Near the Hotel... The Tacoma Art Museum is dedicated to connecting people through art, and showcasing and collecting Northwest art. The museum features framed views of Mt. Rainier and a series of elegant galleries that wrap around an open-air interior stone garden. The galleries showcase traveling national and international exhibitions, as well as selections from the museum's collection of American, European, and Asian art. Tacoma Art Museum honors native Tacoma glass artist Dale Chihuly with an extensive collection of the artist's works on permanent display. TAM also offers walking tours of Chihuly’s public art in the downtown museum district, and we will hold our opening plenary and reception here on Thursday. Visit the Art Museum Website for more information.
At the Museum of Glass, it is all glass, all the time. Watch artists work with molten glass in the Hot Shop, visit the galleries, create your own art and browse the gift shop. Housed in a striking building distinguished by its iconic 90-foot-high cone, the Museum of Glass features ongoing glassblowing demonstrations in the Hot Shop Amphitheater, where visitors learn about the creative challenges of working with molten glass. Once you have seen the demonstrations view the gallery space that is dedicated to changing exhibitions of works executed in glass. Visit their Website for more information.
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is Tacoma’s stunning 500 ft pedestrian bridge. It holds three amazing glass installations that are open to the public 24 hours a day. The Seaform Pavilion ceiling was created with over 2,000 glass objects like an underwater coral reef of beautiful glass shapes. The Crystal Towers at the center of the bridge capture daylight and shine as if they have a light of their own. The Venetian Wall, the exhibit closest to the Museum of Glass, houses 109 Chihuly sculptures. The display includes some of the largest sculptures ever blown making this bridge a must-see.
In a restored and re-purposed railroad station (the western terminus for the Northern Pacific RR), the Washington State History Museum has strong collections in technology, railroad art and ephemera, as well as the political and social history of Washington.
Just a couple of blocks from the Murano Hotel, the Broadway performance complex is centered on the Pantages Theater; a 1918 Vaudeville house built with gold rush money and recently restored; this site became the anchor for a regional chain of theaters. October 1 and 2 features the “Cirque Mechanics Boomtown” World Premiere. For those interested in classical music, the SHOT meeting weekend also features the Northwest Sinfonietta 20th Anniversary Concert.
Adjacent to the Theater District [on Broadway and St. Helens, between 9th and 7th is Antique Row with more than 25 shops where you will find a wide range of antiques and collectibles. Famous for its vast variety of vintage and antique goods you’re sure to be entertained by this historic strip. Take the Light Rail and hop off at the Theater District, you can enter your first shop across the street from the station.
A number of breweries were established in Tacoma as the city grew as a port, railroad hub, warehouse center and mill town from the late 19th century on. After Prohibition, Washington’s brewing industry was reshaped by first regional and then national consolidation. Since the 1980s, craft and microbreweries have emerged and become a strong component of the regional economy, drawing upon local resources of hops, grains and water. Harmon Brewery (and Pub), near hotels and the Museum of Glass, is a great introduction to this signal regional industry. Visit their Website for more information.
Not too far away... A working waterfront maritime museum, the Foss Waterway Seaport is a vantage point on Tacoma’s busy port and also serves to preserve important elements of the city’s past. Part of the museum is in a timber-framed wharf structure typical of the early 20th century. The Seaport is on the waterfront, below the Glass Museum and we will be offering a tour there on Saturday. More information can be found on the Seaport Website.
Tacoma Craft Beer Festival starts Friday 1 October [5.00-9.00 p.m.], continues on Saturday 2 October [noon-8.00 pm] and wrapping up Sunday 3 October [noon-9.00 pm]. The event is located at Foss Waterway Seaport. You can expect food, live music, and of course lots of craft breweries to be represented. See their Website for more information.
About ½ mile from the Hotel Murano, the Karpeles Library is the world’s largest private holding of important original documents and manuscripts. The museum's Tacoma facility faces Wright Park and is just across the street from the Victorian-styled W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory. The museum exhibits original papers of historic importance in about 50 oak and glass cases. Exhibits are free.
Old Town Tacoma still displays history while providing contemporary conveniences. Walk down Old Town’s cobblestone streets and marvel at some of the city’s oldest buildings including Tacoma’s oldest saloon. The Job Carr Cabin replication is a museum commemorating the first permanent, non-native settler to Tacoma. Visit the city’s birthplace and the cabin authentically reconstructed to the original design and setting.
Point Defiance Park features the Camp Six Logging Museum that we will visit prior to the Salmon Bake as well as the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. Point Defiance comprises central Tacoma’s western end, a pastoral area extending into Puget Sound, with running and cycling paths and a number of beach sites, as well as the city zoo and aquarium. Camp Six is a 14-acre outdoor museum presenting vintage logging equipment and memorializing Tacoma’s heritage as an industrial timber center; Camp Six also features a logging railroad characteristic of the era before logging trucks. Fort Nisqually is on the site of an 1833 Hudson’s Bay settlement and represents the material culture of the fur trade era and of early European settlement on Puget Sound.
Especially for Historians of Technology... The original Tacoma Narrows Bridge (aka “Galloping Gertie”) is familiar to almost anyone who has had an introductory physics course; its 1940 collapse was attributed to resonance effects from wind loading by the Cal Tech aerodynamicist Theodore von Karman, and later attributed by others to chaotic behavior. The bridge was rebuilt in 1950, with a new eastbound span added in 2007. If you visit today, you might be lucky enough to see the legendary octopus that currently lives under the bridge. To see a video of the original bridge's collapse visit the SHOT Link-of-the-Month page.
While the LeMay Car Collection of vintage automobiles will soon move into central Tacoma, it now resides at a former military school on the city’s outskirts. Worth a trip for anyone interested in automobility; the collection numbers 2,000 cars, of which 300 are generally on display, dating from the late 19th century. Accessible by public transportation; take Tacoma’s #1 bus line.
Plywood was invented in the Northwest in 1905; the Douglas Fir Plywood Association was established in Tacoma five years later, where it still remains. The Tacoma Dome is the world’s largest freestanding plywood structure, a sort of Paul Bunyan-meets-Buckminster Fuller monument to the city’s history producing one of the 20th century’s ubiquitous structural components.
More distant... The Dupont Museum & Historical Society ia located in a former “company town” for the DuPont Company, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the only former company town in the state in which most of the homes maintain historic integrity. The Museum, in the old butcher shop/city hall, is filled with objects from the DuPont Company era . Exhibits feature life in the area beginning with Native Peoples and continuing through the Hudson Bay Company Fort Nisqually era. A new permanent exhibit "Life in a Company Town, Yesterday and Today" covers 100 years of history from the DuPont Explosives Company Town to Weyerhaeuser's planned community development, Northwest Landing. Open by special appointment. See their Website for more information.
In August 2010, the Chambers Bay Golf Course will become the first public course to host the 2010 U.S. Amateur. It keeps the traditions of golf offering a stunning tribute to the historic links of Scotland. This pure links golf course has views of the Puget Sound that are worth bragging to your friends about. The course is also endorsed by Audubon International as being a Silver Signature Sanctuary (the first in the Pacific Northwest). In 2015, it will host the U.S. Open.
Come early, stay late... Before or after the meeting, sites for day trips include: Bremerton (naval shipyard, USS Turner Joy museum ship, nearby Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport). Seattle (Museum of Flight, Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum at 1962 World’s Fair site Seattle Center), Forks (Twilight tourism at a Rain Forest town), Columbia River valley (wineries, fruit, Grand Coulee dam and Hanford nuclear site), Vancouver British Columbia (Winter Olympics city and spectacular cosmopolitan center, accessible by train from Tacoma).
For more information...
Tacoma's daily newspaper, the News Tribune has an excellent Website with loads of information about the city and surrounding area. The Website of the Tacoma Weekly and the alternative Weekly Volcano provide different perspectives on Tacoma's dining and entertainment scene.
The Society for the History of Technology
C/O Department of Science, Technology & Society;
University of Virginia
PO Box 400744;
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4744
tel or fax: 1.434.975.2190 (please put "for SHOT" on your fax)