Outdoor Seattle / Seattle Culture

Tacoma’s Museum of Glass…The Chihuly Bridge of Glass and the Hot Shop are for glass art lovers

Demonstration at the Museum of Glass

Tacoma Glass Museum Bridge

The Museum of Glass is a fine arts museum dedicated to presenting glass in the context of contemporary art.  The Glass Museum provides a engrossing glimpse into the entire process of constructing glass art. You can watch glass artists live at work in the “hot shop” amphitheater located in the metal-clad cone attached to the museum. A pedestrian bridge – the Chihuly Bridge of Glass – links the waterfront Museum of Glass to the attractions on the south side of Interstate 705, including the Washington State History Museum, Union Station, and the Tacoma Art Museum. The bridge was developed by a partnership between the City of Tacoma, world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, and the Museum of Glass. The 500-foot bridge features one of the largest outdoor installations of Chihuly glass, valued at approximately $12 million.  It is a crown jewel and some would say worth the visit on its own.

The stunning building was designed by a team of architects and engineers led by internationally-known architect Arthur Erickson. Its sleek, four-story structure offers several levels of outdoor plazas. Reflecting pools and seating areas make these plazas perfect for relaxing and enjoying views of the waterfront, the Tacoma Dome, and Mount Rainier. A tilted 90-foot-tall steel cone, reminiscent of the sawmill wood burners of old, counterbalances the horizontal lines of the building.

  • The interior of the Museum of Glass features state-of-the-art facilities and includes:
  • 13,000 square feet of exhibition space
  • A glassblowing hot shop
  • A high-tech resource center
  • A 140-seat theater
  • The Museum Café
  • The Museum Store

Tacoma Glass Museum also has a permanent attraction: it’s Hot Shop Amphitheater, where the museum’s staff artists work, sometimes in conjunction with visiting glass artists, this setting was carefully designed to make it especially easy to watch them at work. Visitors can sit in theater-style seating to watch the artists at work, or stand on the 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.  You can go to the Museum of Glass website for information on costs, hours, current activities in the hot shop, and maps so you get to the museum.  Click the Tacoma map to get directions for the museum.  The distance from the train station to the museum is one mile, an easy walk on flat ground.  If you chose to take Amtrak from Seattle on a Saturday the first train would leave at 7:30 AM.  There are 5 departure times during the day. You can catch 7 different trains to return to Seattle with the last arriving at 9:45 PM.  It makes a wonderful day…it can turn your day into an adventure.  You can click Amtrak to use their trip planner.



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