Fall Family Field Trip

Tacoma Museum District to reopen beginning Sept. 25

By Bill White on September 22, 2020

For families looking for something to do this fall that is both educational and fun, the reopening of Tacoma's museum district is good news. The museums of the Tacoma Museum District - Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, LeMay - America's Car Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport, and Children's Museum of Tacoma - will begin opening their doors to the public starting Sept. 25.

The reopening timelines, days of operation, and onsite protocols will vary from museum to museum, based on staffing and exhibit configurations. The museums recommend purchasing tickets online in advance. Visitors are encouraged to check each museum's website for specifics before visiting.

"Throughout the pandemic, the directors of the individual institutions have consulted with local experts and worked in concert to monitor local COVID-19 transmission rates and trends," stated a press release from the museum district. "The decision to reopen comes after thoughtful consideration for the safety of guests, staff, and volunteers, and in accordance with specific protocols established by Washington State, the Department of Labor & Industries, and the Department of Health."

Among these protocols are universal mask-wearing, the addition of sanitizing stations throughout the facilities, one-way routes through galleries, monitored social distancing between groups, reduced occupancy, and enhanced cleaning schedules. Each museum has also installed safety features and procedures specific to their individual building layout.

Initially, some venues will operate with reduced schedules:

Museum of Glass: Opening Sept. 25; operating hours Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

LeMay - America's Car Museum: Opening Sept. 25; operating hours Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Washington State Historical Society: Opening date to be announced soon. Operating hours will be Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. with seniors-only hours Tuesdays 10 a.m.-noon (ages 65+). Initially, the Great Hall of Washington History (third floor) will be open and fifth floor galleries will remain closed for installation of new exhibitions; admission will be half price during this time.

Tacoma Art Museum: Opening Oct. 9; operating hours Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Foss Waterway Seaport: Opening Oct. 16; operating hours Fridays 3 p.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Sundays noon-4 p.m.

Children's Museum of Tacoma: Will remain closed until 2021 due to the hands-on, interactive nature of the galleries. Greentrike, the museum's parent company, will continue to provide Distance Learning Camps and licensed child care for our community's youngest children.

The following is a brief description of the museums provided by the district.

The Washington State Historical Society and History Museum
The Washington State Historical Society partners with communities to explore how history connects us all. The museum features permanent exhibitions, unique rotating exhibitions, and dynamic traveling exhibitions. 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.3500, www.WashingtonHistory.org

Tacoma Art Museum  
An anchor in Tacoma's downtown with a mission of connecting people through art. TAM's collection contains more than 5,000 works, with an emphasis on the art and artists of the Northwest and broader Western region. The collection includes the largest retrospective museum collection of glass art by Tacoma native Dale Chihuly on permanent view. 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.4258, www.tacomaartmuseum.org

Museum of Glass
A premier contemporary art museum dedicated to glass and glassmaking in the West Coast's largest and most active museum glass studio. Opened in 2002, the Museum has established a reputation for hosting impactful and engaging artist residencies, organizing nationally traveling exhibitions, and creating unique programs for visitors while building a growing permanent collection chronicling the development of modern and contemporary glass. 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.284.475, www.museumofglass.org

About Foss Waterway Seaport
Founded in 1996, the Foss Waterway Seaport celebrates Tacoma's rich maritime heritage - past, present, and future. The museum is located on the historic Thea Foss waterfront in the century-old Balfour Dock Building, a rehabilitated warehouse. Educational and cultural programs are centered around the historic building and public moorage on the historic Thea Foss Waterway.705 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.272.2750, www.fosswaterwayseaport.org  

About LeMay - America's Car Museum  
An international destination for families and auto enthusiasts to experience the past, present, and future of the automobile and learn how it shapes our society. It is known for its educational outreach serving more than 30,000 students annually, spectacular rotating exhibits, stunning event spaces, and a show field for hosting community events. 2702 East D St., Tacoma, www.americascarmusueum.org.

About the Children's Museum of Tacoma 
Their mission is to honor children and champion play. Everything we do begins with our image of the child. Their vision is to be a leader in their community using play to learn, to grow, and to thrive. The mission comes to life in the Children's Museum of Tacoma, Play to Learn, Preschool Powered by Play, The Muse: A Children's Center, and coming soon the Children's Museum of Tacoma at JBLM. 1501 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.6031, https://playtacoma.org/