Learn about the Washington’s history and cultural contributions by visiting any one of the many local museums.
Admiralty Head Lighthouse
Built in 1861 and rebuilt in 1903, the lighthouse guided tall ships toward the Whidbey Island shore where they could fill their sails with wind. It was the last brick lighthouse designed by renowned German architect Carl Leick, its walls 18 inches thick to withstand the earthquakes that shake western Washington. Admiralty Head's Fresnel lens was extinguished in 1922, but the lighthouse today welcomes visitors, weddings and tour parties with the help of dedicated volunteers. Hours vary by season; check the museum’s website for more information.
325 Fifth Ave. N
Seattle WA 98109
EMP Museum (formerly known as Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame) has plenty to offer visitors, including interactive activity stations where visitors can perform music before a virtual audience, sound sculpture and various educational resources. The 140,000-square-foot Frank O. Gehry-designed facility is home to exhibits that cover pop culture, from the art of fantasy, horror cinema and video games to science fiction, literature and costumes from screen and stage. Hours vary by season; check the website for more information.
Island County Historical Society Museum
908 N.W. Alexander St.
Coupeville, WA 98239
Island County Historical Society Museum chronicles the island’s rich heritage. Learn about Island County history, featuring exhibits such as its oldest artifact, a 120,000-year-old Ice Age tree trunk and a 1902 Holsman Autobuggy, the first car on the island. The museum is open year-round 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, excluding major holidays when the doors are closed.
PBY-Naval Air Museum
270 S.E. Pioneer Way
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
The PBY Naval Air Museum is a showcase for Whidbey Island’s naval aviation history. The museum is an easy-to-find resource for those curious about the seaplanes that came to call Whidbey home and naval aviation in general. The museum features several interactive exhibits that can give visitors a taste of the PBY experience. People can squeeze inside the cramped space of a PBY gun turret and feel what it must have been like. There are two flight simulators where visitors can try flying everything from the PBY to today’s modern aircraft. There’s also a theater where visitors can learn about the Navy’s presence on Whidbey starting with the seaplane base east of Oak Harbor. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.