The Museum campus—Lightcatcher galleries and Old City Hall—is open at 50% capacity as part of Phase 3 of the governor’s Healthy Washington–Roadmap to Recovery plan. Museum hours of operation are Thursdays – Sundays, Noon – 5pm. The Family Interactive Gallery (FIG) is open at 25% capacity and by reservation only. Visit our FIG page for more info. The Museum is currently requiring that all staff and visitors continue to wear face coverings while visiting our facilities (05/19/021). As a City of Bellingham department we will following guidance provided by the City and will update this page regularly.

The Museum Store inside the Lightcatcher building remains open at 50% capacity Wednesdays – Sundays, noon – 5pm.

Photo Archives are open for research by appointment only.

As a public gathering space, the health and safety of our community is our priority. Please visit this page regularly for updates on reopening, program cancelations, and more.

Thank you for your support and understanding during this time. We look forward to seeing you at the Museum!

For what to expect when you visit our buildings, watch our Welcome Back video below.

Our Safety Protocols

We want to ensure you have an enjoyable, educational experience in the safest way possible. Here’s what you can expect when you visit our buildings. Guidelines are subject to change. For safety protocols specific to the Family Interactive Gallery (FIG) check out our “Plan Your Visit” page for more info.

  • All Museum staff are required to wear face coverings in visitor areas.
  • Visitors age 2+ are still required to wear a face coverings, which will be enforced. For a list of exemptions, click here. The Museum will provide a disposable mask for those who need one. Reusable cloth masks are available for purchase at the Museum Store.
  • Sneeze guards have been installed at admission and check-in areas.
  • Admissions, store purchases, and other transactions have limited contact.
  • Visitors checking in must wait in line six (6) feet apart from those not in their group until Admissions staff calls them forward.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations are available throughout the museum.
  • Visitors must stay at least six (6) feet apart from those not in their group.
  • Increased signage has been posted for directional flow and distancing.
  • Reduced number of visitors allowed inside galleries.
  • Museum Store capacity is monitored, and one-way directional flow for entry and exit is marked.
  • EPA-approved, non-toxic Force of Nature™ electrolysis cleaner is being used to disinfect hands-on interactives.
  • CDC-approved self-cleaning NanoSeptic® skins have been applied to high-touch surfaces such as door handles, elevator/interactive buttons, and touch screens.
  • Restrooms have waiting areas and directional flow signage to promote social distancing.
  • Lockers and coat areas have two-way directional flow signage.
  • Fresh air is circulated frequently throughout buildings daily.
  • Increased intervals of sanitation with deep cleaning are performed after closing.
  • If you feel sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19, live with or care for someone who has been sick, or have traveled/live with someone who has traveled in the last 14 days, please visit us at another time.

The Whatcom Museum has successfully met or exceeded the standards set by SanSee Safety Systems for excellence in operational safety and hygiene. Read the SanSee news release here. For more information about our Covid-19 protocols, please contact our general info line at 360.778.8930 or email

Art Bridges in black block letter font with blue semicircle above wordsSupport for our safety protocols generously provided by Art Bridges Bridge Ahead Initiative.

Museum From Home 

The Museum is offering virtual programming and activities in place of in-person offerings. Visit our web calendar for a list of virtual programs and events.

Note: Docent-led gallery tours, Old City Hall History Tours, FIG birthday parties, FIG activities, and private event rentals are postponed until further notice. The Photo Archive is accepting appointments. 

Experience some of the Museum from home:

Tips for reducing the spread of the virus

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for 20+ seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wear a face covering when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not possible.
  • Stay away from other people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home to prevent spreading the infection to others. (Employees who are feeling ill are required to stay home).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Washington State Department of Health for more recommendations.

COVID-19 Disclaimer

While the Whatcom Museum has implemented rigorous protocols to maintain a clean and safe environment, an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is a very contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and visitors with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. By visiting the Whatcom Museum you, and all members of your group, voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.