Whether you’re an art enthusiast, are mesmerized by the process of glassblowing or simply love the look of finely crafted glassware, the Museum of Glass is not to be missed.
A distinctively modern landmark, this 75,000-square-foot building on the historic Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma, Washington was designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson and offers his trademark use of concrete integrated with glass. The Museum’s most distinctive architectural feature is a slanted cone surfaced in stainless steel that stands 90 feet tall. Inspired by the wood burners of sawmills that once spanned the region, the cone serves as a proud icon for the Pacific Northwest and symbolizes the city’s transformation from an industrial to a cultural center.
Take a Tour
The Museum of Glass provides a vibrant learning environment in which to appreciate the medium of glass through creative experiences, collections and exhibitions.
Inside of this impressive facility, check out the large exhibition spaces filled with varied awe-inspiring works executed in glass. In addition to permanent installations and displays, the exhibition schedule includes works by internationally known artists who set trends in contemporary art. Interpretive text panels and docent-led tours ensure that your museum experience is both meaningful and engaging.
In the Studio, participate in interactive and creative hands-on learning activities taught by visual and performing artists. For those is the surrounding area, outreach programs and active partnerships with regional schools offer Museum resources to teachers and students of all ages.
Inside the Hot Shop Amphitheater, watch with a birds-eye view and ask questions while a team of artists demonstrates the intriguing process of glassblowing, crafting works of art from molten glass on the amphitheater stage. Expert commentary and a state-of-the-art audiovisual system promises to enhance the experience by providing insight into the process as well as the science, culture and historical aspects of glass.
“When visiting the Museum on any given day, you’ll see at least a three-person team making something in the Hot Shop.”
In the Museum Theater, watch original documentary films, most made in-house, about the artwork in the galleries. Look inside the artistic process of a particular artist, or review the techniques and history of glassmaking.
Venture outdoors for expanded exhibition space and enjoy a rooftop plaza with panoramic views of the city and surrounding waterfront.
Connecting the Museum to downtown Tacoma is the stunning Chihuly Bridge of Glass. This 500-foot steel-and-glass pedestrian bridge offers three installations by Tacoma native Dale Chihuly, one of the legendary pioneers in the Studio Glass Movement. The bridge spans from the Museum of Glass rooftop to the downtown Tacoma Museum District, home of the Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum and the University of Washington-Tacoma.
A sight to behold and an experience to remember, be sure the Museum of Glass is on your to-do list in the great Northwest!
The Museum of Glass
Thea Foss Waterway
1801 Dock Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
By: Kelly Taggart
Photos: Allen Carrasco and Museum of Glass