Museums in Mercer Island

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The 90-minute stroll through Seattle’s micro-China starts at the Chinatown-International District museum. A friendly and engaging guide leads tours through authentic Asian markets, whirling with bustling merchants, brightly colored goods, and savory smells of incense or freshly roasted duck. As you learn the history and significance of historical landmarks, the diverse languages of the city's Asian community comingle melodiously in the air, and the spirit of a 7,000-year-old culture flits through the incomparable Seattle neighborhood like a flutterbug in a bag of cotton balls.

719 S King St
Seattle,
WA
US

The Whitney's Curate Your Own Membership program is an innovative new approach to museum membership, allowing members-to-be to choose their own customized package of benefits. Each member gets a set of core benefits that include unlimited free admission, exclusive exhibition access, discounts, and more. From there, Whitney members can curate their own gallery of perks, choosing from a series of add-ons—the Social, Insider, Learning, Family, or Philanthropy series. Basic memberships include one series add-on, but this deal includes two series add-ons with either option.

1300 1st Ave
Seattle,
WA
US

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.

9404 E Marginal Way S
Tukwila,
WA
US

EMP Museum is a tribute to cultural icons as well as a breeding ground for the next generation of musicians and societal shapers. Here, attendees don’t just stand before exhibits that explore Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, but throw down their own musical chops in interactive exhibits such as Sound Lab, where they riff on an electric guitar, bang on drums, and tweak acoustics behind a mixing console. On Stage also gets guests to grip instruments, but under the hot lights of the stage, where they can pretend to entertain legions of fans or accompany their nephew’s birthday party.

The museum also curates rotating exhibits that celebrate modern cultural achievements. These have showcased the impact of Nirvana’s career alongside historic artifacts as diverse as Hendrix’s Stratocaster from Woodstock and Neo’s black futuristic coat from Matrix Reloaded. As home to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, the museum also spotlights luminaries such as Ray Bradbury and Steven Spielberg, who have shaped a generation’s imagination while warning people about the perils of suppressing ingenuity, ideas, and viewpoints.

All of the educational programming and special events unfold inside the architectural jewel that is the EMP Museum. Designed by Frank O. Gehry, the building’s 3,000 stainless-steel panels shimmer and seemingly swing through the air. This fluidity, which can alter its appearance depending on the time of day and light conditions, is about “reminding audiences that music and culture is constantly evolving,” as the museum’s website states.

325 5th Ave N
Seattle,
WA
US

Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, known around town by its MOHAI acronym, recently relocated to a waterfront location in South Lake Union, and is now housed in the former Naval Reserve Armory building. It’s a smart change for the popular historical and educational spot, considering its new proximity to some of Seattle’s biggest businesses: outdoor retailer REI and Amazon.com. The museum’s permanent collection traces the city’s history, with nods to the city’s 1962 World’s Fair, the surprising 1999 WTO riots, and the birth and growth of aerospace giant Boeing. Temporary exhibits address topics as diverse as Seattle-specific artists, the history of gay culture citywide or the many engineering feats that have helped a region filled with bodies of water and steep slopes stay connected. The newly-opened Bezos Center for Innovation explores Seattle’s history of entrepreneurship and engages guests in interactive activities to elicit their inner CEO.

2700 24th Ave E
Seattle,
WA
US

The Children's Museum, Seattle inspires curiosity and creativity in children between 10 months and 10 years with 22,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits that explore science, arts, and cultural education. The museum's collection of permanent exhibits boosts brainpower with feats of engineering, miniature global villages, an aquarium, and a theater, where kids can don costumes and reenact famous monologues from Sponge Bob. The museum heightens the joy of discovery with such activities as summer camps, birthday parties, partnership outreach, and after-hours events.

305 Harrison St
Seattle,
WA
US