Opens March 16, 2017, Old City Hall
This new exhibit in Old City Hall provides a glimpse into the local history and culture of the Victorian Era, when taxidermy flourished and mounted animals often decorated interior spaces. For the Museum, this collection of birds is also important to the building’s history. If it hadn’t been for John M. Edson, Old City Hall might not be standing here today. While city officials were considering demolishing it, Edson saw an opportunity to not only save the building, but also to create a public museum within its walls. He dreamed of having a permanent home for his bird specimen collection, and the museum became the perfect showcase.
Now, more than 75 years later, the Whatcom Museum is taking this important collection and reinterpreting it as an educational experience. Designed in collaboration with the North Cascades Audubon Society, the new exhibit will provide opportunities to learn about bird migration, conservation success stories, birds in peril, and the importance of studying bird specimens today. Alongside the interpretive panels and the birds themselves, the Hall of Birds will provide a variety of interactive opportunities, including video clips of birds in our local habitats, audio files of Puget Sound-area bird calls, and hands-on activities for children. We look forward to sharing this important collection with visitors for years to come.
From the beginning of its 50-year history, Whatcom Community College (WCC) has been recognized as an innovator. Talk to people who worked at the College in the early days (when the college offered classes at a hodgepodge of buildings throughout the county) and you’ll hear some unbelievable stories. But the College, and its graduates, thrived. Today, Whatcom is regarded as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges. This exhibition will engage visitors with “groovy” WCC memorabilia, recorded memories and opportunities for guests to share their own Whatcom stories. Join us as we showcase how WCC helps graduates to transform their lives and our community to thrive. Learn more at whatcom.edu/50.
February 4 – May 28, 2017, Lightcatcher Building
Curated by Patricia Leach, Executive Director
Sponsored by Heritage Bank
Images of Resilience: Chicana/o Art and its Mexican Roots is an exhibition that explores the development of Chicana/o art, from its beginnings in Mexican art of the early 1900s, to the Chicana/o movement of the 1960s and ’70s, to its relevance today. Images of Resilience reflects how Chicana/o art has been a part of community building, history making, and cultural citizenship for Mexican-Americans and Chicana/os. The exhibition will feature artwork focusing on Mexican art trends in the early twentieth century, as well as artworks that arose from the Chicana/o civil rights movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Post-revolution Mexican art is typified by a shift from European academic styles to what we consider traditional Mexican art today, including illustrations of skeletons, or calaveras.
The exhibition features work from Los Tres Grandes—Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siquieros, and Jose Clemente Orozco, three internationally prominent artists originally hired by the Mexican government in the 1920s to create identifiably Mexican art. This new style emphasized their cultural roots with a respect for non-Spanish traditions and instilled a patriotic pride in the Mexican people. The Chicana/o movement of the ’60s and ’70s grew from a cultural reclamation and struggle for social justice. Drawing on styles created post-revolution, this era of Chicana/o art deals with rural themes—agriculture, religious holidays, folk heritage—and the new urbanized lives that the Mexican-Americans were living, shown through pop culture, cars, and Hollywood iconography.
PARTY > Members see it first at the member reception! Friday, February 3, 5 – 7 PM at the Lightcatcher building.
ARTIST LECTURE > Featuring Seattle-based artists Cecilia Concepción Alvarez and Alfredo Arreguín, Saturday, February 4, 2pm at Old City Hall.
DOCENT TOURS > Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 1:30 PM at the Lightcatcher building, beginning February 12, 2017.
FILM SCREENING > The Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival presents Chicano Legacy: 40 Años, Sunday, February 19, 2pm at Old City Hall.
LECTURE > Featuring artist and scholar Amalia Mesa-Bains, Wednesday, March 22, 12:30pm at Old City Hall.
January 14 – May 14, 2017, Lightcatcher building
The Historic New Orleans Collection marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with the release of the book and exhibition The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City. Traveling to the Whatcom Museum, courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection, this photo exhibition features the haunting black-and-white images of New Orleans-based photographer David G. Spielman. His photographs chronicle the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the arrested processes of rebuilding and recovery that persist in many neighborhoods. Spielman and his camera have canvassed the city since Katrina’s landfall, marking the passage of time through a slow decay of architecture and a rapid growth of plant life.
His confrontation with his subjects is unflinching, and from his photographs emerge stories of neglect, renewal, and perseverance within an altered cityscape. Spielman captured the essence of hope and despair in his powerful pictures of Katrina’s devastation, and even after ten years, the recovery of the city is both amazing and incomplete. The result is this poignant portrait of rebirth and blight, perfect for an artist who’s a master of black and white.
Although these photographs document a part of America that is far from the Pacific Northwest, it is a reminder that we are all affected by natural disasters. The effects of earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes are a concern to us in the Northwest and we hope this exhibition will help people consider the importance of disaster preparedness.
Ongoing, Old City Hall
Curated by Jeff Jewell, Photo Archives Historian
Before the development of color film, there was a way to make a color photograph — you painted it by hand! Known as tinting, it’s a meticulous, time-consuming process. The exhibition Kinseys In Color features fifteen examples of this art form by Darius and Tabitha Kinsey, whose half-century in commercial photography is renowned for views of the early Northwest timber industry. Kinseys In Color offers a different aspect of the Kinsey legacy, one focused on scenic views and Tabitha’s talent at hand-tinting prints.
The Museum’s 1892 Old City Hall building features a variety of exhibits that tell the stories of the building’s architecture, the city’s early days, and the waterfront history.
Get a sense of place, and where we are in this fourth corner of the country, through an audio-visual journey of Old City Hall and the early days of Bellingham. Located on the main level of Old City Hall, in the gallery that was once the first mayor of Bellingham’s office in the late 1890s, you’ll learn a variety of historical facts and trivia.
MARITIME HISTORY GALLERY:
Walk into the second floor Allsop Gallery for a lesson on Bellingham’s maritime heritage. From early steam ships, to fisheries, to notable schooners plying the shores of Bellingham Bay, you’ll get a waterfront history overview through photographs, artifacts, interactives, and model ships while looking through the gallery windows to the Bay.
JOHN M. EDSON HALL OF BIRDS:
Partnering with the North Cascades Audubon Society, this exhibit features our founding collection of more than 500 mounted birds, with interpretation, videos, and hands-on activities highlighting Pacific Northwest flyway zones, migration patterns, habitats, nests, and more.
Ongoing, Old City Hall
Curated by Jeff Jewell, Photo Archives Historian
Bellingham’s parks have always been a locally loved and widely admired part of the city. This collection from the Whatcom Museum’s Photo Archives combines two previous photo exhibitions with a parks theme. The collection features historical views of Bellingham parks including images of Cornwall, Fairhaven, Whatcom Falls, and Elizabeth parks, among others. It’s a celebration of the community green in glorious black and white.
On the 2nd floor passageway of the Lightcatcher Building
Featuring fifteen historical sports images from Bellingham’s past, these black and white photos from the Museum’s Archives include team portraits, action shots of playground champs, gym class tumblers, track & field high-hurdlers, lacrosse pioneers, and field hockey icons, among others. The ephemeral “glory days” of amateur athletes, fodder for embellishment later in life, were captured by gifted photographers J.W. Sandison, Jack Carver, Dobbs & Fleming, Ray Clift and Tore Ofteness.