Collections at the Whatcom Museum


COLLECTIONS LIE AT THE HEART of a museum and distinguish them from other institutions. Whatcom Museum holds close to 30,000 objects of art, history and ethnography in its collection and over 200,000 images and related ephemera in its photo archives. Throughout our 75 year history, we have predominately relied upon donations from the public to add to and strengthen our collection.

We focus on collecting works of art from the 19th century forward, that were either produced in or were about the Pacific Northwest. Such works include paintings, works on paper, sculpture, photographs, crafts or multi-media material. In addition, our collection includes American Art of the 19th through 21st centuries that have had significant influence on the art or artists of the Pacific Northwest. More recently, we have expanded our collecting scope to include pieces from national and international artists that enhance or complement our existing collection.  

Our collection includes objects that reflect the richness and diversity of Pacific Northwest history from post-settlement to the present day. With an emphasis on the Victorian era, our collection includes examples of everyday domestic items; tools and equipment vital to the agricultural, timber and fishing industries; as well as other items representing prominent milestones in the development of the Pacific Northwest and region. Learn more here.

Whatcom Museum holds objects of material culture crated by people of the Pacific Northwest region’s indigenous cultures with collections consisting of decorative, ceremonial or utilitarian items. Most significantly, our collection includes over 500 baskets with an emphasis on those made by people from the coastal regions of Alaska, British Columbia and Washington.

Whatcom Museum holds an extensive photo archives collection with over 200,000 catalogued items that include images created by regional photographers, images of local subject matter, as well as some select historic paper artifacts. Images include regional photographs, negatives, slides, film and video from the 19th century to the present from Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties within the State of Washington as well as areas of Alaska with strong links to the economy and history of this region.

The Whatcom Museum also houses the West Coast Clock and Watch Museum, located on the third floor of the Old City Hall building. Visit their website here.

View collectionsVERT

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

Learn more about visiting our campus.

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