The craftsmen at New Dimensions Frame & Mirror do not mess around when it comes to custom framing. Not only do they handcraft each frame in-house, they use museum standards and conservation materials to protect prized pieces. They also boast a constantly rotating collection of artwork to fill empty frames, as well as custom mirrors that range from ornate to contemporary.
Tucked inside an art deco building within Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park, the economically-sized Seattle Asian Art Museum showcases cultural artifacts from China, Japan, Korea and India. From silk screens to sculpture, scrolls to woodwork, the museum nods at history at every turn. It also includes a children’s room that lets little ones learn by doing and creating. Outside, Noguchi’s “Black Sun” sculpture lines a decorative pool within Volunteer Park, making for a wonderful photo vantage point that includes Seattle’s Space Needle in the background. Through the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas, the museum even offers a Saturday lecture series on visual and literary arts topics. Bargain-hunters take note: The museum is free to all visitors the first Thursday of each month.
Presented as a gift to Seattle residents from Charles and Emma Frye, two philanthropic Seattleites, the Frye Art Museum in the First Hill neighborhood is lean and low when viewed from the street. The building’s stark mid-century concrete profile belies the rich collection of artwork and airy galleries held inside. Opened in 1952 as a home for the couple’s private collection of 232 paintings, entrance is free in perpetuity for Seattle residents. And while the Frye founding collection focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings, visiting exhibitions have expanded this content and routinely feature contemporary artists such as Mark Mitchell, Joshua Kohl, Jason Hirata, Henry Darger and Helmi Juvonen, among others. The museum also hosts a gift shop and small cafe with outdoor seating in warm months, but is closed on Mondays.
Within the century-old confines of Uptown Glassworks' warehouse, furnaces melt handfuls of kaleidoscopic frit into malleable shapes manipulated by a team of professional glass blowers. But these tradesmen don't just create works for the gallery; they also share their secrets with students in a variety of activities, from introductory courses on making beads and paperweights to advanced instruction that can be applied toward college credit or used to fix the pockmarked walls of glass houses.
During the shop's Blow-Your-Own sessions, participants apply color to clear, molten glass that has recently emerged from a 2,000-degree furnace, then blow their mixture into 1 of 20 different shapes. The next day, patrons can pick up their cooled and packaged creations, comparing their handiwork to the gallery's collection of products, which are made by more than 90 local and regional glass artists.
As visitors wander among The Museum of Flight's more than 150 historic aircraft and spacecraft, they can chart humanity's flight path from the earliest balloons to the latest space shuttles—and marvel at how aviation has changed everything from warfare to transportation to rescue operations. Celebrity planes include a supersonic SR-71 Blackbird, built for a Cold War mission and capable of zipping from Los Angeles to New York in just 58 minutes, and a former Air Force One Boeing 707 that served as a flying oval office for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. After visiting a retired supersonic Concorde—one of only 20 ever built by the British—guests move from the airpark and the great gallery of planes to the museum’s other exhibits. Here, thousands of artifacts—uniforms, engines, and even a carved white elephant that astronaut Michael Collins carried into space on the Apollo 11 mission—enlighten as they lead groups to a kids' flight zone and a collection of to-scale plane models. Visitors can also walk through the Red Barn, the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Company.
The museum's numerous interactive exhibits give users a more visceral sense of what it was like to fly the machines that surround them. The X-Pilot simulator lets visitors practice flying a classic WWII fighter or a modern jet rather than the saddled pigeons they’re used to. Space: Exploring the New Frontier extends your reach to galactic horizons as you play Mission Control to a landing space shuttle or explore a replica of the International Space Station's Destiny Research Laboratory. Here, inventions such as the Apollo 17 lunar module ascent-stage mockup wow aspiring astronauts alongside a contemporary technological duplicate of Sputnik 1, likely made by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.