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Originally published Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 3:15 PM

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No wait or hassle for passport — to state museums

Like the library passport program in which people could visit libraries and get a stamp on a special passport booklet to show they had been there, a Seattle woman has created a similar museum passport program. She has 23 state museums signed on, where visitors can learn not only about the museums, but get a stamp in their passport booklets.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Museum Passport Program

• Bellevue Arts Museum

• Burke Museum, Seattle

• Children's Museum of Tacoma

• Edmonds Historical Museum

• Frye Art Museum, Seattle

• Hands On Children's Museum, Olympia

• Henry Art Gallery, Seattle

• Imagine Children's Museum, Everett

• KidQuest Children's Museum, Bellevue

• Maryhill Museum, Goldendale

• Mobius Kids Children's Museum, Spokane

• Museum of Glass, Tacoma

• Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

• Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle

• Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, Spokane

• Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

• Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art, Bellevue

• Seattle Art Museum

• Seattle Asian Art Museum

• Skagit County Historical Museum, La Conner

• State Capital Museum, Olympia

• Tacoma Art Museum

• Washington State History Museum, Tacoma

Source: Carla Humrich

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Last year, Carla Humrich took her 6-year-old granddaughter to every Seattle public library as part of its passport program, where people could visit each branch and get a unique stamp on a special passport booklet to show they had been there.

"They inspired me," said Humrich, who is launching a similar museum passport program this week. She has 23 museums in the state signed on, where visitors can learn not only about the museums, but also get a stamp in their passport booklets.

"I've always loved museums," said Humrich, an architect. "I started thinking about it last summer and contacted all the museums I could find. I was able to bring it together."

With a $550 grant from the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Humrich printed 1,500 booklets for the museums, most in the Seattle area. Some museums, along with the city, have helped with the printing costs.

She put together the 45-page passport booklets, listing all the museums with information about each one, including hours, price, websites and photographs. "I thought, what a fabulous idea for museums," said Humrich, who, as an architect, said she could do the graphic design of the booklets.

The passport program, which Humrich calls "Awesome Museums of Washington State," will run through December.

Unlike the Seattle library program, Humrich has no prizes for those who fill their passport, other than the personal accomplishment. And there's no museum discount with the passport.

Humrich said she plans to visit all 23 museums, passport in hand, with her granddaughter Jocelyn.

Lori Patrick, with the city's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, said the office decided to help Humrich because its smART ventures program encourages innovation.

"That's exactly what Carla's museum-passport project does," Patrick said. "It was an interesting project because she's a community member making a difference, an individual who has a great idea who can make a difference broadly in the community through arts."

Patrick also praised Humrich's project because it already had moved beyond the idea phase and was ready to go.

Since launching the smART ventures program in 2006, the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs has invested about $188,000 in 218 projects.

Nicky Ducommun, with the Museum of History & Industry, which received 50 booklets Tuesday, said she's excited about the program.

"It gives something to our patrons, a memento of their visit," she said. "And it's fun for people."

Humrich said she always wanted to design a museum, and this was the next best thing. She hopes her passport project might help draw people to museums even in this tough economy.

"In these times, everyone needs our support," she said. "I hope it helps."

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com

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