THE WHATCOM MUSEUM occupies three distinctive and historically significant buildings in downtown Bellingham’s cultural district. For information regarding hours and admission, please click here.
THE LIGHTCATCHER is designed by Olson Kundig Architects’ founding partner, Jim Olson. The building is named for its focal point and most innovative feature — a spectacular, translucent wall 37 feet high and 180 feet long, that captures the Northwest’s most precious natural resource: sunlight. The 42,000-square-foot-building integrates natural materials native to the region and is the first museum in Washington designed and registered to LEED Silver-Level specifications. The Lightcatcher hosts a rotating schedule of art exhibitions throughout the year, as well as, our Family Interactive Gallery (FIG) and the Museum Store.
OLD CITY HALL, home to Whatcom Museum since 1941, is a beloved city landmark. With its Victorian cupolas and central clock tower a stately community presence for more than a century, the history of the building and its inhabitants (including prisoners!) remains central to the Whatcom Museum’s mission. While our fine art exhibitions have moved to the climate-controlled galleries of the Lightcatcher, Old City Hall is open with permanent history exhibits, as well as the John M. Edson Hall of Birds, which features our founding collection of mounted birds. The Rotunda Room of Old City Hall remains the site for many of our most popular public programs.
THE SYRE EDUCATION CENTER was built in 1926 as the City of Bellingham’s fire hall and is adjacent to the 1892 Old City Hall Building. The Whatcom Museum’s widely recognized Photo Archives are located on the second floor of the Syre Education Center and the archive office is open to the public for research.
One admission gets you into the Lightcatcher and Old City Hall. Admission to the Photo Archives in the Syre Education Center is free during public hours.