Seattle’s newly moved/remodeled Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is not your ordinary museum. This gem sits nestled between a nicely-maturing South Lake Union Park and the Center for Wooden Boats (both worthy destinations on their own!) in an area with million dollar views. When wandering past the boat pond to the museum itself, I found myself greeted by a lively flock of ducks. I consider these quacking sentry’s to be MOHAI’s unofficial welcome wagon.
Entering the doors to the museum is nothing short of breathtaking. It’s as if they collected every iconic image and item representing Seattle and created an enormous, crowd-welcoming shrine to them! From an interactive wall which includes the original Rainier R and harkens back to Eddie Bauer days, to the creaking reclaimed boards of the Wawona (once making her home in the muck and mire of the lake’s botton), this grand hall drew me in hook, line and sinker.
A vintage Boeing mail plane feels as if it’s ready to drop to a landing on the end-grained wooden floor instead of the lake. The icon Lincoln Towing “Toe Truck” sits drawing conversation and chuckles. Interactive displays of every kind draw visitors to not only explore, but to truly engage in their collections.
Each room in the upper floors tell story of Seattle’s past. From a kitschy-yet-informative operetta telling stories of the Great Seattle Fire, to exhibits paying homage to Chinese workers and WWII, I found something new around every corner. As a huge history buff, I found myself delighted in finding a wealth of information, photographs and displays – many of which I’d never known about before.
Love the sea? A third-floor room feels like a ship’s helm (and was apparently used for Naval training in earlier times). Today’s views from the “helm” include beautiful vistas across Lake Union with eagle’s-eye views of the Virginia V, the Swiftshure and seaplanes as Kenmore Air’s fleet motors out into the lake heading for destinations in and out of the city.
With a new Drawn to Seattle exhibit featuring Seattle Sketcher Gabi Campanario later this month, and the museum’s first anniversary in this beautiful new location just weeks away, I suggest this as a must-see destination during the holidays.