Posted by: Elizabeth | September 8, 2010

Not just any museum

Last Friday, I decided to knock out #13 on the 30 for 30 list.

That’s right, I visited a museum.

On purpose.

By my own choice.

And it wasn’t just any old museum, either:

History Museum

It was a HISTORY museum.

Now this might not be a big deal to my father or husband, both of whom have DEGREES in history, but for me, the girl who did everything in her power to avoid any history classes beyond the requirements of high school, it was kind of a big deal.

The crazy thing is, as much as I’ve always said I hate history, I’ve realized in the wisdom of my old(er) age that history is really just a bunch of stories.  And I do LOVE stories.  So I kept that in mind as I headed to the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma (even though I don’t so much love museums and generally swing through and glance at the pictures and get out as quickly as possible).  Crazy thing is that it was kind of fun!  I even read a bunch of the little placards on the wall.  I know you’re impressed.

I didn’t visit any of the permanent exhibits (I’ll see those next time…), but I saw all of the special exhibits, and they were really interesting!  There’s a big and really neat exhibit on the Arts and Crafts Movement in the Northwest.  Turns out the influence is a lot stronger here because of the materials naturally available – which is awesome because I love the arts-and-crafts-influenced art and architecture!

Arts and crafts window

Color block print by Elizabeth Colborne

There was also an exhibit on the icons of the northwest which was really fun.  This was my favorite poster:

Seattle World's Fair Poster

Seattle World's Fair Poster

They also had temporary exhibits on the history/evolution of chess, including several really cool chess sets from different places all over the world, and a small exhibit on Native American art.  Overall, I liked the museum!  Here are some more photos:

I think this speaks for itself.

The state seal of Washington (in a whole bunch of different woods, but I can't remember which ones).

Incredibly unflattering self-portrait to prove I was there.

My sticker-ticket

Another cool thing about the history museum is that it’s right across the freeway from the Glass Museum, and they’re connected by this cool “bridge of glass.”  The whole bridge isn’t glass, but there’s a lot of art glass on the bridge.  I didn’t actually go to the glass museum (seriously, two museums in one day? plus I’ve been there before…) but I did walk over to see the bridge up close.  This is the ceiling of the covered part:

Ceiling of the Chihuly bridge

And there are two of these towers:

Glass tower

Can you even believe this is glass??

Close-up of glass tower

After leaving the museum, I walked down to a nearby downtown park where they were having an interactive art exhibit.  Someone had made and painted lots of wooden letters and left them on these steps, and people were welcome to come and move the letters around to make words.  Here’s what I did:

It's true.

SweetPea's initials in colors that match her room in case I want to frame it and hang it up.

And a few other shots from the day:

Extra letters

This little one couldn't spell yet, but sure had a knack for finding all the o's and lining them up.

This bicycle was outside the downtown cupcake shop. Doesn't it look like a painting?

Bottom line: the museum thing wasn’t so bad.  It was especially nice going by myself, when I could go at my own pace and not stay long enough to get bored with it.  I might even go back sometime.  But not until I’ve done the other 28 things on the list…



  1. Congrats! We went to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria because it was Scott’s turn to choose the activity. But I secretly admit that I enjoyed it, too. This one looks interesting as well. I think I love the interactive art with the letters the most. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I am OVERLY impressed. My dad LOVES to read all of the placards. I like to look at the pictures :)

    I was intrigued by the cupcake shop!

  3. Ok, LOVED this. I love, love, LOVE the idea of the wooden letters and the arranging of them to spell things. And, I LOL’d at the little guy and his “o”‘s. Classic. ALSO, I have a thing for pictures of bikes (not sure why as I don’t particularly like to ride them), so the bike shot made me gasp. Love the streamers on the handlebars.

    Nice post, kudos for knocking one off the list!

    • Thanks! The letters were very cool. People had clearly written birthday messages and “will you marry me?” might even have been up there. So fun! I’m sad that they’re gone now. I am WAY behind on the list – 28 to go and only 9 months, but you gotta start somewhere. :)

  4. Couldn’t resist delivering a bit of good news, preacher woman? “Love wins” is fantastic!

  5. I love the arts and crafts movement probably the only reason i might consider moving to the pacific northwest.

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