Museum of Glass is proud to announce Illuminate: Glass Art for Early Learners, opening April 29 and on view until Spring 2024. Illuminate is an exhibition for kids and their grown-ups that explores what makes glass a unique art material – the ability to capture and manipulate light. Each piece of art will be activated by opportunities for families to create, move, play, and experience what makes glass extraordinary. Visitors can create their own design with a larger-than-life LiteBrite™, make art from shadows, and discover what makes glass glow in the dark.

“The most important part of early learning is that it is fueled by exploring together. As someone who became a parent during the pandemic, I relish opportunities to be out exploring the world with my own toddler. It is such a privilege to look at the Museum’s collection from this perspective. Glass might seem too fragile for early learners, but its ability to work with light opens space for all ages to learn about the world around them. I hope that this exhibition is a space where visitors of all ages, especially kids, can experience glass and be creative,” said Curator Katie Buckingham.

Susan Stinsmuehlen-Amend (American, born 1948). Pro Rata Lyricism, 1987-1988. Handblown roundels, etched glass, lead fabrication with overlays, metals, ash frame; 92 × 96 in. Collection of Museum of Glass, gift of David Huchthausen. Photo courtesy of the artist

John Kiley (American, born 1973). Shadowmaker, 2014 and 2015. Blown glass; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

The exhibition will unfold through world-class artworks created by Dan Bancila, Heike Brachlow, Dale Chihuly, Nikola Dimitrijevic, Etsuko Ichikawa, John Kiley, Dominick Labino, Flora C. Mace, Richard Royal, Lisabeth Sterling, Susan Stinsmuehlen-Amend, Meredith Wenzel, Veruska Vagen, František Vizner, and more.

“We are thrilled to be opening Illuminate and look forward to people of all ages interacting with the work of these exceptional artists. We aim to make our galleries engaging and instructive to all visitors, and this exhibition is another opportunity for Museum of Glass to better serve our diverse community. While glass is fine art, and delicate, it can also be an invaluable teaching medium for early learners and their families,” said Museum of Glass Executive Director Debbie Lenk.

Marvin Lipofsky (American, 1938 – 2016). Tacoma Series 2007-9 #1 (Berkeley to Tacoma I-5), 2007-2009. Semi-mold-blown glass; cut, ground by hand, sandblasted, and acid-polished; 14 1/2 x 20 x 16 in. (36.8 x 50.8 x 40.6 cm). Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the artist (VA.2009.10). Photo by M. Lee Fatherree.

Dominick Labino (American, 1910 – 1987). Untitled (sculpture), 1982. Hot-worked glass, air traps, and internal veilings; 5 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 1 3/4 in. (14.6 x 8.9 x 4.4 cm). Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of Elizabeth H. and Heinz K. Wolf (2008.10.13). Photo by Duncan Price.

Additionally, Illuminate has been developed with consultation by Alysia Jines, Greentrike Program Manager for the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. In partnership with Museum of Glass, Children’s Museum of Tacoma will display a temporary exhibition featuring artwork from the Museum of Glass Kids Design Glass program throughout the duration of Illuminate. The glass sculptures are viewable in the cabinets next to Becka’s Studio and include glass-inspired activities.

“The Illuminate exhibition centers on children by honoring their inquisitive and capable exploration. It is wonderful to see a fine art museum incorporating child-friendly elements and finding ways to engage young audiences,” said Alysia Jines.

Children’s Museum child visitors will also submit drawings for Kids Design Glass consideration. On October 28, the Museum of Glass Hot Shop Team will blow a piece that uses one these drawings as the inspiration. More about Kids Design Glass below.

An opening celebration will be held on Saturday, April 29, with family-fun activities for kids, including face painting, crafts, storytimes, and Kindermusik sessions. Plus, the Hot Shop Team will be working with this month’s featured child designer to create the latest addition to the Kids Design Glass collection. Museum Members will have access to an exclusive lounge with refreshments.


The Kids Design Glass program was inspired by an exhibition the Museum hosted celebrating the relationship between designers and master glassblowers. This designer-maker relationship begged the question: Can children be designers of fine art, too?

Each month kids age 12 and under submit designs for the Museum’s Hot Shop Team to review and one is chosen to create in glass, to the child-designer’s exact specifications. The child-designer is an integral part of the creation of the piece, interacting with the Museum’s resident glassblowers to ensure all elements are made correctly. The whimsical designs are often extraordinarily difficult to create with glass. MOG’s Hot Shop Team relishes the challenge of being pushed into uncharted territories.


Located in Tacoma, Washington, Museum of Glass is a premier contemporary art museum dedicated to glass and glassmaking with the West Coast’s largest and most active museum glass studio. Opened in 2002, the Museum has established a reputation for hosting impactful and engaging artist residencies, organizing nationally traveling exhibitions, and creating unique programs for visitors while building a growing permanent collection chronicling the development of modern and contemporary glass. Museum of Glass provides an environment for artists and the public to ignite creativity, fuel discovery, and enrich their lives through glass and glassmaking.

Quick Facts

  • Museum of Glass has displayed over 140 exhibitions since 2002, featuring glass art pioneers such as Dale Chihuly, Lino Tagliapietra, and Preston Singletary.
  • Over 100,000 visitors explore the Museum each year.
  • The Hot Shop hosts over 35 Visiting Artist Residencies each year.
  • The Museum has engaged over 200,000 children through educational programs.
  • 750 soldiers and veterans have been served through the Hot Shop Heroes program

Address: 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA 98402
Hours: 10am-5pm, Wednesday – Sunday. Third Thursday of every month, 5am-8pm, free admission
Admission: $18 – Adults; $16 – Seniors (65+)/College Students (18+)/Military (Active and Veteran); $10 – Children (6–18); Free – Children (under 6); Free – Museum Members; $1/person; $2/family – EBT Cardholders


Greentrike is a nonprofit that advocates for and models equitable access to playful experiences for children, youth, and families — because play is essential for learning, joy, and a thriving community.

Greentrike powers the Children’s Museums of Tacoma and at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, both locations offering a donation-based admission program called Pay As You Will.

Greentrike champions play and learning through programs such as Play to Learn Pierce County, Preschool Powered by Play, Out-of-School Time Intermediary, Expanded Learning Opportunities, Greentrike Cares Kits, and the Early Learning and Reading Network.

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