Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tacoma, WA - Museum of Glass

Wednesday, 7/29/09 The day is finally here, I have waited a long time to see Dale Chihuly, Museum of Glass located in Tacoma, WA. We take "the girlfriend" along for directions & head out for about a one hour drive from Fall City, where we are currently staying. We have the directions, we know there is a parking garage located right under the museum so boy are we set. We are not even taking a picnic lunch, no sir we will eat out today.

We arrive at the museum & head into the garage at $2.50 per hour and then up the glass elevator (what else?) to the museum entrance. First off it has a very modern look to it consisting of a huge, stainless steel cone, round & sharp edges with a beautiful water features with lots of Chihuly clear glass sculptures in the water, several bridges; a most unusual but very beautiful place, not exactly to Wills liking but we forge on and go on in on a senior ticket.

We find that the stainless steel cone we saw from the outside is called the Hot Shop where visitors can watch artist work with glass. It has theater seating where we, the audience are looking down at the floor where there are hot ovens, equipment and they are working with glass. There is a commentator which keeps us informed as to what they are doing in the process, she also takes any questions from the audience. We watch while the artists were working on blowing a piece of glass, from the oven to cooling it down, to turning the long pipe it was on. The entire process is very interesting & this "show" is going on all day long that the museum is open - you can just come & go. But boy was it hot in there, that's why the cone, the heat goes up and out through the top of the cone.

So off to the gallery next where I can tell you it was the most disappointing part of the trip. For some reason I thought the entire gallery displayed Dale Chihuly glass art but come to find out in the museum they had only 3 of his pieces. They have on display many different glass artists and one featured artist, that changes on a regular basis. I'm sure at various time the featured artist are very good but the one this day was not interesting to us. He was part Native American and most of his work had an Indian flavor....just not to my liking. Will of course was through with the entire museum tour in less than 15 minutes, I believe his exact words were, "this is a joke." I had to admit I was very disappointed but was enjoying this beautiful part of Tacoma. I asked one of the guides if there were any more Chihuly works in the area and she said outside on the bridge & across the bridge in Union Station.

So we left the museum & headed up a fabulous staircase to the bridge that actually crosses over I-5 which on the other side is the old Union Station which is now a Federal Court House. On the bridge are two very large free standing Chihuly green glass structures. There is also a cover on the bridge that has Chihuly glass work displayed along the entire ceiling. I wanted to get a chaise lounge & just lay down & stare up at all the pieces - this was absolutely beautiful. They also had display cases on the bridge of his individual pieces that with the light from outside coming through was amazing to see. Of course are you getting the picture now...all this was FREE we never even had to go inside the museum to see most the Chihuly displays.

As you enter the old Union Station you see they have retained the train lobby, with a mezzanine floor surrounding the lobby, your first glass wall when you come in & look up is a Chihuly stain glass window with an orange poppy flowers through out. On each of three remaining side they have Chihuly glass sculpture and hanging from the ceiling in the lobby is another beautiful sculpture....all this for free and just showing I.D. to get in. We walked around on the mezzanine floor & then just sat in the lobby looking at all the pieces. I even had Will take some pictures of me & the glass work with my phone but will have to wait till I get home so Kim can show them to me. Now this was worth the whole trip to Tacoma. Now we are starved & looking for lunch & decide to eat at Subway, across the street and my first time at Subway. Will has a turkey on wheat & I have their salad, a cheap, healthy lunch.

We discover that Subway is next door to the Washington State, Tacoma campus...home of the Washington Huskies. Most of this area consists of old historic, brick buildings. The campus is a many brick buildings & at one time was an old Sears warehouse. We wander around for a short time then head back across the street to the Washington State History Museum This is the bingo for the day, a fabulous museum, so incredibly well done and interesting we should have & could have spent the entire day there. The museum is run by the Washington State Historical Society and they have three floors of displays. The first floor is a complete history of Washington, lumber, shipping, railroad, the pioneers, a theater with a 1/2 hour movie on the Columbia River, Native American and so much with wonderful large, narrated displays. The second floor was a children's floor and was very interesting also and I guess we really enjoyed it because there were NO children on the floor. However, the most amazing part of this display was a model train city unlike anything we had ever seen. We were the only ones there & kept pushing the buttons & operating the trains. I could hardly drag Will away. It was getting late & we still had one floor to go.

This floor has the rotating display which at this time was Women's Votes / Women's Voices, it has been running since Feb 09 and goes through Sept 09. It showed the struggles of women getting the right to vote, displays of women that helped in this effort and how women contributed in World War II and so much more. My favorite sign they had on why women shouldn't vote was.....Women's votes will undermine the government, destroy the constitution and wreck the nation. Can you imagine!!!! The entire display was wonderful, informative and really enjoyable. But oh boy it's getting late & we have miles & lots of work traffic to contend with to get home.

We head out about 4:00 pm which we know is really late & we will be hitting lots of work traffic going home but what the heck....were retired! We head back on I-5, hit hwy 405 then 90 plus one stretch of an accident which adds at least 45 extra minutes, but finally we can see the drive way to Tall Chief RV Resort...we are home. We both agreed we couldn't handle driving in that traffic every day, twice a day - it must make for a very long day for commuters. Well the Museum of Glass was a bust but they day turned out wonderful with lots of great things to see, all just part of the adventure.

Thursday, 7/30/09 A day of rest, with no where to go or nothing to do, sounds good to both of us. I talk with daughter Nancy & sister Alice on the phone today & get all caught up on the latest which is always so much fun for me. This is also another day at the pool for me, a day to work on my tan again. Yesterdays temperature was a record 103 in Seattle yesterday and they are expecting a little cooler today...not over 100. There normal temp here should be about 75 degrees and very few people in Seattle have air this is very, very warm for them. On the other hand, Will & I are lovin this warm weather and sitting at the pool working on my tan is just a bonus for me. It has been such a lazy day we didn't even go to bingo at the clubhouse tonight...Will is reading & I am typing another great day in retirement. Signing off with much love to family and friends and may the adventure continue for a long while.


Cheryl said...

Ron and I saw the Chihuly exhibit at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens and thought it was amazing. Especially after dark! Also, did you know it's Chihuly's work in the lobby of the Bellagio in Las Vegas (the gorgeous flowers on the ceiling)? Amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Carole!

My name is Kim and I work at the Washington State History Museum. I'm so glad to read you had a good time at the History Museum! Your blog post made my day! Our curators have worked hard on the exhibits you wrote about, and it's nice to read about our hard work paying off. Thanks!


Kimberly Adams
Public Relations Coordinator
Washington State History Museum

setzergirl said...

Hey there...sorry that the glass museum was a bust however it sounds like you made up with it at the History Museum. And you ate at Subway...will wonders ever cease? Have a fun weekend...we are heading down the shore to Susan, will be back to Howard's on Monday and then we are going to a concert by him on Monday night (Chris Isaak who I LOVE). Back to work Tuesday.

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