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Tacoma Glass Museum

Visiting Tacoma Glass Museum

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Tacoma Glass Museum

Tacoma Glass Museum

Courtesy of Tacoma Glass Museum
  • Hours: Open Wednesday through Saturday, also open Monday in the summer, and closed July 4, Thanksgiving1, December 25, January 1
  • Reservations: Not required
  • Cost: Admission fee, but free the third Thursday of each month from 5 to 8 pm
  • Location: Downtown Tacoma, driving directions below
  • How Long: Allow an hour to two hours
  • Best Time to Visit: Any time

Tacoma Glass Museum Review

The most expensive museum in Tacoma's arts district, the Tacoma Glass Museum also has the smallest collection. In fact, it has no collection at all. This museum, which inexplicably claims to be a "contemporary art museum" that features art in many media despite having a name that implies that it specializes in glass art, features rotating exhibits of contemporary and glass art in 13,000 square feet of gallery space.

However, the Tacoma Glass Museum also has a permament attraction: its Hot Shop Amphitheater, where the museum's staff artists work, sometimes in conjunction with visiting glass artists, in a setting that makes it especially easy to watch them at work. Visitors can sit in theater-style seating to watch the artists at work, but the best place to get a good view of what they're doing is to stand on balcony above them, where you can look down on the action. Unlike other glassblowing demonstrations, where the artist is too busy to tell the onlookers much about what they're doing, the Tacoma Glass Museum provides a narrator who explains every step while the artists carry them out. The Hot Shop is open any time the museum is open, but the artists take a lunch break from 1 to 2 p.m.

The Tacoma Glass Museum theater shows several films on a daily schedule, which is posted outside its door.

Also at the Tacoma Glass Museum, you'll find the Prism Cafe and a gift shop which carries a selection of glass items, some of them made in the Hot Shop.

A warning for anyone who expects to find Dale Chihuly's work at the Tacoma Glass Museum: They don't have any. The museum helped fund the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, but they don't have any of his work on display. If you came to Tacoma to see Chihuly's work, go to the Tacoma Art Museum, where they have a large collection.

Getting to Tacoma Glass Museum

Tacoma Glass Museum
1801 East Dock Street
Tacoma, WA
(866) 468-7386
(253) 284-4750
Tacoma Glass Museum website

From I-5 (north or south), take the I-705 north exit (Exit 133, City Center). Take the South 21st Street exit, turning left onto South 21st Street. Turn right onto Pacific Avenue and right again onto Hood Street. Turn right at the stop sign onto South 15th Street, which becomes a ramp that curves to the left, then turn left onto East Dock Street and follow signs to the Tacoma Glass Museum. Public parking is available underneath the Tacoma Glass Museum.

You can also reach the Tacoma Glass Museum on public transit from Seattle by taking the Pierce County Transit Bus #590. Call (800) 562-8109 or (253) 581-8000 for more information.

If you're walking from the Tacoma Art Museum or Washington History Museum, walk across the Chihuly Bridge of Glass and down the stairs that curve around the Cone-shaped tower to reach the entrance.

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