Starting in 1950, the Seattle Art Museum featured tours and exhibitions of residential architecture. These tours featured architecture ranging from traditional and classic homes from the turn of the century to modern architecture designed by nationally and locally prominent architects. The tours visited many neighborhoods of Seattle, providing access to homes of prominent Seattleites and art collectors. The general public were invited into gated communities and private enclaves, welcomed, and served tea and cookies. The tours continued until 1980.
Developed and run by the Art Museum Guild, these tours document the changes and growth of both the museum and the city. These tours opened the doors of prominent civic figures, from industrial magnates to university deans and presidents, and provided an intimate portrait of them through architecture, interior design, and art collections.
Seattle artists were featured in the exhibitions both through the art on display and tours of their own houses. Works from artists including Mark Tobey were on display, and local artists such as Jack Stangle, David Checkley and Walter Isaacs participated in the tours.
Joel Irving and Traci Timmons