Tacoma is home to the Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art, the only American museum that features contemporary glass art; there are very few museums in the world with such a focus. Opened to the public in 2002, the stunning building was designed by a team of architects and engineers led by internationally-known architect Arthur Erickson. Its sleek, four-story structure offers several levels of outdoor plazas.
Reflecting pools and seating areas make these plazas perfect for relaxing and enjoying views of the waterfront, the Tacoma Dome, and Mount Rainier. A tilted 90-foot-tall steel cone, reminiscent of the sawmill wood burners of old, counterbalances the horizontal lines of the building.
Visitors can watch glass artists at work in the hot shop amphitheater, which is located within the metal-clad cone. Museum exhibitions feature more than glass art. Contemporary paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and installations comprise the majority of the art on view in the museum's gallery.
The interior of Tacoma's Museum of Glass features state-of-the-art facilities, including:
- 13,000 square feet of exhibition space
- The Hot Shop Amphitheatre - watch the team of glass artists at work
- A high-tech resource center
- A 180-seat theater
- The Museum Café
- The Museum Store - purchase glass art created in the museum's hot shop, as well as other items of art glass, glass jewelry, and other book and gift items.
In addition to viewing the museum's exhibitions and collections, you can enjoy the Museum of Glass's education and outreach programs, which include:
- Family Day programs
- Classes and lectures
- A hands-on art studio
- Films and performances
- Workshops and symposiums
- Gallery talks
The Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art is located on the Thea Foss Waterway in downtown Tacoma, Washington.
1801 Dock Street Tacoma, WA 98402
While you're at Tacoma's Museum of Glass
The Museum of Glass is part of Tacoma's museum district, making it a place where you can park once and enjoy a whole day of interesting attractions. A pedestrian bridge - the Chihuly Bridge of Glass - links the waterfront Museum of Glass to the attractions on the south side of Interstate 705, including the Washington State History Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum. All are excellent museum's, well worth exploring.
The Bridge of Glass was developed by a partnership between the City of Tacoma, world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, and the Museum of Glass. The 500-foot bridge features one of the largest outdoor installations of Chihuly glass, valued at approximately $12 million. And since the Bridge of Glass is outside of any museum, admission is free.
Other attractions within walking distance are Union Station and the University of Washington - Tacoma campus. Harmon Brewery & Eatery, located in a historic building across the street from the Washington State History Museum, is an excellent place to rest and recharge with some great pub food.