There’s something ironic about a museum devoted to documenting a city’s progress getting booted out of its home in the name of progress.
Then again, the team at Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) understands better than most that civic progress does not happen without demise and demolition.
Housed for the last 60 years in a Montlake building originally designed by Paul Thiry (principal architect of the 1962 World’s Fair), MOHAI has been forced to find a new home for its vast collection of regional artifacts due to the expansion of State Route 520; the Montlake facility will be razed to make room for additional traffic lanes.
This isn’t the first time SR 520 has come crashing through the MOHAI space. In 1962, just 10 years after the museum opened, the path of the then-brand-new floating bridge and highway forced MOHAI to muck up its original design, shuttering the stately southern entrance and improvising a door on the opposite side of the building.
You couldn’t blame museum staff members for wondering what SR 520 has against MOHAI, but instead, they see this year’s move to the former Naval Reserve Armory Building at South Lake Union as a tremendous opportunity (and not just because it’s a chance to get far away from SR 520). Ann Farrington joined MOHAI seven years ago as creative director of new museum design, having previously worked on the Experience Music Project, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Newseum in Washington D.C. She believes MOHAI’s “reinvention” offers a wealth of positives: “the blending of a national historic restoration with a dynamic exhibition space, the opportunity to revisit the unseen richness of the collection and use it to tell the stories of our region, and to bring the history as close to the present as a history museum can hope to achieve.”
To read more about MOHAI, click here for the full story.
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