Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

Blue Star Voices: Seattle Art Museum

Confession? I know nothing about art. In the tiny town where I was raised there were no museums, and fine art wasn't really stressed in the curriculum I studied. I did take an art class once, but I failed equally in watercolors, charcoal, and oil pastels. My art teacher often shrugged un-enthusiastically and remarked of my masterpieces, "Good effort," which to me is the equivalent of a hearty "whomp-whomp!" My education into the world of art pretty much stopped there, so my opinions on art are solely based on whatever catches my eye.

However, given the opportunity to visit the Seattle Art Museum for FREE through the Blue Star Museums program (a trip that normally would have cost over $50 for this family of five), I invited some friends from the USS Maine Blue FRG and boarded the ferry to Seattle for an education.

We started our tour in the Minimalist and Modern Galleries of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection. Some pieces were beautiful, and some I didn't really understand. Some I wished I could have spent hours simply staring at, but in a group where adults are outnumbered by kids, questions, quiet conversation, and moving right along are a must.

As we meandered, the oil paintings in the American Art galleries drew us all in. The darkened room added to the ambience of the rich colors and stunning detail. My family agreed that [the piece above], Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast by Albert Bierstadt, was by far our favorite. It was massive and mesmerizing.  I was amazed at how the colors seemed to change the closer I got, adding movement to the roiling ocean.

Near the end of Level Three, we were all pleasantly surprised to find the Knudsen Family Room, a large beautiful playroom! There were baby dolls, books, and bird puppets galore, a real treat for families after more than an hour of good museum behavior! My friends and I joked that we were part of a living art installation, Families at Play.

After some playtime we decided to call it a day and head home, but I know we will be back. There are entire levels of art that we didn't get to, and while I am still not (and likely never will be) an art aficionado, I do know what I like, and I saw plenty of it at the Seattle Art Museum!

Jodi Ubelhor-Strauch is a proud Navy wife and mom to a teen, a tween, and a toddler. Outside family time, she enjoys volunteering with COMPASS Kitsap and the USS Maine Blue FRG and blogging at


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