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Dale Chihuly's Seattle Center Garden And Glass Museum Sneak Peek (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: Updated: 05/21/2012 4:55 pm

The largest museum in the world devoted to glass artist Dale Chihuly opens Monday in the Seattle Center, at the base of the city's iconic space needle. The high-profile commission, intended to be "a huge shot in the arm" for the Space Needle Corp. as it celebrates the 50 year anniversary of Seattle's World's Fair, wasn't without its critics. Locals feared the loss of open space. Some argued the world didn't need another museum devoted to Chihuly, whose wildly successful and prolific career (characterized by works that often resemble each other), they criticized as more a businessman's than an artist's.

Still, they may end up buying what Chihuly's selling -- even former skeptics are leaving early previews of the 45,000 square foot Garden And Glass Museum with handblown stars in their eyes. "On seeing it for the first time, it's hard to remember what was there before," wrote a Seattle Times critic of the permanent installation.

Check out photos below, and let us know how you rank the world's largest Chihuly museum in the comments:

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  • Kay Solberg takes photos of the "Persian Ceiling" during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of artist Dale Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • The Space Needle rises above the walls and ceiling of the "Glasshouse," featuring a 100-foot suspended, 1,340-piece sculpture, during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of artist Dale Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass

    The Space Needle towers over "The Sun," center, and the Glasshouse, left, at the new Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass museum at the Seattle Center, Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT; TV OUT

  • The "Macchia Forest" is seen during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of artist Dale Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • The "Glass Forest," one of Dale Chihuly's first large-scale installations, done in collaboration with James Carpenter and originally exhibited in 1971, is seen during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of artist Dale Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • The "Ikebana and Float Boat" is seen on display and in reflection during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of artist Dale Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • Vintage string holders are seen built into a table top display in the cafe during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of artist Dale Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • A chandelier is seen from underneath during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of artist Dale Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • A small glass octopus is seen in on a sculpture in the "Sealife Room" during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of artist Dale Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass

    The Space Needle towers over the Glasshouse at the new Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass museum at the Seattle Center, during a preview on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT; TV OUT

  • Dale Chihuly

    Dale, left, and Leslie Chihuly walk into the garden area and past the Glasshouse during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • Dale Chihuly

    Dale Chihuly sits in front of a wall featuring his drawings in the cafe during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Seattle. The new, permanent 1.5 acre exhibit is located near the base of the Space Needle and opens to the public Monday, May 21. It looks at the career of Chihuly and features an eight-gallery exhibition hall, conservatory and garden as well as a cafe with a selection of Chihuly's collections of vintage accordions, radios, clocks and other mid-century memorabilia. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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