Visiting friends, mountain biking on the Umpqua River Trail, Powell’s… There were a few things that were on the “must-do” list for the road trip of 2012. The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA was another one. I’d seen some of Dale Chihuly’s amazing work, and a whole museum devoted to glass sounded pretty fantastic.
Pacific Northwest artists such as Chihuly have been very involved in the Studio Glass movement, so why not a Glass Museum in Tacoma? The idea surfaced in the early 90s, fortuitously at a time when the city was looking to redevelop a waterfront area. The Museum opened in July of 2002.
The Museum of Glass provides a dynamic learning
environment to appreciate the medium of glass
through creative experiences, collections
Adopted January 24, 2007
The building itself is striking. Quite distinctive, especially the cone that houses the Hot Shop, but not out-of-place with the surroundings. It gives a nod to the industrial past and the modern future. There are several outdoor exhibits that can be enjoyed any time with no admission: the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Martin Blank’s Fluent Steps and Howard Ben Tre’s Water Forest.
Inside there are lovely exhibit spaces for the permanent collection and special exhibitions. The exhibits up when I visited included MAESTRO: Recent Works by Lino Tagliapietra, SCAPES: Alessandro Diaz De Santillana and Laura De Santillana, ORIGINS: Early Works by Dale Chihuly and pieces from the Kids Design Glass program. It’s quite mind-boggling what glass can be made into. The colors and shapes are wonderful and fantastic. Part of the musuem is a studio where you can watch glass blowing in action, which is fantastic.