Entries by Christina Claassen

Local History with a Waterfront View

By Christina Claassen and Colton Redtfeldt This summer hundreds of people will be boarding the 100-foot Victoria Star boat for the Whatcom Museum’s 35th annual History Sunset Cruises. Everyone aboard will learn about the history of Bellingham from a waterfront perspective, courtesy of two local historians who weave stories and serve as hosts extraordinaire—Doug Starcher […]

5 Women Artists in the Whatcom Museum’s Collection: Mary Randlett

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant This is the final installment of #5WomenArtists, inspired by the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ challenge, “Can you name five women artists?” The Museum featured five female artists from its collection throughout the month of March—Women’s History Month. Share our posts with your followers on social media and […]

Holiday Shopping at the Museum Store

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be wondering what gifts you’re going to give your friends and family this year. Look no further than the Whatcom Museum’s Store inside the Lightcatcher building. The Museum Store has an assortment of items to fit anyone’s tastes and budget. Here are a […]

Dow Walling and the Comic World Of Skeets

The Whatcom Museum’s online virtual exhibitions feature a variety of historic photographs, artwork, and ephemera that visitors can view at their leisure. Recently, the Museum has uploaded new virtual galleries, which can be viewed HERE. Scroll down mid-way through the virtual galleries to learn more about one special exhibit featuring the comics of local talent, […]

Drawing Practice: Bellingham National Juried Art Exhibition and Awards

Reposted from June 20th, 2017 Seattle Art Museum Blog Catharina Manchanda, the Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, juried this year’s Bellingham National Juried Art Exhibition and Awards, on view now through September 10 in the Lightcatcher building. Barbara Matilsky, Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum, […]

La Calavera Catrina: Mexico’s Eternal Feminine Muse

Written by Susanna Brooks, Director of Learning Innovation, for our exhibition, Images of Resilience: Chicana/o Art & its Mexican Roots A wide-eyed lady skeleton donning a large, lace brimmed hat festooned with flowers and feathers flashes a broad toothy grin. The smiling dandified dame is La Calavera Catrina, a corpse with a lively aristocratic air […]

Affirming Culture and Resisting Oppression: Selected Works of Chicana/o Art

By Amalia Mesa-Bains, Artist, Scholar, and MacArthur Fellow The exhibition Images of Resilience: Chicana/o Art and its Mexican Roots has its foundation in the Chicano Art Movement known as “El Movimiento.”  From the 1960s on, the Chicana/o Movement of both political and cultural development galvanized a generation of Mexican-American youth committed to civil rights. The Chicana/o […]

Vibrant Hues Color the Lightcatcher for One More Week

Essay excerpted from Colorfast: Vivid Installations Make Their Mark exhibition catalog by guest curator Amy Chaloupka. The exhibition closes Sept. 18, 2016. Artists Ashley V. Blalock (California), Elizabeth R. Gahan (Washington), Damien Gilley (Oregon), and Katy Stone (Washington) understand the elemental impact of color and wield it in their work with striking effect for the […]

Introducing the Lightcatcher’s Newest Docents

If you’ve visited the museum recently you’ve probably noticed some new faces leading gallery tours.  In November seven trainees joined the docent ranks and are eager to share information, ask and answer questions, and provide insights into Lightcatcher exhibitions. These accomplished docents come from diverse backgrounds and careers, from teaching to neuroscience to design work, […]

Be My Historic Valentine

Valentine’s Day is nearing and as we shop for gifts and cards, it’s fun to reflect on the traditions of the past. The custom of making and sending cards for this holiday has been around for more than 150 years. The Museum’s own collection features more than 65 unique handmade and vintage Valentine’s Day cards […]

Tom Sherwood Tells Us More About His Life & Artwork

On May 14th, local artist Tom Sherwood spoke about his artwork in a retrospective and walk-through of the exhibition, Tom Sherwood: A Golden Perspective, at the Lightcatcher building. If you missed the chance to participate, here’s another opportunity to learn more about Sherwood, his background, and his artwork. Whatcom Museum (WM): When and how did […]

John Edson, His Birds, and His Museum

Written by Paul Woodcock, Vice President of the North Cascade Audubon Society, with research collaboration from Jeff Jewell, Whatcom Museum Photo Archives Historian. AT THE END OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY THE ART OF TAXI­DERMY WAS A FAD. Mounted birds and other animals were used as home decor and most naturalists, amateur and pro­fessional alike, collected […]

How Your Museum Protects the Collections

THIRTY THOUSAND OBJECTS.  170,000 PHOTOGRAPHS.  16,000 ARCHIVAL ITEMS. These numbers make up the Whatcom Museum Collection and Curator of Collections, Becky Hutchins, is in charge of protecting each piece from harm. Threats are as small as the powderpost beetle and as large as a fire or flood. For the smallest variety of threat, Hutchins employs […]

Sneak Peek at Famous Peak

HOORAY! The manuscript for the Vanishing Ice catalogue was emailed to the editor thirty minutes ago. Here is a sneak peek at one of my favorite artworks in the exhibition: Thomas Hart Benton’s (American, 1889-1975) journey to the Canadian Rockies inspired Trail Riders, a sweeping, cinematic view of Mount Assiniboine. The artist faithfully documents the […]

Art Meets Science Meets Hollywood Meets…Bellingham!

WHAT BETTER WAY to launch the Whatcom Museum’s blog than to feature a fabulous artwork featured in our upcoming exhibition, Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, by an artist currently in the national limelight? Alexis Rockman, who painted Adelies, was commissioned by film director Ang Lee to contribute imagery for Life of Pi. The […]

The Bell Show: Bellingham’s First Movie House

THE BELL SHOW opened at 111 E. Holly in July 1908 as Bellingham’s first theater dedicated exclusively to the showing of motion pictures. Located in what had been Edward Gott’s pharmacy, the Bell was what came to be known as a “store show” or storefront theater. A five-cent “nickelodeon” ticket got you a triple-feature of […]

McNeil Wedding Dress, Whatcom Museum Collection

DELICATE AND GRACEFUL, this wedding dress is composed of cream-colored lace with peach satin-covered buttons extending down its back. The gathered skirt and flared sleeves create a medieval silhouette—a style likely inspired by Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923 when she married HRH the Duke of York. Hallmarks of the era include the scalloped, dropped waist […]

Lake Whatcom Washington, Elizabeth Colborne

AT THE INTERSECTION OF ART, NATURE & HISTORY Elizabeth Colborne divided her time between New York and Washington state during the 1920s, but work waned after the 1929 stock market crash. She came back to Bellingham and spent from May through October of 1933 in a cabin on Lake Whatcom to paint. From her journals […]

Small Curtain, Michael Brophy

ART IS A VISUAL MEANS of communication, but often what is not seen is as important as what is seen. Michael Brophy’s painting Small Curtain is an excellent example of how artists often suggest a narrative but leave the meaning ambiguous or hidden. Brophy sets up a mysterious scene that asks more questions than it […]

Union, Diem Chau

CLEARLY THE SMALLEST piece in the New Gifts and Acquisitions exhibition, Diem Chau’s Union, a tiny (just over 2 inches high) tea bowl holds its own amid much larger, bolder and more colorful works. Perhaps its minute size and simplicity is part of the attraction. Attached atop the rim of the porcelain bowl, clay from […]

David Ireland, Untitled

WHAT MAKES IT ART? That’s the first question one might have when seeing this untitled sculpture by David Ireland. How can a vintage book with rough lumpy concrete bookends possibly be art? David Ireland is presenting us with intriguing questions. What does the book contain? Where did it come from? What are the world’s greatest […]

An Iroquois Dreams That the Tribes of the Middle East Will Take the Message of Deganawida to Heart and Make Peace, Gail Tremblay

GAIL TREMBLAY’S SCULPTURE, featured in Show of Hands: Northwest Women Artists 1880-2010 and a recent addition to the Whatcom Museum collection, interprets diverse cultural influences with results that are both striking and complex. The artist, also a writer and activist of Onondaga and Mi’kmaq ancestry who teaches at Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA), cleverly recycles […]

Angle, Drizzle and Dot, Margie Livingston

WHEN LINES AND COLORS come together in unexpected ways, the mind often recognizes something unique. In this case, what’s surprising is not only the composition itself — which is quite intricate — but the way in which it was formulated and the fact that the artist did so outside the confines of a traditional canvas. Margie […]