Kelly Bjork, Seattle, WA; Tiger Overhead, 2016; Gouache and pencil on paper, 19 x 15 in. Courtesy of the artist.

June 11 – September 10, 2017, Lightcatcher

Juror: Catharina Manchanda, Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seattle Art Museum

This exhibition is supported by the Whatcom Museum Advocates, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham.

The Whatcom Museum is hosting the second Bellingham National Juried Art Exhibition and Awards. Featuring more than 60 artworks by 29 artists from around the country, the artwork represents interpretations on the theme of “drawing practice” in a variety of media. The top three artists, chosen by the juror, received cash awards, and the exhibition includes a popular choice award. The artwork selected features modern ideas of language, writing, notation, mapping, movement, dance, performance, as well as connections to space and architecture.

Juror’s Choice Award Winners:
1st Place, Dawn Cerny, Seattle, WA
2nd Place, Lou Watson, Portland, OR

3rd Place, Ann Leda Shapiro, Vashon, WA

The flood of images disseminated on the internet, and with it the attendant information overload, invite renewed attention to drawing as a comparably “slow” medium. Traditionally tied to the conception and development of ideas, drawing remained the stepchild to the more durable mediums of painting and sculpture well into the 1960s. The subsequent interest in process and fragment rather than the finished product allowed drawing to assume a far more influential position. In our contemporary moment, drawing practices warrant particular attention as they open new avenues for artistic thought and expression, especially vis-à-vis digital modes of communication and information sharing.  Read more


The John M. Edson Hall of Birds includes an example of what amateur ornithologist Edson’s study would have looked like in the 1930s and ’40s.

Opened March 16, 2017; Ongoing; 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 has taking this important collection and reinterpreted it as an educational experience. Designed in collaboration with the North Cascades Audubon Society, the new exhibit provides 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 provides 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.



Foot logs provided by nature across fir-bordered trout brook, 1926. Photo by Darius Kinsey, Whatcom Museum #1981.53.10.

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.

Visit our Maritime History Exhibit at Old City Hall to learn more about Bellingham's waterfront history.

Visit our Maritime History Exhibit at Old City Hall to learn more about Bellingham’s 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.

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.

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.


Ice skating in Broadway Park, December 5, 1909. Photo by J.W. Sandison. Whatcom Museum 3705.

Ice skating in Broadway Park, December 5, 1909. Photo by J.W. Sandison. Whatcom Museum 3705.

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.