Seattle Museums

I’m not sure what I expected of Seattle. The only thing I was told was to expect was rain . . . which didn’t happen. Instead, two week of glorious sunshine. Museum wise I went with an open mind and a long list, hoping to see as many as possible. I expected big and beautiful museums, but what I did not account for was the amount of local and individual stories that these museums would incorporate.

The first most noticeable thing for a Brit visiting Seattle museums is that you have to pay. We are pretty spoilt in the UK, we have grown to expect most museums to be free, or at least cheapish, or offer some kind of deal where we can pay once and visit for a year. I don’t believe that we feel we are being ripped off if we pay for a museum, in fact some museum professionals believe that by putting a price on an exhibition it can draw more visitors in because they see a price tag and assume that it means a quality display (which is pretty mad since our free museums are true gems). Instead the expectation of a low to no cost have just become the norm. Of the museums I visited in Seattle, all but two charged entry. Funding wise many museums in Seattle appear to be self-sufficient, with a large amount of their income coming from visitors. UK museums tend to be free in order to be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, but many Seattle museums cover this by having one free entry day every month.

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This is the list of the museums I managed to make it to, obviously there we so many more that I didn’t as there are museums cropping up everywhere. Like the museum in Pike Place Market dedicated to giant shoes, with slots to put money in order to be able to peer in on the collection. I’ve never seen anything like this before, but it would be an excellent way of a museum getting donations for it collection.

EMP Museum

Just wow. Combining global popular culture, but incorporating the musical stories of local heros. It’s the first time that I have seen a gallery sound scape explained before entering. It’s definitely worth visiting. Click here for more.

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Hiram M Chittenden Locks

It’s only little, but set alongside the locks it gives a brilliant insight into their creation, uses and wildlife. See more here.Boats Entering the Lock

Nordic Heritage Museum

This museum is in the process of moving to a specially created site, remaining open while the redevelopments take place. It’s currently housed in an old school and the number of individual stories and examples of community engagement are outstanding. Fingers crossed it keeps these things close to its heart during the move. For now you can see more here.Nordic Heritage Museum

Museum of History and Industry

If you want to know more about Seattle; How it came to be here? How it developed? What has come from it? This is the place to come. Don’t miss the ‘Great Fire’ theatre performance, it’s could be the most imaginative musical I’ve ever seen. Have a look here.

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The Burke Museum

The new Burke Museum is currently being developed, but is staying open during this time. With a very diverse world cultures gallery, and a gallery that looks at the natural history of Washington State from the prehistoric to modern times, it is well work a visit here.

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Pinball Museum

I’ve never played pinball, but I lost hours in this place. Only 2 rooms big, but with enough space to fit in a lot of pinball machines it gives you a brilliant insight into the development of the machines by actually letting you play on them. I loved that every machine had the information about what its online fun rating is. See more here.

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Museum of Flight

This place is huge. It really has to be to fit in the amount of planes it has under one roof. The specialist interactives are incredible. Find out more here.

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Klondike Gold Rush Museum

This excellent little museum allows you to choose a real life Klondike gold rush character and follow their story through the rush to see if they were among the lucky few to make it big. An excellent way to connect visitors to a story emotionally. See more here.

Klondike Gold Rush


Forks Timber Museum

Ok, so it’s quite a bit out of Seattle, but if you’re heading camping up the Olympic peninsula then pop by here to really appreciate the achievements of the local logging community.

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