Nestled amidst towering conifers, Pacific Bonsai Museum connects people to nature through the living art of bonsai.
One of only two museums in the United States solely dedicated to bonsai, and one of only a handful of bonsai museums worldwide, Pacific Bonsai Museum maintains a collection of 150 bonsai that are among the finest examples of bonsai anywhere in the world. The collection is also the most geographically diverse bonsai collection in the United States, with trees from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.
A grand outdoor setting with the elegance of a fine art museum, Pacific Bonsai Museum features sixty trees on exhibit at a given time, open to the public six days a week. This cultural gem offers contemporary and traditional bonsai exhibitions, group tours, education program, field trips, and public events.
Pacific Bonsai Museum is a World Bonsai Friendship Federation Cooperation Center. The WBFF seeks to raise awareness of the existence of public bonsai institutions and to strengthen the relationships among them by providing a network for support of bonsai through an active exchange of information and activities.
The Pacific Bonsai Museum connects people to nature through the living art of bonsai.
At the end of 2013 the corporation gifted the entire collection to a new non-profit, The George Weyerhaeuser Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, known as the Pacific Bonsai Museum.
Photo: George Weyerhaeuser and former first lady of Washington Jean Gardner at the opening of the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection in 1989.
In Memoriam: George H. Weyerhaeuser
We are saddened to share the news that George H. Weyerhaeuser passed away on June 11, 2022. Our hearts go out to George’s many family members and friends for their loss. George was 95.
George H. Weyerhaeuser, great-grandson of the Weyerhaeuser Company’s founder, became Chief Executive Officer of the company in 1966. During his tenure as CEO, he transformed the Weyerhaeuser Company, and much of the timber industry, pushing it into long-term thinking. He pioneered a model of rigorous forest management and continued to nurture the Company’s trading partnerships, particularly in Japan.
As Japanese companies became true partners and the relationships between their people grew stronger, George led the company to recognize their shared connection through a meaningful, cultural offering that symbolized long-term care and a connection to trees.
That’s how the bonsai collection started. In October 1989, as part of Washington State’s centennial celebration, the Weyerhaeuser Company opened the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection to the local and world community.
In 2013, the Weyerhaeuser Company gifted our entire collection, in partnership with the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, to form a new non-profit organization known as the Pacific Bonsai Museum.
The art of bonsai and the business of growing timber, though different forms of tree cultivation, share the common threads of patience and perseverance.
“The care and long-term thinking that are the hallmarks of bonsai art remain true to my family’s legacy in sustainable forestry. I am very proud that our company created this lasting treasure of beautiful art.”
–George H. Weyerhaeuser
George continued to support Pacific Bonsai Museum during our first decade, serving as an Honorary Member of our Board of Directors and visiting the Museum as frequently as he could. He loved visiting the bonsai and receiving updates about our collection. We will all miss his kind presence and will continue to honor his grand legacy as we care for the bonsai in the collection he helped found.
We are an anti-racist organization
Updated July 2022
Since we first drafted this statement in 2020, we have committed to actively evaluating museum systems, structures, and practices so that we don’t reinforce discriminatory outcomes in the future. Some of the recent steps we have taken include:
- Committing to offering two dedicated spots in our ongoing Bonsai Basics classes reserved specifically for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and under-served community members;
- Participating in a 6 month-long partnership with a group of U.W. HCDE Master’s students to develop an Equitable Community Engagement Toolkit and Card Deck for the Museum to put equity goals into practice;
- Committing to applying an equity lens to our 2023 planning meeting, where we will map out our future programs and activities;
- Preference and priority selection of vendors that are BIPOC-owned businesses; and
- Staff and Board members participated in a three-part, anti-biases training workshop.
Pacific Bonsai Museum is committed to inclusivity with our visitors, volunteers, members, and supporters. We know that awe, peace, love, and admiration of bonsai and nature are not finite. Rather, these feelings only grow stronger the more people are included. We welcome everyone to discover the art and beauty of bonsai.
We remain dedicated to our mission–to connect people to nature through the living art of bonsai–knowing that as an anti-racist organization, we have work to do, and we are committed to doing it.
Pacific Bonsai Museum
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Read Grant's bio
guided by: organizational excellence, collaboration, trust, transparency
Grant was initially drawn to the beauty and mystery of bonsai but over the years has learned that bonsai—an art based on precision, discipline, focus, awareness, commitment, and continual learning—is the perfect platform for education and self-discovery. He is also a Past-President of the Puget Sound Bonsai Association. Grant enjoys teamwork. When he’s not training bonsai, Grant is a senior management consultant with extensive leadership experience in both the public and private sector, including Microsoft, other technology and biomedical Fortune 100 companies, biomedical corporations, and the City of Seattle. His expertise is in project management, risk mitigation, business transformation, process improvement, and is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. Grant participated in the Senior Security Executive Leadership Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He holds an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University, and a B.A. in Zoology from the University of California, Davis. He is a Past-President of the 900+ member San Francisco Chapter of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and is an ASQ Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence. Grant serves on the adjunct faculty of Northwest University, and his community service has included leadership roles with YMCA Youth Programs, Kiwanis/Key Club, and J.R.O.T.C./R.O.T.C. recognition awards.
Read Judy's bio
guided by: honor to her commitments; respect for others and for organizations in which she participates; a love of art
Since the day she accepted dual invitations from her brother-in-law, George Weyerhaeuser and Chair, Kit Severson to join the Pacific Bonsai Museum Board, Judy has delighted in her education in “the fascinating and beautiful art form of bonsai.” She particularly admires the devotion of Museum volunteers and finds herself energized by their for-the-love-of-doing-it motivation. In addition to Pacific Bonsai Museum, Judy currently serves on the Board of Lakewold Gardens. Her past Board participation includes organizations such as the Charles Wright Academy, NW Trek Wildlife Park, and the YWCA, among others. Before her recent retirement, Judy co-owned the Sandpiper Gallery that she ran for 30 years in downtown Tacoma; but before turning fully to art, she had her own practice as a dental hygienist. Judy was born in Wyoming and moved to Washington with her family before heading off to New York City as a college student to major in Chemistry. Judy is athletic and loves movement-meditation practices. She enjoys daily swims, which she has done nearly every day for the past three years. When she’s not swimming, rowing, skiing, or biking, you may find her studying music, painting, or participating in her regular french conversation group.
Read Mary's bio
guided by: arts, community, equity, quality of life
Mary Gates became enamored with Pacific Bonsai Museum’s breathtaking setting and contemplative collection while serving as Mayor of the City of Federal Way, creating video messages from the collection to send to officials in Federal Way’s sister City of Hachinohe, Japan. In addition to serving the community as an elected official, she has also been an educator at several universities, a small business owner, and an arts nonprofit Executive Director. Mary concurrently serves on the Boards of Pacific Bonsai Museum, the Federal Way Performing Arts Foundation, and the City of Federal Way Qualib, and is a member of the Federal Way Rotary and the American Association of University Women. When she’s not fighting for equity in finance, transportation, and land-use planning, or bolstering the South Sound’s cultural assets, you might find her enjoying a Seahawks game, spending time with family, gardening, or flying a kite.
Read Sheri's bio
guided by: sustainability, restorative environmental justice, antiracism
Sheri is excited about the beauty of bonsai and Pacific Bonsai Museum as a place of solitude and reflection in our hectic lives. She recently retired from her position of Professor of Chemistry at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) where, since 1979, she taught, led international study trips, and supervised student-led research. She also served PLU as the Vice President of Finance and Operations (overseeing the university’s budget, endowment, risk management, real estate, facilities, campus master planning, dining and other auxiliary services) and served as both Dean of Natural Sciences and Dean of Information Resources. Sheri was the founding Board Chair of AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) and Citizens for a Healthy Bay. She is the past Chair of the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and the current Chair of the Washington State Board of Pilotage Commissioners. In addition to Pacific Bonsai Museum, Sheri has served on the Boards of several other environmental and conservation organizations including the Tacoma Pierce County American Leadership Foundation and the Puget Sound Section of the American Chemical Society. She is an avid SCUBA diver, and also enjoys canoeing and alpine mountain climbing.
Read Christine's bio
guided by: integrity, equality, honesty, kindness
Christine was first drawn to bonsai from the perspective of horticultural science but has developed a lasting fascination with it as a form of living art. She holds a Master’s degree in Education, a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy, and has worked on state licensure and certifications of personnel working in schools. She is also a GCA Approved Judge in Horticulture and a Pierce County Master Gardener. When she’s not volunteering with one of many local arts and horticultural organizations, you can probably find her growing fruits and vegetables in her large garden, testing recipes for a nationally distributed cooking magazine, or fishing in Alaska.
Read Sharon's bio
Sharon Cornish-Martin is a business professional with over 35 years of experience working in a variety of industries as a project manager and strategic planner. She was employed by Weyerhaeuser Corporation from 1986 through 1996, during which time she spent many delightful hours at the Pacific Bonsai Museum. On leaving the corporate world in 1998, Sharon established herself as an independent consultant working with corporate project teams to improve their problem-solving and communications skills. Among her clients were Weyerhaeuser, Boeing, and Edmonds Community College. Sharon retired in 2009. In 2011, she enrolled in the music program at Cornish College of the Arts and completed her classical piano performance degree begun in 1970. Upon graduation in 2013, she joined the Board of Cornish College of the Arts, taking on several leadership roles including that of Chair, which she held over the academic years 2019–20 through 2021–22. In addition to her work with Cornish College of the Arts, Sharon continues to volunteer with other non-profit organizations.
Read Anthony's bio
guided by: the golden rule; optimism; creativity; big visions realized through incremental gains
Tony is a passionate bonsai artist and plant lover. You may have seen his show garden at the 2022 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival that took home the gold medal for Best in Show! Tony was drawn to trees for their natural beauty and peaceful-producing aesthetic qualities but is also purpose-driven on a mission to connect people and communities through bonsai. He is the past President of the Puget Sound Bonsai Association (PSBA) and owner of his own construction and landscaping company, Redwood Builders LLC. He graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Tony enjoys studying martial arts, digging deeper into Japanese garden design, drawing, and spending time with his wife of 29 yrs and their two daughters. In his free moments, he writes a bonsai blog at Bonsaiko.com and hopes to publish a book in the near future.
Read Galen's bio
Read Mark's bio
guided by: problem-solving; searching for viable long-term solutions to issues.
Mark appreciated art from an early age, and for a period, created, sold, and installed his own art. Though he knew little about bonsai when he was asked to serve on the Pacific Bonsai Museum Board, he knew and respected George Weyerhaeuser since his teens and he felt he could be of service after 40 years of serving on arts boards in the area. Mark’s business career has ranged from entrepreneur to manager of a mid-sized confectionery company. With a focus on developing and implementing aggressive strategic plans, he grew productivity exponentially and reinvested the proceeds into expanding markets both nationally and in 37 foreign markets. From 2003-04, he served as Interim Exec. Dir. of Bellevue Arts Museum, ushering the organization from closure to stability by returning the museum to its core competency, rebuilding the board of directors, raising $1.5 million for a building remodel, and completing a successful personal search to attract and hire an internationally recognized Executive Director/Curator. With that large undertaking wrapped up, he turned towards building an export business for the largest savory snack company in the PNW. Using a new business model of partnering with local snack companies in foreign markets, the business grew within 3 years from exports to a single foreign market to sales in 17 markets on 3 continents. Mark holds an M.B.A from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in French Literature from Dartmouth College. In addition to serving on Pacific Bonsai Museum’s Board, he has enjoyed serving multiple organizations in a variety of positions throughout his professional and civic life.
Read Kit's bio
guided by: listening, thoughtfulness, community-engagement
Kit is energized by the new American bonsai movement and is captivated by the beauty and tranquility of Pacific Bonsai Museum’s collection. She believes in community engagement which has led her to serve on the Boards of several non-profit organizations over the past 25 years, including the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Charles Wright Academy Board, Tacoma Art Museum, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, and now Pacific Bonsai Museum. Art and craft are in her blood, having been raised in the world of architecture and landscape design. She studied fiber arts in college and is an avid weaver, knitter, and art collector (particularly of works by PNW women). She enjoys gardening and spending time outdoors every day.
Rose Lincoln Hamilton
George H. Weyerhaeuser
Posthumous Honorary Director
Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers who help behind, and in front of, the scenes! (Please note that this list is updated periodically and may not include volunteers who joined us very recently–but they are no less appreciated!–and will be included in the next update.)
Vern Van Houton