Upcoming Exhibitions


Coming in early June 2015! On the 2nd floor passageway of the Lightcatcher Building

Fairhaven wading_pool_750

Fairhaven Park Wading Pool, c. 1925

Bellingham's parks have always been a locally loved and widely admired part of the city. This exhibition from the Whatcom Museum's Photo Archives, and the second with a parks-theme, features a dozen "new" 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, perfect inspiration for getting outside in the summer months ahead.


June 27 - October 11, 2015, Lightcatcher Building

Helmi Juvonen (1903-1985), known in her day simply as Helmi, was a prolific artist whose creativity embraced diverse media. She was drawn to the ceremonies and arts of Northwest aboriginal culture and developed a rapport with the chiefs of the Lummi, Swinomish, Muckleshoot, Makah, and Yakama tribes. Helmi devoted years to studying and drawing Northwest Coast Indian and South Pacific objects in the Washington State Museum (later the Burke Museum). Native American culture nurtured her creative spirit and empowered her to transcend the confinement of ordinary life, poverty and decades committed to an asylum.


Helmi Juvonen, Vantage, circa 1975-1976; Gouache
on rice paper. Gift of Dr. Ulrich & Stella Fritzsche.

Helmi’s World presents 65 artworks—paintings, drawings, prints and ceramics—drawn from the Whatcom Museum’s collection of her work, which numbers 250 objects. Some of her finest pieces are highlighted, including paintings of petroglyphs from Central Washington; and prints based on the Makah Wolf Dance experienced at Neah Bay. The exhibition suggests the complexity of Helmi’s vision by displaying some or her most unusual artworks, where images and symbols from a variety of cultures converge. The influences of Mark Tobey, Pablo Picasso, Scandinavian Folk Art, and Judeo-Christian and Buddhist iconography are also explored.


September 27, 2015 - January 3, 2016, Lightcatcher Building


This exhibition surveys recent directions in 'Book Art' through the diverse work of 60 prominent artists in the field from across the country (including Great Britain and Australia). It explores the limitless potential of the book as an independent, creative medium through both intimately-scaled pieces and large installations. Many artists carve old volumes or twist their pages into unique, sculptural configurations. Others make their own books and experiment with a multitude of different formats: accordion, pop-up, tunnel, concertina, among others. Some artists reconfigure ancient book forms, such as the scroll or codex, to create unique forms. Books are often combined with other materials - both manufactured and natural, such as plastic, crystals, twigs, even meteorites - to astonishing effects.

Unhinged not only highlights myriad styles and processes, it also presents artists' personal experiences as well as messages about identity, human justice issues, and environmental concerns. From political statements to metaphysical ideas, book artists interpret their medium through expressive and sometimes humorous constructions. After visiting this exhibition, viewers will never look at a book in the same way again.

Image credit: Carrie Ann Schumacher, Emil, 2013; Romance Novel Dress. Courtesy of the artist.

NationalGeographic AfghanGirlWebSized


October 1, 2016 - January 15, 2017, Lightcatcher Building

Coming in the Fall of 2016, the Whatcom Museum will open the traveling exhibition 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic, which showcases some of National Geographic’s most compelling photographs. From Steve McCurry’s unforgettable Afghan girl to Nick Nichols’ iconic image of Jane Goodall and chimpanzee to Thomas Abercrombie’s never-before-seen view of Mecca, the exhibition includes some of National Geographic magazine’s most-remembered and celebrated photographs from its more-than-120-year history. In addition to seeing the photographs as they appeared in the magazine, visitors to the exhibition will learn the stories behind the photos and more about the photographers themselves.

Image credit: Afghan Border, Pakistan 1984. Haunting eyes and a tattered garment tell the plight of a girl who fled Afghanistan for a refugee camp in Pakistan. Photo by Steve McCurry.

Wednesday - Sunday, noon-5pm;
open Thursday until 8pm; open Saturday at 10am

250 Flora Street, Bellingham, WA 98225  

Family Interactive Gallery (FIG)
Wednesday - Saturday, 10-5pm; Sunday noon-5pm
250 Flora Street, Bellingham, WA 98225


Thursday - Sunday, noon-5pm; for select programs.
121 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA  98225

Wednesday - Friday, 1-5 pm.
201 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA 98225

Between May 20 and June 26, 2015, the Photo Archives will have different hours due to roof work on the building.

CLOSED Wednesday; Thursday and Friday 1-5PM (check in with the attendant at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect Street)

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