Engage with Pacific Northwest History and Innovation at MOHAI

April 28, 2024 at 3:35 p.m.
Located in the historic Naval Reserve Armory in Lake Union Park, MOHAI is the largest private heritage organization in Washington, photo courtesy MOHAI
Located in the historic Naval Reserve Armory in Lake Union Park, MOHAI is the largest private heritage organization in Washington, photo courtesy MOHAI


Our region is blessed with an abundance of natural and cultural wonders. Northwest Prime Time travel writer, Debbie Stone, invites you to enjoy the local attractions just like the tourists do -- why not? Debbie will submit a series that explores fun things to do, including this one on MOHAI. Having previously lived in the Pacific Northwest for many years, Debbie still has close ties to the region and visits often to see her children, grandchildren and other family members.

A visit to the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) should be on everyone’s list. And if you’ve already been there and think you’ve done that, go again, as there’s always something new at this beloved attraction in Seattle.

Located in the historic Naval Reserve Armory in Lake Union Park, MOHAI is the largest private heritage organization in Washington, and it’s one of the oldest, too, dating back to 1911. It boasts an amazing collection of over four million objects, documents, photos and other artifacts from the Puget Sound’s past. You’ll find about two percent of these items on display at any given time.

The museum takes pride in its state-of-the-art, hands-on, interactive experiences that immerse visitors in the region’s history. Its core exhibit, “True Northwest: The Seattle Journey,” depicts how the past has shaped the unique culture of the area. You’ll hear stories from individuals who made Seattle what it is today, taking it from “wilderness to world city.” And with the help of a series of snapshots via photos, interactive media and various artifacts, you’ll be able to delve deeper into this fascinating journey.

True Northwest: The Seattle Journey, photo courtesy MOHAI


Another permanent exhibit, “Maritime Seattle,” explores the region’s age-old connection to water using images, models and artifacts to “juxtapose historical activities with modern ones seen on Lake Union” today. The museum’s picturesque waterfront location offers a good look at some of these activities through the gallery’s north-facing windows. It’s a dynamic area to spot boats, seaplanes, paddlers and wildlife.

Seattle Maritime, photo courtesy of MOHAI


Of note in this gallery is a working WWII-era Tang periscope, offering 360-degree views of the city, and an 1885 Fresnel Lens from the Smith Island Lighthouse. You can also test out a real working ship’s wheels.

In “Bezos Center for Innovation,” also a permanent exhibit, creativity and invention take centerstage as visitors learn how innovation shaped the region and changed the world. Get insights from well-known innovators and learn how Seattle became a leader of big ideas and new directions. Who knows, you might be inspired to set off on your own path of discovery!

Bezos Center for Innovation, photo courtesy of MOHAI


Currently on tap through Jan. 1st, 2025, is “MOHAI’s Kid-Struction Zone,” so if you’ve got any young’uns (ages 2-7), head over to this lively discovery area. There’s everything to get little explorers’ creative juices and imaginations flowing with a DUPLO table and tool bench, felt table, magnet boards and more. They’re bound to be engaged for hours!

Just in time for summer fun, “Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO® Bricks” opens May 25th and runs through September 22nd. This highly anticipated exhibit features dazzling skyscrapers from North America, Asia and Australia that were constructed in amazing detail by Ryan McNaught, one of only twenty-one LEGO® Certified Professionals in the world.

Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks, photo courtesy of MOHAI


McNaught and his team used more than a half a million LEGO® Bricks and devoted over 2,400 hours to create the structures in the exhibit. You’ll find the Burj Khalifa, Willis (Sears) Tower, Crown Sydney, Bank of America Plaza, Tokyo Sky Tree, Tapai 101, Marina Bay Sands and many more examples of famed global marvels. 

These impressive structures will certainly elicit plenty of oohs and aahs and they’re bound to bring out your inner LEGO® Brick engineer. Fortunately, you’ll have an opportunity to create your own “Towers of Tomorrow” with over 200,000 loose LEGO bricks available in special hands-on construction areas.

Mark your calendars for another new exhibit, “Almost Live! (Almost an Exhibit),” opening August 31st. Those of you who remember the successful sketch comedy show, “Almost Live,” which aired on KING 5 from 1984 – 1999, will get a kick out of this exhibit. It features costumes and props and materials from the writing and production process, accompanied by clips from the show. These displays tell the story of an innovative cast and crew who brought much humor into our world at a time when Seattle was rapidly rising to prominence on a national stage.

For more information, visit www.mohai.org


Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries spanning all seven continents, and her stories appear in numerous print and digital publications. See her travel articles under our "Travels Near & Far" section.

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