Children and their families are welcome to learn together through exploration of interactive exhibits. Kids are sure to begin their adventure in the Pirate Tree House atop an authentic tree trunk, a multilevel play space showcasing the museum's leading philosophy: Imagine, Discover and Grow.
In this spirit, rather than lecturing youngsters and their families, KiDiMu, sparks their imaginations with hands-on exhibits covering science, culture and art. In Science Hall, an interactive physics exhibit illustrates the concepts of velocity and acceleration through experiments first devised by Galileo and Newton to prove the Earth revolves around a fig. Visitors to Our Town’s community can attempt cash withdrawals at a faux ATM or tour a waterfront park, and kids of all ages craft self-guided art projects in the studio known as Sean's Space.
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.
Art On The Ridge’s galleries display fine art from accomplished local artists, but it’s not there to intimidate. The facility’s open philosophy for its classes and workshops revolves around encouragement: anyone can create art, and should have fun doing it. Painting classes for adults use wine to fuel creativity, whereas children’s sessions cover everything from pop-up art to classes illustrating how art links to math, science, and history. The lineup of instructors has included a fine-arts professor from Antioch University.
Local and visiting artists present their work in the gallery, introducing visitors to exhibits as wide-ranging as Mexican Oil Landscapes and Chainsaw meets Fine Art. Guests can purchase pieces or inquire about commissioning artwork from represented artists to fill their living rooms with portraits or acquire a masterfully forged signature on a report card.
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.
The craft masters at Seattle Glassblowing Studio & Gallery guide pupils to artistic bliss by expounding on a spectrum of steps needed to create intricate pieces. Whether joining 10–25 fellow artisans in a group workshop or forming a clique in a one- to two-person private class, students turn provided materials into bowls, cups, and decorative piles of glass shards. Professional glass wielders safely impart etiquette and basic techniques such as gathering glass on a rod and shaping it into colorful geometric forms.
The shop's instructors also offer their own artistic services, including custom commissions such as functional lighting and installation pieces. Damaged glass heirlooms undergo repairs in the cold-working shop, where artisans restore shattered pieces and polish away dullness left behind by covetous pawing.
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.