Seattle Art Museum opens downtown on December 5, 1991.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 9/05/2001
  • Essay 3540
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On December 5, 1991, the Seattle Art Museum opens downtown at 1st Avenue and University Street. The $64 million structure has 155,000 square feet, four times the space of the old museum at Volunteer Park. New galleries display African art, Northwest Native American art, modern art, photography, and Northwest artists.

The new museum is the result of the 1986 voter approval of a special $29.6 million levy. Another $25.4 million came from private gifts. Robert Venturi (b. 1925) designed the building. The third and fourth floors displaying Japanese, Korean, and Islamic art opened on January 31, 1992. The new building enables the display of much more of the museum's 10,000-piece collection.

The Volunteer Park Museum was remodeled to house the museum's Asian art exhibits.


Deloris Tarzan Ament, "Seattle Art Museum: From the Beginning," The Seattle Times, December 5, 1991, p. F-1; "New Museum Goes On Exhibit Tomorrow," Ibid., December 4, 1991, p. A-1; Deloris Tarzan Ament, "Inside SAM," Ibid., December 1, 1991, Pacific Magazine, 19.

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