Museums and galleries of Seattle
Being so much younger than the cities of Europe and the Eastern United States, Seattle, Washington has a lower profile in terms of art museums than it does in the performing arts. It is nonetheless home to five major art museums and galleries: Consolidated Works, the Frye Art Museum, the Henry Art Gallery, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Several Seattle museums and cultural institutions that are not specifically art museums also have excellent art collections, most notably the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, which has an excellent collection of Native American artwork.
Seattle is also home to well over 100 commercial art galleries, at least a dozen non-profit art galleries, and perhaps a hundred artists' studios that are open to the public at least once a month. About half of these galleries and studios are concentrated in one neighborhood, Pioneer Square.
Outside of the realm of art, Seattle has several other notable museums and similar institutions:
- The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, on the campus of the University of Washington, has a large collection of botanical, zoological, and geologic specimens in addition to an anthropology collection notable for its coverage of Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.
- The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) is the largest heritage organization in the State of Washington, with a collection of over 4 million artifacts, photographs, and archival materials, primarily related to the history of Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region. Their public facility is located in the historic Naval Reserve Armory at Lake Union Park in South Lake Union.
- Regional history figures prominently in other museum's including the Center for Wooden Boats, a maritime heritage museum on Lake Union; the Museum of Flight, which incorporates Boeing's original manufacturing plant; the Museum of Communications; and the Museum Without Walls, devoted to the University District.
- Key ethnic aspects of Seattle's cultural mix are represented by the Daybreak Star Cultural Center in Discovery Park, operated by United Indians of All Tribes; the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard, which honors Seattle's Scandinavian immigrants; and the Wing Luke Asian Museum in the International District which focuses on the culture, art, and history of Asian Pacific Americans; and the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in the Central District which explores the art, history, and culture of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest.
- The Seattle Aquarium is located on piers on the Elliott Bay waterfront; the Woodland Park Zoo on Phinney Ridge in north Seattle is one of the country's leading zoos, notable especially for its innovations in open and naturalistic zoo exhibits.
- The campus of Seattle Center includes the Pacific Science Center and Paul Allen's Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
- The Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum in Pioneer Square honors the city's police force.
- The Klondike Gold Rush-Seattle Unit is also near Pioneer Square and is a really interesting Museum,it tells the story of the people going to Alaska to search for gold. the museum is located at 319 Second Avenue South, Seattle, WA and technically is a National Park but is all inside of the building on the site.
Writing in November 2007, Jen Graves of Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger considers the Lawrimore Project (founded 2005) "the closest thing contemporary art in Seattle has to a center". Four of the five visual artists who had by that time won the Stranger's annual "Genius Awards" had come to be represented by Lawrimore, although only one was at the time it received the award.