.
The Western Gallery provides diverse experiences in the visual arts for its constituencies, encompassing the University community and region while providing a point of reference to the national and international art scene.
Located in Historic Fairhaven’s Orca Building, Peter James is ready to help you look your best, by putting you at ease while using the best modern lighting and composition techniques. He offer all types of personal and business photography in his high-tech photo studio, in your home or office, or at any outdoor location you desire.
Dedicated to the arts in our region by empowering local artists through organized festivals and events, enriching our local school children through educational outreach programs, and working as a liaison to art enthusiasts of all ages
Artwood is a cooperatively owned showplace and retail source for the finest in contemporary woodworking, providing custom design services, cabinetry, fine furniture, and many decorative accessories. Artwood also carries a variety of consigned work by other local artists. Come in and experience the beauty of wood.
THE LIGHTCATCHER is designed by Olson Kundig Architects founding partner, Jim Olson. The building is named for its focal point and most innovative feature as a spectacular, translucent wall 37 feet high and 180 feet long, that captures the Northwest’s most precious natural resource: sunlight.