There are only three museums in the world that exclusively showcase glass art, and the Tacoma Glass Museum is one of them. Set on the scenic Tacoma waterfront, the Museum of Glass is only a short drive south on I-5 from Seattle.
This is the only museum devoted to glass in the entire US, so this is a world-class destination. The Museum of Glass just opened in 2002, and it was designed by a group of architects led by the well-known Arthur Erickson.
It has a beautiful bridge that links the Tacoma Glass Museum to the University of Washington in Tacoma, which represents the talents and artwork of the internationally recognized glass artist and Tacoma native Dale Chihuly.
The Museum of Glass Tacoma is stunning both inside and out. There are spacious outdoor plazas to meander through on various levels of the structure, and relaxing pools that invite you to sit and relax. Overlooking the waterfront, Mount Rainier and Puget Sound, the inviting outdoor areas, including a waterfront promenade, are great places to relax in the sun with great views. Since the Museum of Glass is located right in downtown Tacoma, it is a convenient walk to the other areas of the city, like the many great restaurants and cafes or Antique Row.
The exterior of the Tacoma Glass Museum has an interesting profile; a steel cone rises at an angle 90 feet in the sky, offsetting the buildings horizontal thrusts. This structure is where demonstrations in glass blowing are held. In this studio, or hot shop, visitors to the Museum of Glass can watch the glass artists at work. There are areas to walk around the studio, as well as 130 seats to relax and watch the process for a while.
Some of the best displays at the Tacoma Glass Museum is not even in the museum itself. You can see some of Dale Chihuly's best work in the Bridge of Glass. The Venetian Wall contains an excellent display of his stunning glass art works. You can also see his works at the Seaform Pavilion, which has glass art hanging from a clear glass ceiling.
The Bridge of Glass is an important part of this $63 million building. This is a walkway that spans 500 feet from the Museum of Glass to the waterfront. The deck of the bridge has a feature called the Crystal Towers; these are tinted blue sculptures that have an eerie glow when they're lit at night.
Unlike other Washington museums, the setting for Tacoma's Museum row is a visually unified effort. There is an impressive row of museums aside from the Museum of Glass Tacoma, so you can come here and immerse yourself in an art environment. You can come during the week and avoid the crowds like the Saturday rush at the Seattle Art Museum and other Seattle museums and city galleries. With its wide open spaces, incredible views, and lovely art, the Tacoma Glass Museum will undoubtedly impress you.