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“Really fun museum!”

Museum of History & Industry
Ranked #21 of 463 things to do in Seattle
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) is dedicated to enriching lives by preserving, sharing and teaching the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region and the nation.
Reviewed 13 July 2014

If you are in seattle, check out this museum. Very informational with out being boring. The place is layed out from early times to present day. Telling the story of the people who started this city and the sorounding area. Kids will love it as it has a lot of hands on exhibits . Check it out, but give your self at least two hours, maybe more. There are also cool boats out side to walk through!

1  Thank Lilybet56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 July 2014

If you want to know the history of Seattle, then MOHAI is the place to go. The $90 million redo of the former Naval Reserve Training Center has produced a first rate museum. The displays trace the history from early native people to modern times. Each era is shown in small galleries and gives you the right amount of information through artifacts. On the first floor is the first Boeing B-1, a small float plane. There are several boats dockside at the museum showing Seattle's maritime history. To get there, you can take a trolley from near the Westlake Mall. Parking is also available on site. Allow at least an hour. You will be glad you came.

Thank Dale H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2014

We went to the MOHAI on our recent trip to Seattle. It happened to be the first Thursday of the month which made our visit free. They offer an audio tour that is accessible through your cell phone. The most interesting exhibits were the history of Microsoft and Apple and the history of the founders of the Seattle region. This museum was not our favorite site, but if you are in town for a while, it is definitely worth a visit.

1  Thank avivaleah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2014

I spent most of a morning there and was pleased with the standard of display and the information given about the city and its origins. Helpful staff who gave clear advice about where to start - at the top with the view over the lake. Then I worked my way through the galleries and although I knew very little about Seattle before I started - it was my first visit to the city - I found the information clear and well presented. Plenty of material about recent developments including the industries that have made Seattle prosperous in recent years. Very attractive setting near the lake and easy to get to on local transport.

Thank Mary E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2014

MOHAI had to relocate because of the renewal of the 520 bridge over Lake Washington, so in December of 2012, the new MOHAI in the old Armory opened. I visited on the first Thursday of July 2014. I had not realized until a day before going that on the first Thursday of the month MOHAI is free to the public (except for some of the special exhibits such as the chocolate one now on display which we chose not to attend.) Only about 2% of the items owned by the museum are on display at one time with many rotating in and out.

We arrived at 10:30 and it was not crowded, but by the time we left at 1:30, it definitely was, but still manageable. It is opened 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

The museum is located on a spectacular site on the southern end of Lake Union. (I learned the lake was named by someone with much foresight who had plans of joining Puget Sound to Lake Washington!) It is true that there is no onsite parking, but according to the museum website, one can park for $5 at AGC Lot (1200 Westlake Avenue N). Do remember to get a yellow ticket at entrance of the museum in order to get that special charge. The attendant had us park at the far south end, so we only had to walk less than 3 blocks on a smooth surface to the museum. As we got close to the museum, we crossed a bridge. On the top sides were pictures from the history of the area and the building...fascinating!

Normally the museum is $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, $14 for students and military and free for children 14 and under. On "free Thursdays," the special chocolate exhibit was $12.


The museum is 4 stories tall with the center of the building wide open with an old prop plane and the old Rainier brewery "R: sign prominently displayed in the center along with other great items.

We were advised by one of the many docents to start on the top floor, and took a map with the museum layout.

The museum is set up with visual displays, short movies of 6 to 8 minutes in a small theater or
1-2 minutes on small screens amidst displays, interactive activities, special activities for children, etc. For example, the top story was on the maritime history of Seattle. In the middle of the room, children were making origami paper boats. We had an amazing view from the windows (including one window with steps below for us shorter people) of the boats docked nearby and the Kenmore Air seaplanes taking off and landing on Lake Union. I learned about the history of houseboats (once a cheap way to live in Seattle and now quite chic) as well as the construction industry for boats in Seattle. I missed the World War II era TANG periscope with great views of the city. I was surprised to see the "people" adorning the front of ships were also "modern!"

The next floor down had the "Revealing Queer" temporary exhibit. I was not enamored by the title, but the exhibit itself was very educational "exploring how the Puget Sound LGBTQ community has grown, changed, become more visible, and worked towards equality. Informed throughout by the lived experiences of this incredibly diverse population, the exhibit traces its history from an emerging underground group in the years before the Stonewall Riots of 1969, to the large and politically active community that helped make marriage equality law in Washington State in 2012." See more at: http://www.mohai.org/exhibits/item/2620-revealing-queer#sthash.5f0XA2HJ.dpuf

That floor also had the temporary exhibit on chocolate with a lot of hands-on things for the whole family to do.

The 2nd floor had an astounding exhibit on the history of Seattle entitled "True Northwest: The Seattle Journey." I thought I knew a lot about the city but I learned a lot more and there is still much more to learn.
http://www.mohai.org/exhibits/item/6-true-northwest

The focus of the main floor was innovation and is great for students ages 10 and up to get them to think/dream. As retired teachers, we were very impressed!

The video of the great fire showed amazing pictures of the destruction and was done in a silly but cutsy song style to keep attention of the young too. There are 25 "snapshots" of the city from the early 1850s to the present to view. I enjoyed a number of the short films including the ones on the construction of the locks on the ship canal. As one got to recent times, one could see innovators and click on them to learn more about them. There was a room about hopes for the future and one could take his/her photo and write his hopes for the future....one of many interactive activities. There were two rooms of "facts" about modern Seattle, including one saying that NY gets 9" more of rain than Seattle but it is spread over fewer days in NY. I really liked the exhibit that showed that inventors had more failures than successes but kept on going.

I was fascinated by the "tree" in the left middle of the center of the building. The sculpture was named built from wood from the schooner Wawona which was built in 1896 and dismantled in 2009. It took two years to take apart and salvage wood from the schooner, dry it and then carve the finished sculpture. It is one of the few artifacts in the museum that visitors are welcome to touch. Since it hangs from the ceiling, it actually moves around when pushed lightly and gives the effect of being on the water!

There are also online exhibits. One currently available to view is a photo history of theaters past and present, showing the same buildings in the past and what is in the spot now. You can see it at:
http://www.mohai.org/exhibits/online-exhibits/694-celluloid-seattle-online

We were there for 2.5 hours and could have stayed more but had other plans for the day. I think it would be best for children 9 and up and great for adults. The free boat exhibit outside is also worth the visit.

2  Thank tanners47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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