Here’s our list of over 90 museums in the Puget Sound region, listed by subject and then by city within each subject area. You’ll find museums for Art, Astronomy, Auto, Aviation, Boating, Botanical, Children, Computers, Curios, Glass, History & Culture, Marine, Military, Native American, Railroad, Science & Engineering, Specialty subjects, and Telecommunications.
We also provide a very brief description of each museum and the primary reason you might want to visit. For additional information such as hours and admission, click the link to their website.
Bainbridge Island Art Museums
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, 550 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Artists and collections from the Puget Sound region. Why go: support local artists.
Bellevue Art Museums
Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004. Local and international art, craft, and design. Why go: be inspired by art, craft, design, and illuminating ideas.
Edmonds Art Museums
Cascadia Art Museum, 190 Sunset Ave. #E, Edmonds, WA 98020. Northwest history through its inhabitants, landscape, climate, industry, and culture. Why go: explore arts and design in the Northwest from 1860-1970, including the work of significant women and minority artists.
Everett Art Museums
Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave, Everett, WA. Regional and international art, emerging young talents, and glassblowing gallery. Why go: see diverse artwork and try art for yourself.
Seattle Art Museums
Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, Seattle, WA 98104. Contemporary art and artists. Why go: immerse yourself in 19th & 20th century art, or take advantage of programs designed for older adults and individuals living with dementia.
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington campus, 15th Ave NE and NE 41st, Seattle 98195. Bold exhibitions pushing the boundaries of contemporary art and culture, premiering new works by established and emerging artists. Why go: be stimulated by bold and challenging exhibitions.
Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave Seattle, WA 98121. Downtown Seattle’s largest green space featuring large sculptures, native plants, and stunning views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Why go: see large sculptures in a breathtaking outdoor setting.
Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, Seattle, WA 98101. Admission by donation. Fixed pricing for special exhibitions. Seattle Art Museum comprises three major facilities: its main museum in downtown Seattle Art Museum (SAM); the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) in Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill, and the outdoor Olympic Sculpture Park on the Seattle waterfront. Why go to SAM: see world-class exhibits and though-provoking visual arts.
Seattle Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park, 1400 E Prospect St, Seattle, WA 98112. CLOSED DURING RENOVATION until 2019. Japanese, Chinese, Korean, South Asian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Middle Eastern art, and contemporary Asian art. Why go: experience diverse perspectives on many Asian arts and cultural traditions.
Tacoma Art Museums
Tacoma Art Museum (TAM), 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402. Art and artists of the Northwest and the broader western region. Why go: compare western art with historical events and worldwide art movements.
The following list includes digital domes, observatories and planetariums.
Bainbridge Island Observatory
Edwin E. Ritchie Observatory at Battle Point Park, 11299 Arrow Point Dr NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 in the Bainbridge Island Park system. The Ritchie Observatory with a rooftop dome and 27.5 inch reflector telescope is housed in the former “Helix House” and managed by the Battle Point Astronomical Association (BPAA), a non-profit amateur astronomy organization. BPAA holds public events and star parties at the observatory and other locations. Why go: Primarily a member organization of enthusiastic amateur astronomers who occasionally hold public events.
Bellevue College Willard Geer Planetarium, 3000 Landerholm Cir SE, Bellevue, WA 98007. The Astronomy Department and Science and Math Institute offer free planetarium shows on select Fridays. Reservations can be made through Brown Paper Tickets by searching on “Bellevue Planetarium.” Walk-ins may be available, only on a space available basis. The special domed-ceiling room has 60 seats. Why go: Fun, informal way to learn about astronomy.
Pacific Planetarium, 817 Pacific Avenue, Bremerton, WA. The Planetarium hosts engaging topics relating to earth and space sciences with a focus on audience participation and experimentation. Closed in 2018, reopening TBA.
Lakewood Science Dome
Pierce College Science Dome, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, 9401 Farwest Drive SW, Lakewood, WA USA 98498. The digital planetarium provides an interactive tour of the current night sky and fulldome videos on a variety of astronomy and space topics. The 38-foot dome offers 58 comfortable seats and extra room in the front where young children can lay down on bean-bags. Why go: fun and immersive way to experience science.
Seattle Planetariums & Observatories
Pacific Science Center Willard Smith Planetarium, 200 2nd Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109. Planetarium shows rotate regularly and are included with general admission tickets to Pacific Science Center. The shows can take you to the outer reaches of the universe, let you explore planets in our own solar system, or discuss current astronomy news and recent discoveries. Why go: free with admission to the Pacific Science Center; check the schedule when you arrive to see what’s showing.
University of Washington Theodor Jacobsen Observatory, 4324 Memorial Way Northeast, Seattle, WA 98105. The second-oldest structure on the campus, built in 1895. The Observatory’s 6-inch refracting telescope still provides celestial views of the Universe. Free talks are offered twice monthly from April-September. These talks are usually given by UW undergraduates or Seattle Astronomical Society members. The level of the talks varies with the topic; most are geared for high school level. You are encouraged to attend and lend your support. Seating is limited and reservations are strongly recommended; see their website for more information. If the sky is clear enough, the dome will be open for viewing celestial objects through the ancient telescope. Why go: see the historical campus building and telescope and view the night sky.
University of Washington Planetarium, Physics-Astronomy Building, 3910 15th Ave NE, Room C319, Seattle WA 98195. The planetarium features a 30-foot diameter fully digital dome for an interactive and immersive planetarium experience. Reservations are required. The ticketing link is posted on the UW Planetarium Facebook page, usually the Sunday preceding the first and third Fridays of the month. Why go: unique and interesting astronomy shows.
Getaway to other astronomy museums in Washington State
Spanel Planetarium (100 miles north of Seattle) at Western Washington University, 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225. Located in Haggard Hall, the 24-foot dome has 45 comfortable seats plus floor space for wheel chairs. Used for WWU classes as well as local pre-school and elementary science programs. Why go: Public shows are offered weekly and topics rotate monthly.
Goldendale Observatory State Park (200 miles southeast of Seattle) is closed through fall of 2019 for maintenance and upgrades. The observatory is a major center for viewing significant astronomical events, including the 2017 solar eclipse. Until the facility re-opens, solar and dark sky programs will take place at the nearby Stonehenge building (87 Stonehenge Drive). Stonehenge hours are weekends, Friday through Sunday from 1 to 11:30 p.m. with observatory staff leading educational programs at 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Tacoma Auto Museums
Griot’s Garage & Retail Store, 3333 South 38th Street, Tacoma, WA 98409. A retail store featuring leading-edge car care products and a rotating display of vintage autos and cool cars. You’ll likely see something new every time you visit. Why go: A car lover’s dream.
LeMay – America’s Car Museum, 2702 East D. St., Tacoma, WA 98421. Rated as one of the best automotive museums worldwide featuring rotating automobile exhibits from their collection and artifacts representing 100 years of history. Why go: learn about the history and technology of the automobile and its influence on American culture.
Everett Aviation Museum
Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, Paine Field, 3407 109th Street SW, Everett, WA 98204. Marvel at rare warbirds and combat vehicles dating back to 1935, talk with the engineers who helped restore them to their original condition, enjoy interactive exhibits, and learn about military history. Why go: learn about the history of war and reflect on the causes of conflict and war.
Mukilteo Aviation Museum
Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, 8415 Paine Field Boulevard, Mukilteo, WA 98275. The only public tour of a commercial jet assembly plant in North America where you can watch aircraft being assembled in one of the largest buildings in the world and explore interactive exhibits. Why go: learn about airplane design and watch the Boeing assembly process.
Seattle Aviation Museum
Museum of Flight, 9404 East Marginal Way S, Seattle, WA 98108. The largest independent air and space museum in the world. Wander the aircraft galleries, talk with the docents—expert volunteers to enhance your visit, explore artifacts, or attend special events. Why go: explore historically significant air and space artifacts and history of aviation.
Boating or Nautical Museums
Camano Island Boating Museum
Center for Wooden Boats at Cama Beach: 1880 SW Camano Drive, Camano Island, WA 98282. Dedicated to preserving the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest. Why go: learn and practice maritime skills, rent boats, build a toy boat, take sailing lessons.
Kent Boating Museum
Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum, 5917 South 196th Street, Kent, WA 98032. The nation’s only public museum dedicated solely to powerboat racing and one of largest collections of Gold Cup winning hydroplanes in the world. Why go: learn about hydroplanes and history of the Gold Cup race.
Seattle Boating & Nautical Museums
Ballard Locks, 3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107. Located just south of the neighborhood by the same name. The locks sit in the middle of Salmon Bay and are part of Seattle’s Lake Washington Ship Canal, the east/west waterway that divides Seattle into northern and southern sections. Officially named Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, the locks connect the (fresh) waters of Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Salmon Bay to (salt water) Puget Sound, allowing commercial and recreational vessels to transverse the. In addition, the locks maintain water levels in Lake Washington and Lake Union and prevent the mixing of sea water from Puget Sound with the fresh lake water. The entire complex includes two locks, a spillway to assist in water-level control, and a fish ladder for migration of salmon. Why go: enjoy the beautiful grounds, see the fish ladder, or watch boats transverse the locks.
Center for Wooden Boats at South Lake Union: 1010 Valley Street, Seattle, WA 98109. Dedicated to preserving the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest. Why go: learn and practice maritime skills, rent boats, build a toy boat, take sailing lessons.
Northwest Seaport, Historic Ships Wharf, Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109. One of the oldest maritime heritage organizations in the U.S. manages historic vessels, some with National Historic Landmark status, and offers ship tours, material archives, and special events. Why go: learn about workboat culture and vessels of historic significance.
Virginia V, South Lake Union, behind MOHAI, past the historic steam clock. A National Historic Landmark and the largest operational wooden steamboat in the U.S. Virginia V is out on tours and special events. However, when docked at homeport on Open Boat Days (most weekends), the vessel is open to the public. So, check their before you plan to go. Why go: a unique tool for learning maritime skills and operations. Drop in to walk around the ship or get a tour.
Tacoma Nautical Museum
Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA 98402. Historic buildings transformed into a community space that celebrates the art, culture, crafts, and skills of Puget Sound’s maritime community. Why go: Learn about people, boats, and industries that shaped the region.
Federal Way Botanical Museums
Pacific Bonsai Museum, 2515 S 336th St, Federal Way, WA 98001. A rotating display of bonsai from the most diverse public collection in North America. Trees from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, USA. Why go: see and learn about bonsai in a grand, outdoor setting.
Seattle Botanical Museums
Volunteer Park Conservatory, Volunteer Park, 1400 E Galer St, Seattle, WA 98112. Indoor botanical garden features bromeliads, palms, ferns, cacti, and rotating seasonal displays. Why go: see the world-class collection and/or the century-old Victorian structure.
Bellevue Children’s Museum
KidsQuest Children’s Museum, 4091 Factoria Mall SE, Bellevue, WA 98006. Learning through hands-on experience for children 0-10 . Why go: best for toddlers and preschoolers.
Burlington Children’s Museum
Children’s Museum of Skagit County, 550 Cascade Mall Dr, Burlington, WA 98233. Interactive learning environment for arts, science and culture. Why go: best for toddlers.
Everett Children’s Museum
Imagine Children’s Museum, 1502 Wall St, Everett, WA 98201. Interactive exhibits and activities in a safe, engaging environment. Why go: parents rate as one of best childrens’ museums in Puget Sound region.
Olympia Children’s Museum
Hands On Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St NE, Olympia, WA 98501. Stimulates curiosity, creativity and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs. Why go: parents rate as one of best childrens’ museums in Puget Sound region.
Seattle Children’s Museums
Tacoma Children’s Museum
Children’s Museum of Tacoma, 1501 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402. Play and imagination resources for families in Tacoma and the South Sound region. Why go: admission by donation and entertaining range of activities for children, especially for preschoolers.
Winslow Children’s Museum
Kids Discovery Museum. 301 Ravine Lane, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Play and experiential learning through art, science, and culture with hands-on exhibits and art projects. Why go: best for toddlers and preschoolers.
Redmond Computer Museum
Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, 15010 NE 36th St, Microsoft Campus, Building 92, Redmond, WA 98052. See the very first personal computer, explore the latest Microsoft technologies, and delve into the history of innovation through hands-on exhibits. Why go: access a wealth of information about Microsoft including history, operations, facts and figures, and biographies of top executives.
Seattle Computer Museum
Living Computers: Museum + Labs, 2245 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134. One-of-a-kind, hands-on experience with the world’s largest collection of fully restored—and usable—computers from the 1960s to the present, including supercomputers, mainframes, minicomputers, and microcomputers. Plus, the latest developments in robotics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and other uses. Why go: experience vintage computers and explore the realm of current interactive computer technologies.
Seattle Curio Shops
Giant Shoe Museum, Pike Place Market, 1501 Pike Place, #424 – lower level, Seattle, WA. More a display than actual museum (it takes up a wall of space). Why go: see some of the largest shoes in the world.
Mobile Museum of Curious Things. Features oddities from around the world that will intrigue, educate, and entertain you. Why go: It comes to you, housed in a 27ʹ vintage Airstream Trailer.
Official Bad Art Museum of Art at Café Racer, 5828 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA. Fun collection of tacky, quirky, or just plain bad art works. Why go: go for the coffee, stay for the objet d’art.
Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, 1001 Alaskan Way, Pier 54. Seattle, WA 98104. Souvenirs and locally made arts and crafts for sale among oddities and curios, some creepy, but interesting. Why go: shop for souvenirs or enjoy looking at curios.
Issaquah Glass Museum
Art by Fire Glass Gallery & School, 195 Front St N, Issaquah, WA. Glass school and gallery. Why go: watch glassblowing, buy unique glass objects, take classes, hold events.
Redmond Glass Museum
Redmond School of Glass & Gallery, 7102 180th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052 (near SR 520 and 202). Blown glass studio classes, parties, and art gallery. Why go: watch glassblowing, buy unique glass objects, take classes, hold events.
Seattle Glass Museums
Blowing Sands Glass Studio & Gallery, 5805 14th Ave NW, Seattle WA 98107. Northwest artists, glass studio, and gallery. Why go: watch glassblowing, buy unique glass objects.
Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle Center (map), 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109. Permanent exhibition of new and previously exhibited artworks by Tacoma native and internationally renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. Why go: informative self-paced tour of breathtaking glass works, shop museum store.
Glassbaby Hotshop & Gallery, 3406 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122. Watch glassblower artisans make glassbaby votives. Why go: see flagship store and buy glassbaby votives and glasses.
Glasshouse Studio & Gallery, 311 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104. Glass art gallery, glassblowing demos (Mo-Sa 10AM or 1PM), exclusive group tours. Why go: see glassblowing, take a tour, buy unique glass objects.
Pilchuck Glass School gallery, 240 Second Ave S, Seattle WA, 98104. Showcase glass artists from around the world who’ve worked with Pilchuck. Why go: rotating exhibits, works and stories of worldwide glass artists.
Rainier Glass Studio & Gallery, 6006 12th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108. Glass blowing studio and art gallery. Why go: buy unique glass object, schedule glassblowing activity.
Seattle Glassblowing Studio & Gallery, 2227 5th Ave. Seattle, WA 98121. Art gallery and interactive glassblowing studio. Why go: see unique glass objects, buy gifts or learn glassblowing techniques.
Stanwood Glass Museum
Pilchuck Glass School. Only available during public tours in spring, to learn about and see glass making, talk with artists, and tour the campus. Why go: be inspired by nature and learn about the art of glassmaking.
Tacoma Glass Museum
Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St, Tacoma, WA 98402. 500-foot pedestrian walkway connecting the Museum of Glass to the Washington State History Museum. Why go: Most beautiful on a sunny day, free and open 24/7.
Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St, Tacoma, WA 98402. Art gallery, glassworks by international artists and co-founder Dale Chihuly, and glass hot shop. Why go: variety of glass objects and watching glass artists.
Tacoma Glassblowing Studio & Gallery, 114 S. 23rd St, Tacoma, WA 98402. Family business, glass art gallery and glassblowing classes. Why go: buy unique glass object, take glassblowing classes.
History & Culture Museums
Gig Harbor History & Culture Museum
Harbor History Museum, 4121 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor, WA 98335. Preserves the history of the region through educational programs, exhibits, and events in its historic venues and library. Why go: learn about the heritage of the Gig Harbor Peninsula through artifacts, videos, and hands-on exhibits.
Poulsbo History & Culture Museum
Poulsbo Heritage & Maritime Museums, 19010 Front Street NE, Poulsbo, WA. Two museums located blocks apart showcase the cultural heritage and maritime history of Poulsbo and the North Kitsap region. Why go: see historical artifacts and displays.
Richland History & Culture Museum
The REACH Museum, 1943 Columbia Park Trail, Richland, WA 99352. Experience the geological impact of the Ice Age Floods and basalt lava flows in the region. Learn about the Manhattan Project and its continuous influence. Why go: exhibits span natural resources, Native American artifacts, hydroelectric power, atomic power, and nuclear energy.
Seattle History & Culture Museums
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington campus, 17th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98195 Oldest public museum in Washington state. Sits on ancestral land and collaborates with diverse Native populations. Research and collections-based museum with 16M biological, geological and cultural objects from here and around the world dating from the 1700s. Smithsonian affiliate. Why go: massive collection of objects and specimens and to learn about how museums carry out research.
Holocaust Center for Humanity, 2045 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121. Maintains a large collection of artifacts, educational materials, and testimonies about the Holocaust. . Supports teachers in Washington State with Holocaust information. Why go: learn to confront bigotry and indifference, promote human dignity, and act.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Seattle, 319 Second Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104 in the historic Cadillac Hotel building. National Park site with artifacts, interactive exhibits, films, and demos that tell the story of the 1897 Yukon gold rush, including Seattle’s crucial role. Why go: learn about Seattle and Gold Rush history.
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), formerly EMP Museum, Seattle Center (map), 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109. MoPOP’s exhibitions and pop culture content explore the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture from rock ‘n’ roll to present day. Located in the visually stunning building designed by internationally acclaimed architect Frank O. Gehry, with the Space Needle as a backdrop. Why go: explore and understand pop culture.
Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 at South Lake Union Park. Puget Sound history told in rotating and permanent interactive exhibits featuring about 80,000 artifacts (from their collection of 4M). Smithsonian affiliate. Why go: Fun, interactive exhibits and information for visitors and residents alike.
Nordic Heritage Museum, 2655 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107. Moved, expanded, and reopened May 2018. Largest museum in the U.S. featuring artifacts and stories of immigrants from five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Why go: explore Nordic values, traditions, immigrant history, artifacts, folk art, and textiles.
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S, Massachusetts Street, Seattle, WA 98144. Exhibits the history, art, and culture of people of African descent and the Black experience in America, including roots in slavery as well as recent immigrants from Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and other countries. Why go: learning opportunities and multicultural exploration.
The Northwest Nikkei Museum, 1414 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98144. Exhibits Nikkei (Japanese American) heritage and culture via objects and photographs. A project of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington. Why go: small but fascinating history and perspectives.
Wing Luke Asian Museum, 719 South King Street, Seattle, WA 98104. Exhibits history, culture, art, stories, and experiences of Asian Pacific Americans to advance racial and social equity. Named for former WA state attorney general, Wing Luke. Smithsonian affiliate. Why go: authentic perspective on a unique version of the American story.
Des Moines Marine Museum
Marine Science and Technology Center (MAST), 28203 Redondo Beach Dr S, Des Moines, WA 98198. Marine biology center at Highline College. A teaching and research institute and state-of-the-art aquarium with 15 tanks (3,000 gallons) of flow-through seawater displaying over 250 native Puget Sound marine species. Why go: gain knowledge and appreciation for local marine life.
Langley Marine Museum
Langley Whale Center, 117 Anthes Ave, Langley, WA 98260. A project of Orca Network, who works to protect whale habitats. Why go: Learn about orcas and other whales, cetaceans, and marine mammals in the Salish Sea.
Poulsbo Marine Museum
SEA Discovery Center, 18743 Front St NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Educational resource and public aquarium featuring marine life from the Salish Sea, simulated tidepool, movies, and marine-inspired local art. Why go: understand marine environments and get inspired about stewardship of natural resources.
Bremerton Military Museum
Puget Sound Navy Museum, 251 1st St, Bremerton, WA 98337. Portrays shipboard life and chronicles naval heritage in the Pacific Northwest. Along with the Naval Undersea Museum located 10 miles north, they form the Navy Museum Northwest (formerly Bremerton Navy Memorial Museum, as well as Naval Museum of the Pacific) operated by the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. Why go: learn about history and operation of aircraft carriers, submarines, and naval bases.
USS Turner Joy U.S. Naval Destroyer Museum, 300 Washington Beach Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337. Turner Joy’s service included several tours and air-sea rescue duty in the Pacific, but she is most remembered for participation in the Gulf of Tonkin incident that escalated U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Why go: explore a historic ship and learn what it is like to serve on a naval destroyer, in combat or peace.
JBLM Military Museum
Lewis Army Museum, 4320 Main St, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), WA 98433. Visitors without military credentials must take exit 120 to visit the JBLM Lewis Main Visitor Center and present ID to obtain a base pass; see website for acceptable ID. The only certified U.S. Army Museum on the West Coast, located in the WWI-era Red Shield Inn building, preserves the heritage of the Army in the Pacific Northwest through exhibits and artifacts, including uniforms, weapons, and other memorabilia. Why go: gain an appreciation for the role played by the U.S. Army in the exploration, development, and defense of the Pacific Northwest.
Keyport Military Museum
Naval Undersea Museum on the Kitsap Peninsula, 1 Garnett Way, Keyport, WA 98345. Housing the country’s most comprehensive collection of U.S. Navy undersea subjects and activities. Special exhibits: torpedoes, mines, submarines, diving, and undersea vessels. Along with the Puget Sound Navy Museum located 10 miles south, they form the Navy Museum Northwest (formerly Bremerton Navy Memorial Museum, as well as Naval Museum of the Pacific) operated by the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. Why go: discover the wide range of activities that happen undersea.
Seattle Military Museum
Coast Guard Museum Northwest, Pier 36, Base Seattle, 1519 Alaskan Way S, Seattle, WA. One-room building, with hundreds of Coast Guard items on display, including many artifacts, research materials, and large models of coast guard ships. Not much in the way of explanatory materials or historical context. Staffed by friendly, knowledge volunteers. Why go: see and interesting collection of Coast Guard artifacts.
Native American Museums
Seattle Native American Museums
Northwest Native Canoe Center, Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Ave N, 98109. As of April 2018, in the Center is in the planning phase. A collaboration between United Indians of All Tribes and Center for Wooden Boats. Activities will highlight indigenous maritime heritage, including the Carving Shed featuring traditional canoe carvers. Opening date TBA.
Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, located within Discovery Park, 3801 West Government Way, Seattle, WA. Art exhibits by a wide range of local and internationally recognized Native American artists, including contemporary and traditional works. Self-guided tour brochure available for purchase upon arrival. Why go: explore diverse Native American exhibits and arts.
Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center, 4705 W Marginal Way SW, Seattle, WA 98106. A traditional cedar post and beam structure designed in the Puget Salish Longhouse style as collaboration between the Duwamish Tribe and project architect Byron Barnes, a member of the Montana based Blackfeet Tribe. As in ancient times, it is a place for cultural and educational events. Why go: Visit the Native American gift shop & art gallery or attend special events.
Suquamish Native American Museum
Suquamish Museum, Port Madison Indian Reservation, 6861 NE South St, Suquamish, WA. On the Kitsap peninsula, the ancient place on Agate Passage, the site of Old-Man-House village, winter home of Chief Seattle, and heart of the Suquamish People. Culture is more than historical events strung together. The passing of knowledge and values, generation to generation, is the core of Suquamish culture. Why go: The exhibit tells the story of the Suquamish People in a traditional way, displacing modern historical context and inspiring visitors to learn in a different way.
Tulalip Native American Museum
Tulalip Tribes Hibulb Cultural Center, 6410 23rd Avenue NE, Tulalip, WA 98271. The first Tribal facility certified by the state of Washington. A 50-acre natural history preserve with longhouse, research library, gift shop, and exhibits. The exhibits feature history, traditional values, and spiritual beliefs of the group of Tulalip Tribes who are the successors to the tribes and bands signatory to the Treaty of Point Elliott. Why go: learn about the territories and seasonal lifeways of the Tulalip people via historic canoes and archaeological artifacts.
Elbe Railroad Museum
Mt. Rainier Railroad & Logging Museum, 54124 Mountain Hwy E, Elbe WA 98330. Enjoy a steam train ride from Elbe, WA through the forest and across the glacial fed Upper Nisqually River to the museum in the town of Mineral. Explore a comprehensive collection of steam logging locomotives and stories about the pioneers of railroad logging camps early 19th Century. Why go: take a train ride and learn about railroad history.
Snoqualmie Railroad Museum
Northwest Railway Museum, 38625 SE King St, Snoqualmie WA 98065. The museum has one of the most extensive collections in the U.S. and represents the challenges of railroading in the Pacific Northwest, including more than 70 items greater that one ton in weight, plus specialized repair and maintenance equipment, and small objects such as dining car china, uniforms, lanterns, and many others. Why go: learn about the history of railroads in the region.
Science & Engineering Museums
Bremerton Science Museum
Bug & Reptile Museum, 1118 Charleston Beach Rd W, Bremerton, WA 98312. LIVE and specimen bugs and reptiles in kid-friendly hands-on exhibits. Why go: fun family outing to explore the world of bugs and reptiles.
Seattle Science & Engineering Museums
Pacific Science Center, 200 Second Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109. Shows science as a boundless process of inquiry, discovery, and problem solving with programs and events for children, teens, families, and adults. Why go: learn to explore, question, theorize, evaluate, and innovate in every aspect of your life.
Georgetown Steam Plant, 6605 13th Avenue South, Seattle. Access is from the east side of Ellis Avenue South, opposite South Warsaw Street. Tour this National Historic Landmark built in 1907 near the Duwamish River. The plant represents several important developments. Vertical Curtis turbines—among the last of their kind left in situ in the U.S. along with most of the original ancillary equipment. An early example of reinforced concrete construction using the “fast track”, process which emphasized the value and efficiency of reinforced concrete over structural steel. And, a significant example of Neo-Classical architecture. Why go: learn about steam power, industrial buildings, and electrical engineering.
Bremerton Puppet Museum
Valentinetti Puppet Museum, 280 4th Street, Bremerton, WA 98337. Highly rated collection showcases the variety and craftsmanship of puppet artists from around the world. Why go: explore the unique art form of puppetry and storytelling.
Seattle Specialty Museums
Gates Foundation Discovery Center, 440 Fifth Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109. Exhibits show the great challenges affecting the lives of millions of people around the world, the progress being made, and reasons to be optimistic. Why go: Discover how the Gates Foundation is developing innovative and how you can make a difference on a cause you care about.
Last Resort Fire Department Museum in Seattle, 301-2nd Ave South, Seattle, WA. The largest collection of antique motorized fire apparatus in the Pacific Northwest. The rigs can also be seen in parades, car and truck shows, and other events throughout the year. Why go: See antique fire apparatus, retired Seattle Fire Department equipment, and fire-related historic artifacts.
Seattle Death Museum, 102 Cherry St. in Seattle WA. The first death museum in the Pacific Northwest features vintage mourning jewelry and attire, coffins, embalming tools and other items related to death, dying, and burial. Why go: if you are curious about death.
Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum. Presents the historic, cultural, technological and social transitions of the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Office items such as weaponry, uniforms, and other artifacts dating back to the 1880’s. Closed in 2018, reopening TBA.
Seattle Pinball Museum, 508 Maynard Ave S, Seattle WA 98104. Vintage pinball machines and present day interactive display of kinetic art. Why go: play games to your heart’s content.
Marysville Telephone Museum
Norwesco Telephone Museum, Marysville Historical Society Museum, 6805 Armar Rd, Marysville, WA 98270. Fascinating collection of vintage telephones and switching equipment. Why go: see vintage telephones and switching equipment.
Seattle Communications Museum
Museum of Communications, 7000 East Marginal Way S, Seattle, WA 98108. See antique telephones, switchboards, and outside displays (poles, cables, splicing equipment, and tools). The only museum in the U.S. with a working Panel and Crossbar electromechanical central-office switches, and Step-by-Step and Crossbar PBX equipment. Why go: learn about or pursue an interest in telecommunication technology.
Tacoma Telephone Museum
Tacoma Telephone Pioneer Museum, 757 Fawcett Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98402. Extensive collection of vintage phones, a wire chief’s desk, switchboards, a working PBX (Private Branch Exchange, a telephone network used within a company), and other related equipment, photographs, and documents. Why go: learn about telecommunication history and equipment.