The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

As a cultural center in the community, the Whatcom Museum presents myriad programs that interpret its exhibitions and relate to its mission as a place for gathering and learning about art, nature, and Northwest history. From lectures and performances to workshops, tours, and special series, the programs are designed to connect people and ideas around the changing cultural, natural, and historical landscapes.

Exhibition Programs

Presentations and events related to current exhibitions include slide shows and talks by exhibiting artists, curators, and historians, panel discussions, films, community collaborations, and family programs. See current exhibitions.

Museum and Partner Series

Included below are both Museum-sponsored and Museum-hosted series:

Downtown Art Walk — The Lightcatcher building is FREE from 5 – 9 PM quarterly for Downtown Art Walks! See our events calendar for dates.

North Cascades Audubon Society Programs — The local chapter of the Audubon Society meets the fourth Tuesday of the months of September through May, 7-9pm and features a presentation and slides of current projects, trends, and topics of interest in the bird world. The Audubon also hosts a volunteer in our John M. Edson Hall of Birds at Old City Hall on the fourth Sunday of each month to chat informally about birds of the Pacific Northwest.

Summer camps — The Museum offers camps for children and teens during the summer months. Led by our team of experienced educators who have an eye for safety, we create a fun environment for campers to learn exciting new ideas in art, nature, and Northwest history. Campers make unique works of art or explore STEAM concepts (science, technology, engineering, Art, & Math). For more information visit our camp page.

Summer History Sunset Cruises — Presented weekly in July and August, the History Sunset Cruises are led by local historian Brian Griffin. This popular program takes a look at Bellingham’s past, present, and future from the scenic perspective of Bellingham Bay. Visit our History Sunset Cruise page for more info.

Whatcom County Historical Society — The Museum hosts the monthly Whatcom County Historical Society programs October through April on the second Thursday of each month,  7:30-9pm.

Arts for Everyone Access Programs

Low Sensory Sundays — Designed for children ages 12 and younger with autism spectrum and other sensory-processing disorders, Low Sensory Sunday offers a safe, dedicated morning in the Family Interactive Gallery (FIG) in the Lightcatcher building. Currently, due to efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Museum is putting this program on hold.

This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Eleanor and Henry Jansen Foundation.

Museum in Mind — The Whatcom Museum invites people with early-stage memory loss or dementia and their care partners for a two-part program designed to engage participants with an art-filled experience. Currently, due to efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Museum is putting this program on hold.

This one-hour-long program consists of a conversation-based virtual gallery tour of a current exhibition followed by an art-making activity that can be done at home with step-by-step guidance from our museum educator. Participants are asked to use materials commonly found at home for the art activity.

This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Fund Three Pines Foundation and KBF Canada.

For more information about our access programs contact our education department.

Concerts and Other Public Programs

Throughout the year the Museum offers concerts and seasonal music programs. Most concerts take place in the Old City Hall Rotunda Room, which has amazing acoustics and an excellent piano. The Lightcatcher building courtyard and entry hall is also a great performance venue. Both buildings are available for event and concert rental.

FIG & Family

In addition to Family Activity Days and child-specific exhibition programs, the Family Interactive Gallery (FIG) plays host to a rich variety of classes, activities, and programs designed especially for kids. Visit the FIG pages to learn more. The best way to stay up-to-date on all the fun and games is to subscribe to the FIG eNewsletter.