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List of museums in Seattle facts for kids

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Seattle Asian Art Museum
The Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) in Volunteer Park is a designated city landmark. From 1933 to 1981, the building housed the main Seattle Art Museum (SAM).
SAM Art Ladder 02
The "Art Ladder": the main staircase of the 1991 Robert Venturi-designed wing of SAM.
MOHAI Armory building at Lake Union Park west side
The Naval Reserve Armory, now home to MOHAI.
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Artist and musician Whiting Tennis (left) performs with his band at an opening at the Henry Art Gallery.

Seattle, Washington is home to four major art museums and galleries: the Frye Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle Art Museum, and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Several Seattle museums and cultural institutions that are not specifically art museums also have excellent art collections, most notably the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, which has an excellent collection of Native American artwork.

Seattle is also home to well over 100 commercial art galleries, at least a dozen non-profit art galleries, and perhaps a hundred artists' studios that are open to the public at least once a month. About half of these galleries and studios are concentrated in one neighborhood, Pioneer Square.

Outside of the realm of art, Seattle has several other notable museums and similar institutions, the most notable including:

  • The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, on the campus of the University of Washington, has a large collection of botanical, zoological, and geologic specimens in addition to an anthropology collection notable for its coverage of Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.
  • The Museum of History & Industry is the largest heritage organization in the State of Washington, with a collection of over 4 million artifacts, photographs, and archival materials, primarily related to the history of Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region. Their public facility is located in the historic Naval Reserve Armory at Lake Union Park in South Lake Union.
  • Regional history figures prominently in other museum's including the Center for Wooden Boats, a maritime heritage museum on Lake Union; the Museum of Flight, which incorporates Boeing's original manufacturing plant; and the Museum of Communications.
  • Key ethnic aspects of Seattle's cultural mix are represented by the Daybreak Star Cultural Center in Discovery Park, operated by United Indians of All Tribes; the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard, which honors Seattle's Scandinavian immigrants; and the Wing Luke Asian Museum in the International District which focuses on the culture, art, and history of Asian Pacific Americans; and the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in the Central District which explores the art, history, and culture of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest.
  • The Seattle Aquarium is located on piers on the Elliott Bay waterfront; the Woodland Park Zoo on Phinney Ridge in north Seattle is one of the country's leading zoos, notable especially for its innovations in open and naturalistic zoo exhibits.
  • The campus of Seattle Center includes the Pacific Science Center, Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Seattle Children's Museum.
  • The Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum in Pioneer Square honors the city's police force.
  • The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is also in Pioneer Square tells the story of the people going to Alaska to search for gold.
  • The Living Computer Museum is in SoDo and exhibits the history of computing. Vintage computers are displayed for interactive public use.

Museums

Name Neighborhood Type Summary
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center Lower Queen Anne History website, innovations and inventions around the world to make life better
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture University District Natural history Part of the University of Washington, includes fossils, natural history dioramas, Native American artifacts, Pacific Rim cultures exhibit, gems and minerals
Center for Wooden Boats South Lake Union Maritime Historic wooden sailboats, rowboats and other boats, locations in Lake Union Park and Cama Beach State Park
Center on Contemporary Art Seattle Art website - contemporary exhibitions at various locations
Chihuly Garden and Glass Lower Queen Anne Art Studio glass of Dale Chihuly, located in the Seattle Center
Coast Guard Museum Northwest SoDo Military Includes U.S. Coast Guard ship models, uniforms, photos and artifacts
Daybreak Star Cultural Center Magnolia Art Native American art gallery and cultural center
EMP Museum Lower Queen Anne Media Popular culture, includes rock & roll and popular music memorabilia, interactive exhibits, Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
Frye Art Museum First Hill Art Painting and sculpture from the nineteenth century to the present
Georgetown Steam Plant Georgetown Technology Steam engines in the former power plant
Giant Shoe Museum Downtown Commodity Located in Pike Place Market, collection of giant shoes
Henry Art Gallery University District Art The art museum of the University of Washington, includes contemporary art, photography, 19th-century art, Japanese and West Coast ceramics, costumes and textiles
History House of Greater Seattle Fremont History - Local History and heritage of Seattle and its neighborhoods, currently closed, opening in new facility in 2017
Jack Straw New Media Gallery University District Art website, non-profit multidisciplinary audio arts center
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Pioneer Square History Seattle's role in the Klondike Gold Rush
Last Resort Fire Department Museum Downtown Firefighting website, vintage fire trucks, equipment, uniforms, located at the HQ for the Seattle Fire Department
Living Computer Museum SoDo Computer History of the development of computers
Log House Museum West Seattle Local history website, operated by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society
Milepost 31 Downtown History website, history of Pioneer Square and the construction of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, features model of Bertha (tunnel boring machine)
Museum of Communications Georgetown Technology Formerly known as the Vintage Telephone Equipment Museum, historic telephone equipment
Museum of Flight South Aerospace Incorporates Boeing's original manufacturing plant, includes private and military aircraft
Museum of History and Industry South Lake Union History Washington's history and culture
Nordic Heritage Museum Ballard Ethnic - Nordic Heritage of Seattle's Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish immigrants
Northwest African American Museum Central District Ethnic - African American African American heritage in the Northwest
Northwest Nikkei Museum Central District Ethnic Operated by the Japanese Cultural Community Center, heritage and history of the Pacific Northwest’s Nikkei community
Northwest Seaport South Lake Union Maritime Includes the Arthur Foss tugboat, Lightship 83
Olympic Sculpture Park Downtown Art 9-acre sculpture park
Pacific Science Center Lower Queen Anne Science Exhibits include health, dinosaurs, space, human body, Puget Sound, technology
Photographic Center Northwest Capitol Hill Art website, includes a contemporary photography gallery
Seattle Art Museum Downtown Art 3 facilities: main museum with diverse collections, Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park
Seattle Asian Art Museum Capitol Hill Art Asian art, facility of the Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Central College M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery Capitol Hill Art website
Seattle Children's Museum Lower Queen Anne Children's Located in the Seattle Center
Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame SoDo Sports Located at Safeco Field
Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum Downtown Law enforcement History of policing in the Pacific Northwest
Seattle Pinball Museum Chinatown-International District Amusement website, vintage pinball machines
Seattle University Galleries First Hill Art Hedreen Galley at the Lee Center for the Arts, Kinsey Gallery, Vachon Gallery
Steamship Virginia V South Lake Union Maritime 1922 steamship
The Unity Museum University District Religious website, peace, justice, and the Bahá'í Faith, locally and internationally
Wing Luke Asian Museum Chinatown-International District Ethnic - Pan Asian Pacific American Culture, art and history of Asian Pacific Americans
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List of museums in Seattle Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.