Arts & Entertainment

‘Bart at TAM’ — The scoop on the Tacoma Art Museum’s Simpsons exhibit

The Simpson family — they are everyone’s neighbors. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie have found their way from the fictional town of Springfield, to becoming a household name across America. 

Our favorite gang of quirky yellow folks were the creation of Matt Groening. A Pacific Northwest native, the Portland-born animator attended The Evergreen State College in Washington State’s capital city of Olympia. The exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum explains all of this, as well as a closer look at all of the characters, black and white concept drawings, and interactive looks at how frames of the show come together.

Each of the beloved characters is dedicated a section in the exhibit. Marge’s hair peeks out of one corner, while Bart’s classic disciplinary chalk-board writing covers another. This really reminds the viewer that the members of this dysfunctional family are what make the show enjoyable. From Bart’s constant shenanigans, to Homer’s alcoholic tendencies, the distinctive characters are something that the creators of the exhibit showcased. 

One of the more fascinating parts of the exhibit were the interactive elements. They had an in-person version of the famous Simpson’s couch right out front that viewers could use as a cute photo opportunity. In one area, they had cut-out cartoon clouds hanging from the ceiling that cast pretty shadows on the ground. A neon sign advertising the “Itchy and Scratchy” show was also displayed. 

One element that stuck out was an area where they had multiple 4-foot structures that looked like paper, to represent the amount of still frames it takes to create one episode of “The Simpsons.” At the top of these were stacks of the stills on transparent backgrounds that viewers could pick up and flip through to learn more about the design process. There were also concept drawings of each character on display. 

The exhibit was colorful and chock-full of information about the iconic TV series. All along the walls were frames from different episodes, as well as more information about the history of the show, and insight about the characters. As visitors walk through the exhibit, the bright, whimsical backgrounds make one feel as though they’re actually visiting the fictional northwest town of Springfield. 

Alongside “The Simpsons” exhibit, the TAM currently has many other notable ones to check out. They currently have an impressionism exhibit on display, featuring pieces from the famous French painter, Claude Monet. 

The museum is easily accessible to UW Tacoma students, being just a block away on Pacific Avenue. Admission is free every Thursday night from 5 to 8 p.m. — discounted for students — or if you have a military affiliation, you can check out all of the artwork for free.

For more information on attending, please visit:

The behind the scenes secrets of the TV show can still be checked out until December 31.