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:

Advocates Programs — The Whatcom Museum Advocates is an advocacy group that supports the Museum. Meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month from September – May at 11:30 AM with a free program at noon that highlights art, local history, or current Museum exhibitions. All meetings are free and open to the public. Get to know new people and support the Museum.

Downtown Art Walk — The Lightcatcher building is FREE from 6 – 10 PM quarterly for Downtown Art Walks! See our events calendar for dates.

Community Art Museum Days — Approximately three times a year we offer fun-filled Saturday afternoons themed to connect with current exhibitions and/or in celebration of the seasons or local cultures. Activities are geared for people of all ages and include art and craft projects, docent-led gallery tours, and hands-on activities. We regularly team up with cultural partners, including Allied Arts, Bellingham Storyteller’s Guild, Northwest Indian College, Pickford Film Center, and the ReStore to make Community Art Museum Days wonderful community events.

North Cascades Audubon Society Programs — The local chapter of the Audubon Society meets the fourth Tuesday of most months, 7-9pm in the Rotunda Room of Old City Hall, 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 History Sunset Cruises — Presented weekly in July, August, and the first two weeks of September, and led by local historians Brian Griffin and Doug Starcher, this popular program takes a look at Bellingham’s past, present, and future from the scenic perspective of Bellingham Bay.

Travelogue Series — Sponsored by Bellingham’s Parks and Recreation Department, this popular series features local travelers presenting stories and photographs from around the world. The Travelogue series runs the first and third Thursdays, 7-9pm in the Rotunda of Old City Hall during the fall and winter. Light refreshments served. No need to pre-register, just bring your curiosity.

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

Concerts and Other Public Programs

Throughout the year the Museum offers concerts and seasonal music programs, including two free summer concerts sponsored by the Bellingham Festival of Music. 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 Community Art Museum 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.