Surf Local in Tacoma and Pierce County

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 10:00 AM by Matt Wakefield

We’ve all found that one Wikipedia page that leads to another, that leads to another, and pretty soon you’ve learned that some plants can do math and you hate that you know that. 

Try a more local digital rabbit hole. There are some organizations and businesses around Pierce County where you can get your mindless clicking fix, and maybe get some culture or history at the same time. Surf local. 

 

Browsing for the Sake of Browsing 

Tacoma Art Museum lets you browse through a huge portion of their permanent collection on eMuseum. I just spent a half hour looking at the architecture photography, because right now, things that line up and meet at square corners are oddly satisfying. 
 
TAM_eMuseum
Architects: Booth and Nagle; Artist:Christian Staub (born Menziken, Switzerland, 1918; died Seattle, Washington, 2004)
 
The Northwest Room of Tacoma Public Libraries is full of tens of thousands of categorized, cross-referenced, candid and professional, historical pictures of Tacoma. Just pick a decade, and follow the city through its growth and declines; its celebrations and its squalors. Lots of the photos include an address, so maybe you’ll get lucky and find something on your own street. Once you’re done there, the Tacoma History Museum has a similar online photo library to get lost in. 
 
Northwest Room photo
The author, working from home, or "an unidentified man contemplating whether to enjoy his last bottle of pre-prohibition beer."
 
Through the miracle of 360-degree photos and Google Maps, you can click yourself through a virtual tour of Fort Nisqually Living History Museum and Point Defiance Rose Garden.  

 
 

Browsing for Projects 

For some reason, parents seem to have a healthy respect for the zookeeper profession, and animals are an easy win for maximizing attention spans. So while they’re currently closed to the public, both Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park have come up with indoor scavenger hunts, activity sheets, and tons of resources to help parents navigate the line between entertainment and education. 

PDZA Nature at Home

The Museum of Glass: Icon of the Tacoma cityscape; world-class museum for studio glass art; functioning (not now, of course, but in the future) amphitheater hot shop; Hub for all things crafty and creative. Check out their projects on everything from making bird feeders out of oranges to tie-dying with Sharpies and reverse painting on glass.

MoG Bird Feeder

Got a sports-obsessed kid climbing the walls? The Tacoma Rainiers have set up an activities page with an online Rainiers storybook, downloadable/printable coloring book, and word games.  

If the younger folks under your roof are more inspired by things that go fast and take corners hard, LeMay – America’s Car Museum’s Fuel From Home resources will keep the accelerator going on both sides of the brain. Designing automotive ads, or just coloring in Corvettes will keep the right hemisphere engaged, while looking to the fuels of the future, and seeing friction, drag, drifting, and aerodynamics applied to driving will enchant the left. 

Think you’ve got it rough? The Job Carr Cabin Museum is a replica of the cabin where the first Tacoman set down roots in the 1860s, when electricity and indoor plumbing were decades away. Now they’re offering a full suite of activities from weekly online art contests for kids (cool!) to homemade butter instructions (yikes!). It’s the perfect remedy for (ready for it?) cabin fever (groan).  

 

Vegging Out with Videos 

One of the questions visitors ask us the most is what’s inside Old City Hall, and if they can go see it. Well the answer is a resounding no, unless you’re Pretty Gritty Tours, a local tour company whose owners also happen to be professional videographers. The result is Pretty Gritty Tours’ Old City Hall Tour video (and the rest of their virtual tours). You’re welcome. 

 
Time to zone out to some beautiful scenery of the South Puget Sound set to some chill music from J2G Creative. Hitting play is like hitting a mental Ctrl + Alt +Del for a frozen mindset. 
 

 

Mount Rainier is a natural distillery for tranquility, and you can pour yourself a glass of the hard stuff with a three-hour-long, 4K video of wildflowers, narrated by birds and insects. 

 

Watching glassblowers in action is mesmerizing, and the more skilled the artist, the more their creations just seem to take shape in front of them. The Museum of Glass has hosted the biggest names in glass art in their hot shop, and their YouTube channel has video of them all. Start with Lino Tagliapietra and go from there.  

 

Author: Matt Wakefield

Matt is Travel Tacoma + Pierce County's communications manager. He's a Pacific Northwest native and outdoor enthusiast. He's also a minimalist, so we'll stop here.

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