Whatcom Museum of History & Art : Michelin's recommendations
This four-building museum complex is devoted to the region's cultural and artistic history centers. Its main building is the eye-catching former Old City Hall. Built in 1892 in the ornate style of Victorian civic architecture, the turreted red-brick structure, trimmed in sandstone and topped by a bell tower, opened as a museum in 1941. In 1992 the museum expanded into two additional buildings and took over management of the Whatcom Children's Museum. The galleries on the lower two floors are devoted to changing exhibits of contemporary art and photography, often curated by leading art authorities nationwide. The third floor displays a permanent collection of antique clothing, toys, tools and other local memorabilia, as well as clockworks that regulate the Tosco Tower Clock now installed in the bell tower. The museum's Syre Education Center (201 Prospect St.) houses permanent displays of Native American tools, chests and basketry by First Nations Peoples from the West Coast (mostly Lummi and Coast Salish) and Alaska (Aleut and Eskimo), and exhibits tracing the history of Northwest logging and pioneering.Also considered part of the Whatcom campus, the nearby ARCO Exhibition Gallery (206 Prospect St.) features major changing exhibits of art and history, and the Whatcom Children's Museum (227 Prospect St.) entertains and educates children two to eight years old with its hands-on play areas.