Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Bruce Lee exhibit

Bruce Lee exhibit opening at Wing Luke Museum

"Be Water, My Friend" features digital interactives and quotations

The life and work of Bruce Lee are celebrated in a new exhibit at Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum.

“Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee,” opens July 9 and will feature digital interactives and quotations. The exhibit tracks Lee’s journey as he developed his personal philosophy of mind, body and spirit.

Lee, who died in 1973, was beloved as not only a talented martial-arts practitioner and actor but also a deep thinker and believer in self-expression and self-improvement.

“Be Water, My Friend,” is one of his well-known sayings. In addition, it is the title of Shannon Lee’s book about her father. The publisher explains that the phrase reflects the idea that “being like water allows us to embody fluidity and naturalness in life, bringing us closer to our essential flowing nature and our ability to be powerful, self-expressed and free.”

The Wing Luke is also now the permanent home for the “Bruce Lee Story,” including Lee’s personal 2,800-book library on permanent loan from the Bruce Lee Foundation, a partner in the new Bruce Lee exhibit.

Bruce Lee grew up in Hong Kong and discovered martial arts as a teenager. He also became interested in acting and dancing and appeared in more than 20 films, according to a biography on the Foundation’s website. As a young adult, he moved to San Francisco and then to Seattle. He he studied philosophy at the University of Washington, worked as a dance and martial-arts instructor and got married. He went on to open martial-arts schools, and the couple had two children. He gained greater prominence by appearing in the 1966 TV series, “The Green Hornet.” He died from an allergic reaction to a pain medication in 1973, when he was 32.

The foundation was founded in 2002 to share Lee’s  art and philosophy. It “believes in building bridges that create heartfelt connection and healing support for people, communities and cultures.” Among its programs for kids is Camp Bruce Lee, which combines martial arts with confidence-building activities, philosophy games, crafts, music and outdoor activities. Seattle is one of its locations.



Bruce Lee exhibit at Wing Luke

Members-only preview: 3-8 p.m. Friday, July 8.

Opening celebration: 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 9. Exhibit open until 5 p.m.

The celebration will include a short program, lion-dance blessing, martial-arts demonstration and more. Admission will be by timed tickets.


More in Seattle’s Child

“Life in One Cubic Foot” exhibit open through July 17 at Seattle’s Burke Museum

Seattle Children’s Museum reopens with new features

About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 15-year-old girl.