WaMA’s Annual Conference in Bellingham!

June 20-22, 2018
“Transcending Boundaries”

Online Registration


Washington Museum Association Annual Conference
June 20-22, 2018


Welcome to Bellingham, the City of Subdued Excitement, where mountains and sea collide! The Whatcom Museum is thrilled to be hosting the annual Washington Museum Association conference here in the far northwest corner of our state.

This year’s conference theme is “Transcending Boundaries.” As museums continue to explore new ways to engage communities in conversations that bridge cross-cultural boundaries, they also help bring acceptance of differences of opinion, create stronger cross-cultural collaborations with tribal groups and under-served communities, and combine multi-disciplinary approaches to interpreting cultural heritage, science, and art.

The Washington Museum Association invites you to explore with us how we can each transcend boundaries in our museums, as museum professionals, and as community resources. Not only will you come away with ideas and resources to share with your colleagues, boards, and patrons, but you will have the chance to learn and grow professionally.

Your home base for the conference is the Whatcom Museum’s multi-disciplinary campus, located in the heart of downtown Bellingham’s Arts District. Celebrating its 77th year in 2018, the Whatcom Museum has two distinctive and historically significant buildings. The Lightcatcher building, designed by Olson Kundig Architects (opened in 2009) features a spectacular translucent wall, 37 feet high and 180 feet long, that captures the Northwest’s most precious natural resource: sunlight. The LEED Silver-Level certified building features a permanent Northwest Coast Native Peoples exhibit and the Family Interactive Gallery (FIG), as well as hosting a rotating schedule of art exhibitions throughout the year.

The 1892 Old City Hall, home to Whatcom Museum since 1941, is a beloved city landmark, with its Victorian cupolas and central clock tower a stately community presence for more than a century. The building features rotating history exhibits, the Orientation Theater, the Maritime Gallery, a logging exhibit, and the John M. Edson Hall of Birds.

Throughout the conference, you’ll have the chance to explore the Museum’s campus and exhibits, as well as visiting other highlights of downtown Bellingham’s Arts District during the opening night Arts Crawl. Open just for WaMA conference attendees, visit the nearby Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, Mindport Exhibits, Make.Shift Gallery, Bellingham Railway Museum, and Allied Arts of Whatcom County gallery. On Thursday evening, we’ll take you on a waterside history tour of Bellingham with the popular History Sunset Cruise, cruising along Bellingham Bay while learning local history from a beloved local historian. You’ll gain a new understanding of Bellingham, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the sea, all while sipping on a glass of wine and enjoying a sumptuous dinner!