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Thursday, September 6, 2007

MOHAI on the Move

posted by on September 6 at 8:00 AM

It looks like MOHAI—that’s the Museum of History and Industry—is going to move to South Lake Union. Its new location will make ignoring MOHAI that much more convenient.

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Posted by Mr. Poe | September 6, 2007 8:19 AM

Yeah, I know. This was brought up at our last Guild of Scientific Illustrators meeting. I believe the room we're renting will continue to house future bi-monthly get togethers until the decision for a MOHAI move has been made. Don't quote me, I'm not the Guild's secretary.

Posted by June Bee | September 6, 2007 8:35 AM

Fuck you. MOHAI is one of the best things in this city. As a gay man, you have no interest in Shelly's Leg? They have their sign. Their photo archive is amazing. The history of Seattle is in there, and it is TEN TIMES MORE INTERESTING than anything on Capitol Hill, including your offices.

And their building is lovely, much lovelier no doubt than whatever monstrosity is going to get built for them in the Regrade.

Posted by Fnarf | September 6, 2007 8:39 AM

I'm very disturbed by the lingerie ad on the right wherein the model's neck seems unnaturally twisted. What's going on there?

Posted by Gabriel | September 6, 2007 8:49 AM

I'm a huge fan of MOHAI, but I have to admit I don't get over there much because their location sucks; they're basically on a little island in a sea of freeway traffic and, as a pedestrian, it's just a huge pain in the ass to get down there. If they're down near the Center for Wooden Boats, I'm much more likely to visit.

Is Shelly the woman whose leg got blown off by the cannon they used to use to start the Fremont Street Fair? I think I met her once.

Posted by Judah | September 6, 2007 9:01 AM

I do love the current building. MOHAI has an incredible collection, as Fnarf pointed out... I guess we'll see if SLU can do it justice. My guess is that it will get sleeker and more metallic. What's the primary reason they're moving? Just to be closer to biotech, or... what?

Posted by Katelyn | September 6, 2007 9:02 AM

Gee, Fnarf, can't we agree to disagree on the MOHAI issue? Our office are boring--you'll get no argument from me about that. But we don't charge people admission to 'em, or force school children to tromp through 'em.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 6, 2007 9:02 AM

PS I think MORE schools should force their kids to tromp through the collection. I remember that as one of my favorite field trips.

Posted by Katelyn | September 6, 2007 9:06 AM

I heard they're going in with Center for the Wooden Boat, which would make for a nice addition to their maritime exhibits (not that I've been to either place).

Posted by Ziggity | September 6, 2007 9:07 AM

Fnarf & Katelyn:

MOHAI isn't getting a newly-built venue, they're moving into the old Naval Reserve Armory building next to CWB, which actually makes a lot of sense given its proximity to the historical ships pier adjacent to the new SLU Park.

This was announced, oh, like, three or four weeks ago, BTW Dan, so not exactly a "scoop" here.

Posted by COMTE | September 6, 2007 9:10 AM

Ditto Fnarf, Dan! To anyone with a shred of interest in Seattle's history, MOHAI is a must-see. I spent many a rainy afternoon as a kid in there. Hope the new location is bigger and allows them to display some of the stuff that was archived(?) from those years.

Posted by MOHAI-Fan | September 6, 2007 9:10 AM

"And their building is lovely, much lovelier no doubt than whatever monstrosity is going to get built for them in the Regrade."

I hear ya #3. I thought the 800 Pike St was an excellent spot for the (temp) library. Granted, the nifty architect's hyper-cube is interesting to peruse, but really, do you think a fancy building makes people read more? Pshaw, if anything, it diminishes it. Actually, if you want to get a wee recent-historical, I probably preferred the liquor store at 800 Pike before any of this new-fangled constructione.

Cue: Talking Heads' 'Nothing But Flowers'

Posted by June Bee | September 6, 2007 9:13 AM

No, Dan, this is a life or death issue. You're either with me or against me on this one. No middle ground. Take no prisoners. People who don't like MOHAI should be ground into hamburger and fed to pit bulls.

Wait, is that too extreme?

Posted by Fnarf | September 6, 2007 9:14 AM

Since I work in South Lake Union, I guess I'll find this out soon enough... but, what's the Museum of History and Industry?

I've lived here for over four years, and this is the first I've ever heard of it.

Posted by James | September 6, 2007 9:14 AM

Historical museums get no respect.

Here you go:

Posted by me | September 6, 2007 9:22 AM

James @14, the name sounds pretty descriptive to me.

Posted by Gabriel | September 6, 2007 9:24 AM


The Museum of History and Industry is...

Oh, never mind. Just google it.

Posted by Judah | September 6, 2007 9:26 AM


Posted by Mr. Poe | September 6, 2007 9:50 AM

The Naval Reserve Building? That's actually a cool choice. I should have more faith.

They're not getting the whole thing, are they? The Center for Wooden Boats is in there, plus a ton of little offices. How does it compare SQFT-wise? Maybe I should read the damn article.

Posted by Fnarf | September 6, 2007 10:01 AM

Mr. Poe, worst and most pointless Slog commenter ever.

Posted by Gabriel | September 6, 2007 10:02 AM

PS - I'm OK with it as long as no one with any association to the abortion in Tacoma that goes by the name "Washington State History Museum" has anything to do with it. I like museums that have ACTUAL ARTIFACTS in them, not plaster replicas and ten-year-old computers.

Posted by Fnarf | September 6, 2007 10:03 AM

and if they move into the Naval Reserve building... where will gay bingo go!??!~!!1!

Posted by brappy | September 6, 2007 10:07 AM

Staedtler eraser!

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 6, 2007 10:13 AM

Fnarf, maybe you should take me to MOHAI sometimes? Help me see it through your eyes? I spent sixty years there one morning and can't imagine that anyone would find the place fascinating. But I'm willing to go there if you'll take me, Fnarf.

And buy me a soda.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 6, 2007 10:14 AM

I don't care where MOHAI relocates as long as they don't get rid of the fish gutting simulator.

Posted by history buff | September 6, 2007 10:15 AM

Haha, the only time I've ever been to MOHAI was to see a super-secret advance screening of Kill Bill V1. Good times.

Posted by T | September 6, 2007 10:21 AM

Sigh. What is Dan's problem with MOHAI? Is it just yet another manifestation Seattle's chronic and endemic anti-history sentiment, or something much more?

Posted by K | September 6, 2007 10:44 AM


I'm not sure about the other smaller orgs currently in residence there, but I do know CWB is building out at their existing site next door to the Reserve Building (most of the space they've taken up there for the past several years has been used either as temporary storage or occasional use only).

In any case, MOHAI still needs to raise about $35mm to refurbish the building and reconfigure it for exhibit space, and they're not expected to move in until sometime in 2011, so the whole deal is a ways off.

You can find out more about SLUP here.

Posted by COMTE | September 6, 2007 10:49 AM


Posted by Mr. Poe | September 6, 2007 11:00 AM

The Armory, eh? Fine. And Fnarf, you should take Dan up on his offer! Show him a good time at MOHAI.

Posted by Katelyn | September 6, 2007 11:24 AM

I always liked walking through the little recreated streetfront section as a kid.

MOHAI does a fantastic job imparting the legacy of maritime industry and recreation (e.g. hydros) in this region.

Posted by laterite | September 6, 2007 12:06 PM

I'm going to England and Ireland for three weeks in a couple of days, but I'd love to show you through MOHAI when I get back, Dan. If you promise not to hit on me.

I'll bet you could even call ahead and use your Stranger Editor Super Powers and get special guided access to the photo collection with one of the extraordinarily gifted folks who work there.

Posted by Fnarf | September 6, 2007 12:20 PM

Coming through Scotland, Fnarf?

Posted by Gabriel | September 6, 2007 1:42 PM

Coming through Scotland, Fnarf?

Posted by Gabriel | September 6, 2007 1:43 PM

No Scotland this time, alas. We were there in 2003. Just Manchester, Blackpool, York, Liverpool, Belfast, and Dublin (and a few other oddities, like Wigan or Ironbridge or possibly St. Helens or even Leigh).

Posted by Fnarf | September 6, 2007 1:50 PM

Sounds like a good and full itinerary. Have a great trip.

Posted by Gabriel | September 6, 2007 2:08 PM

Actually, that's less out of the way than that place near Montlake... not that I want to go and see it, which I still don't really.

Posted by Gomez | September 6, 2007 7:35 PM

MOHAI has the old City Light Building Mural. That alone should qualify it right there. Why City Light ever gave that mural up is beyond me.

(Well, actually, it's not beyond me. What's beyond me is how they got such a fabulous mural to begin with. But that's another story)

Dan, I know I'm no fnarf. It's one of my secret sorrows that I shall always play Melanie to his Scarlet. But I'd be happy to take you to MOHAI. We'd have to take the bus, mostly because I know how it would annoy you.

And no soda. I'm too old to go chasing you around while you're on some sugar rush. In fact, I think I'll hang out down by the mural while you go see the old dresses or whatever it is they have there. After all, the mural is near the bathroom.....

Posted by catalina vel-duray | September 6, 2007 10:42 PM

Just to repeat, but the MOHAI is great - a big part of my Montlake childhood. Mainly the canon by the parking lot stands out; also, the children's section with the old-west street was cool. I may be the only one who knows about the giant anchor buried in ivy underneath the upper entryway. My friend and I had a plan to steal it when we were about 8 but we couldn't get it on our skateboards. Oh, and the old Russian lady next door volunteered there.

Posted by Jude Fawley | September 7, 2007 4:06 AM

MOHAI has the cleanest public restrooms in the city, too.

Posted by Steve | September 7, 2007 10:32 AM

MOHAI is a small non-profit dedicated to preserving the history of the Seattle area, and they are only able to keep the doors open and the exhibits interesting with money raised through donations, memberships, and by charging an admission. If you think it's boring there - get involved! Why not buy a membership or better yet, donate $1,000? I bet they'd love to get your feedback, Dan.

And yeah, where else in Seattle can you simulate gutting a fish?

Posted by Hans | September 7, 2007 10:42 AM

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