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Charles and Emma Frye arrived in Seattle in 1888. Throughout a 25-year period, they amassed an unrivaled collection (eventually more than 230 pieces) of fine art painted by both American and European artists, mostly from the 19th and 20th Centuries. A trust in Charles Frye's will made provisions for a free public art museum, and today anyone can view the collection at no charge. Located on First Hill, the Frye Art Museum also includes the Gallery Cafe. Free parking is also available across from the main entrance.
The Museum of Pop Culture is one of the most interesting stops in Seattle. Located at the Seattle Center, this museum takes you through music history by immersing you in nearly 80,000 artifacts including photos, sound archives, costumes and musical instruments from notable artists. Most exhibits are interactive, allowing visitors to literally play with them. Also here is the Science Fiction Museum & Hall, which honors the greatest minds in the genre.
The Seattle Art Museum is internationally recognized for its excellent collection of Asian, African and Native American art and for its fine collection of modern art produced by Pacific Northwest artists. The permanent collection includes 21,000 pieces and while it doesn't have huge collections of European art, it does have plentiful local art and wonderful visiting exhibits. The museum is centrally located downtown near the waterfront and Pike Place Market.
Explore the history of flight from the Wright Brothers to space travel. Collections at Museum of Flight include commercial, military and civilian crafts. See a 1929 Boeing 80A-1, the sole survivor of its type. The 1926 Swallow was used as the nation's first contracted airmail service starting in April 1926. For those interested in more modern aircraft, there are the dynamic M-21 Blackbird, the fastest and highest-flying aircraft ever built, and the VC-137B Air Force One, which flew President Dwight D. Eisenhower on a historic visit to meet with Germany's Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1959. Take a walk through the “Red Barn,” a museum in its own right, where the Boeing Company manufactured its first aircraft. There is also a library with an extensive selection of aviation information, as well as a museum store and a cafe on the premises.
Located right on the University of Washington campus, Burke Museum is a natural history museum. Exhibits are separated into three main divisions of anthropology, geology and zoology, and focus on the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest. View totem poles, fossils, including the Northwest's only dinosaur skeleton, and many wonders of taxidermy. View displays of Native American art, gems and minerals native to the area.
This downtown location is the hub for all of the Seattle Public Library branches, and it circulates more than a million books annually. It has a large computer area and a 200-seat auditorium where literary programs, workshops and events for kids are held (all free of charge). Other services include an area to assist deaf, deaf-blind and hard-of-hearing patrons, a genealogy desk for those researching family history, and a writer's room to encourage new writers.
Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the oldest in the country and is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. The public research university has been a pioneering educational institution in the country and attracts not only the best students, but also some of best faculty from around the world. The university's well-manicured grounds are essentially the biggest park in the city. On a clear day, you can soak up views of Mount Rainier from Drumheller Fountain. Central Plaza or Red Square is the heart of the campus, where students flow in and out of Suzzallo Library and ordinary citizens head for the concerts and lectures at Meany and Kane Hall. The entire campus has a cohesive brick look, thanks to the university's insistence on making additions blend in.