It is no secret that Seattle hosts a large variety of museums for a variety of interests. We’ve highlighted many of them in our “Best Museum Exhibits This Spring,” “The Best Museums for Dates,” “A Guide to Train Museums” and more. Most museums encourage self-guided tours and some offer audio tours, but to get the real experience, why not learn from the experts? Each museum’s tour guides or docents are employees or volunteers who love what their museum represents and can’t wait to talk about it to others. Here are five of the best.
Future of Flight Museum and Boeing Tour
8415 Paine Field Blvd.
Mukilteo, WA 98275
The world’s largest building is practically in your backyard and you’ve never seen? Now is the time. First, explore the many interactive exhibits and displays within the 28,000-square-foot aviation center gallery. There, you can design your own plane and learn how flight technology has changed over the years. Then, prepare to venture on a 90-minute tour of the Boeing plant to see how today’s planes are being built. A minimum height requirement of four feet is strictly enforced.
Museum of History & Industry
860 Terry Ave. N.
Seattle WA, 98109
Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) offers a variety of seated presentations to choose from to add to your visit. Each features history lessons of Seattle in 45 minutes or less including: “Seattle 101,” which takes you from native settlement to present times; “Seattle Icons,” focusing on eight fun places in Seattle that make the city memorable; “Innovative Seattle,” which deals with some of Seattle’s greatest inventors; and “Seattle Fashion History,” detailing more than just the grunge look.
Seattle Art Museum
1300 1st Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
The Seattle Art Museum is recommended often as the one art museum to not miss. Everything about it is first class. In addition to your museum admission, tours are given for free. Times and topics vary depending on what time of the year it is, but sample tours include “In Focus Gallery Talks,” which are 30-minute discussions on a single gallery, “My Favorite Things,” where a featured Seattle artist, performer or critic comes prepared to talk up their favorite works, and “ACCESS Tours” for visitors with low or no vision.
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Northwest Railway Museum
38625 S.E. King St.
Snoqualmie, WA 98065
Founded in 1957, The Northwest Railway Museum is the largest and complete railway museum in Washington State. It offers tours on a variety of train history, but the most popular is the Premier Tour which includes a short ride to the Train Shed Exhibit Building. Tour the 25,000-square-foot building and learn about the train-related artifacts displayed there, then re-board the train for a quick trip to the top of Snoqualmie Falls. The museum’s docent is on hand at all times to answer all of your questions and to offer up interesting train trivia.
Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
University of Washington
7th Ave. N.E. and N.E. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98195
Located at the University of Washington campus, the Burke Museum offers guided tours for every age on a variety of topics. Museum docents will give you the inside scoop on the museum’s collections and the history of the museum itself. The museum describes each tour as “a wonderful way to augment your study of a particular topic, compare ideas, ask probing questions, and see the natural world from a different perspective.”
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Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at Examiner.com.