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“Misleading Museum” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Whatcom Museum

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Whatcom Museum
121 Prospect St, Bellingham, WA 98225
360-778-8930
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Ranked #32 of 33 Attractions in Bellingham
Type: Museums, Art Museums, History Museums
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Located in downtown Bellingham, WA, the Whatcom Museum features revolving exhibitions of fine art and Northwest history, educational and enteraining programs, Family Interactive Gallery, and an extensive photo archives.
GIG HARBOR
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Misleading Museum”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2014

So for the price of admission you get into 3 different buildings. The old city hall is cool and interesting. The building right next door is okay; it has a cool bird exhibit. But like other readers said, the new modern light-catcher museum is misleading. When we went only 1 of the 2 exhibit rooms were open. It's huge inside and seems to have been built more for meetings, parties, events, etc rather than a museum. Very disappointing.

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10 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Bellingham, Washington
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“The Lightcatcher art museum, in the modern building, is a rip-off”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2013

This review is limited to the Lightcatcher, the modern building that houses the Whatcom Museum's gallery of art.

Though the building looks big enough from the outside, much of the inside is given over to a courtyard, cafe (Kackink!), the obligatory museum shop (Kachink!), and high ceilings. That leaves little space for actual exhibits - essentially two rooms and some hallways. Admission to this scant offering, no photos allowed, is $10!

If you want to reassure yourself that you are not really missing anything, occasionally, on Art Walk nights, admission is free. But you can never be sure on *which* Art Walk night, nor when even one of those nights gets preempted by a "private event."

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellingham, Washington
Top Contributor
290 reviews 290 reviews
64 attraction reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
“Just average, just "okay" not a must see but if you have time”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

A somewhat smaller city museum with some interesting but not "must see" works that periodically come through, the staff was friendly enough and pleasant, I do not remember the pricing really, is it something you gotta do if you're in Bellingham ? No, not really.But if you have time check it out and then go out to the back and see the view from the top of the hill overlooking the water or go down and eat some bbq pizza at Chuckanut Brewery just down the back stairs and through the park to the right across the street.

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellingham, Washington
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Overpriced”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

This is a fair museum at best. The City spent way more than budget and are now trying to recover by overcharging.

Visited February 2013
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Seattle
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Cool Buildings + Eclectic Exhibits”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

After reading about the WM's current exhibits, we headed north from Seattle, and it was worth the trip to this local treasure! This museum occupies three buildings in the downtown Bellingham arts district. We enjoyed the amazing archival photographs displayed in the Old City Hall, plus the current exhibit of Pacific Northwest landscape paintings. After a walkabout and lunch break, we headed over to the Lightcatcher Building, an attractive LEED Silver sustainable building designed by revered Northwest architecture firm Olson Kundig. Be sure to visit before March 24 to view the very funky "Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection." These 65 paintings by 26 contemporary Chicano artists will tickle your art and cosmic consciousness. The California Impressionists exhibit from the Irvine Museum, which closed 2/17/13, evoked the light and warmth of California land and seascapes. Always a delight on a gray Northwest afternoon.

Visited February 2013
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