Museum of History and Industry

Exploring the past, understanding the present, and inspiring a better future.

MOHAI collects and preserves the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region and beyond. Highlighting innovation and education, MOHAI enriches lives by sharing the individual and collective stories of our communities.

MOHAI believes that the preservation and exploration of Seattle’s past is essential to making effective decisions for its future. From humble beginnings in 1911, MOHAI has grown into the largest private heritage organization in the State of Washington with a collection of over 4 million objects, documents, and photographs from the Puget Sound region’s past. MOHAI uses these artifacts along with cutting edge, hands-on interactive experiences to make history come alive through the unforgettable stories of the men and women who built Seattle from wilderness to world city. In addition to museum exhibits, MOHAI hosts a variety of award-winning youth and adult public programs and consistently collaborates with community partners on local events and activities. Ultimately MOHAI hopes to connect individuals with our region’s rich history and inspire them to continue to make our home a strong, vibrant, and sustainable place to live.

Upcoming Events

We're sorry, the selected event has passed or is not currently available

November 2 - January 26

Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation

Created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation at MOHAI Nov. 2, 2019- Jan. 26, 2020, explores the rich heritage and diverse contributions of Indian immigrants and their descendants in the United States.

The exhibit’s presentation at MOHAI will also include insights into the Northwest’s Indian American community, highlighting key moments in our region’s history and compelling stories of Northwest Indian American pioneers.

January 9-26

Mont-Saint-Michel: Digital Perspectives on the Model

Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) and Microsoft Corp.on Thursday announced the opening of a new exhibit, “Mont-Saint-Michel: Digital Perspectives on the Model,”which features a unique blend of 17th and 21st century technology.
Powered by Microsoft AI and mixed-reality technology as well as the recently released HoloLens 2 device, the interactive exhibition transports visitors into a holographic tour of the picturesque Mont-Saint-Michel, a medieval monastery perched atop a remote tidal island off the coast of Normandy, France.
The virtual experience is complemented by a physical relief map of the Mont-Saint-Michel, an intricate, three-dimensional model of the landmark. Entirely crafted by hand in the 1600’s by the resident Benedictine monks, the 1/144-scale model precisely depicts the monument in such intricate detail that maps like this were considered valuable strategic tools to leaders like Napoleon and King Louis XIV,who considered the maps military secrets and hid them from public view.
“The Museum of History & Industry is honored to share this icon of world history, enhanced by leading-edge technology, to create a unique experience born of innovations both past and present,” said Leonard Garfield, MOHAI’s executive director. “More than 300 years separate the remarkable relief map and today, but the persistent human drive toward invention and creativity bridges those years, reflecting the unbroken quest for greater understanding and appreciation of the world around us.”
The opening of the exhibit is timed with the 40th anniversary of the Mont-Saint-Michel being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the first time the relief map, as well as the mixed-reality experience,has been in North America.
“The relief maps were technological marvels of Louis XIV and Napoleon’s time. It’s exciting to see how we can blend old and new technology to unlock the hidden treasures of history, especially for younger generations,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. “This exhibit provides a unique model for preserving cultural heritage around the world, something Microsoft is committed to through our AI for Good program.”
The Mont-Saint-Michel experience is an example of Microsoft’s AI for Cultural Heritage program, which aims to leverage the power of AI to empower people and organizations dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage.Microsoft is working with nonprofits, universities and governments around the world to use AI to help preserve the languages we speak, the places we live and the artifacts we treasure. For example, earlier today Microsoft announced it is working with experts in New Zealand to include te reo Māori in its Microsoft Translator application, which will enable instant translations of text from more than 60 languages into te reo Māori and vice versa. This will be one of the first indigenous languages to use the latest machine learning translation technology to help make the language accessible to as many people as possible. The AI for Cultural Heritage program is the fourth pillar of Microsoft’s AI for Good portfolio, a five-year commitment to use AI to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.
The relief map is on loan to MOHAI from the Musée des Plans-Reliefs in Paris, which houses more than 100 historically significant and well-preserved relief maps. The relief map of Mont-Saint-Michel is considered the museum’s crown jewel.
“One of the challenges in the history of art is the relationship with the public. To gain the attention, to capture the view or the interest of the public, is not always evident,” said Emmanuel Starcky, director, Musée des Plans-Relief. “With the HoloLens technology, you have now the possibility to realize immersive experiences in art, where you still see the reality but have more information about it. It will be a unique experience for the American public to discover the relief map, its condition in the 17th century and its evolution through three centuries, as well as reflect on the purpose of those relief maps.”
Drawing from hundreds of thousands of detailed images, Iconem, a leader in the digital preservation of cultural heritage sites, used Microsoft AI to create a photo realistic 3D digital model of the historic structure.Then, French mixed-reality specialists at HoloForge Interactive developed a unique Microsoft HoloLens experience to draw people into the artifact like never before.
The “Mont-Saint-Michel: Digital Perspectives on the Model”exhibit, including both the original relief map and mixed-reality experience,will be on display at MOHAI Nov.23, 2019 through Jan. 26,2020.

January 22, 7:00 pm

Beyond Borders: South Asian Immigrants and the Northwest

For more than 100 years, South Asians have migrated to the Pacific Northwest creating deep ties between the two regions. Each wave reflects the global and economic politics of its time and brings unique influences to the Pacific Northwest.

Moderated by Dr. Amy Bhatt, this panel brings together local leaders in South Asian scholarship to examine the political, cultural and historical impacts of these migration waves.

Speakers include:

Presented in partnership with the South Asia Center at the University of Washington.

Generous support provided by Chuck Nordhoff and Maribeth O’Connor. 

For disability accommodations, please contact programs@mohai.org two weeks prior to the event.

Location: MOHAI

Cost: $10 general public / Free for MOHAI members and UW students

January 25, 12:00 pm

Maker Day: Making Train Cars

Learn how to assemble, paint, and weather unique model railway components with local artist and model train builder Thomas Stephenson!

Recycle an older wooden train car as the base for a new wooden steam locomotive, or construct a building for your model railway using wood and photographic textures.

MOHAI Maker Days explore what it takes to be an innovator. Join us on the last Saturday of each month for a drop-in event that features Seattle’s most innovative makers. From art to crafts to technology–come explore the endless possibilities of maker culture.

Location: MOHAI

Cost: Included with museum admission / Free for MOHAI members

February 15, 1:00 pm

Black Women Building Political Power: Voices Past & Present

Black women played a crucial role in the fight for women’s suffrage despite active exclusion from the movement by white suffragists. A century after the 19th Amendment passed, barriers to voting and political involvement continue.

Hear from black women tackling this systemic discrimination through political leadership along with youth activists organizing regional civic education.

Presented in partnership with the Black Heritage Society of Washington State (BHS).

For disability accommodations, please contact programs@mohai.org two weeks prior to the event.

Location: MOHAI

Cost: Included with museum admission / Free for MOHAI and BHS members

February 19, 6:30 pm

History Café: What Bus Lines Tell Us About Seattle

Join artist, author, and bus driver Nathan Vass as he discusses the world of passenger interaction on Seattle’s city buses.

Vass will share new stories alongside some of the more notorious moments detailed in his bestselling book, The Lines that Make Us: Stories from Nathan’s Bus.

Together these slices of humanity record what history so often leaves out: everyday life.

For disability accommodations, please contact programs@mohai.org two weeks prior to the event.

Location: MOHAI

Cost: Free

February 22, 1:00 pm

Living Voices: The Right to Dream

Witness the struggle and sacrifice for civil rights in America through the eyes of an African American student in Mississippi during the 1950s and 1960s. Learn how the fight against prejudice has shaped our history.

Living Voices combines live theatrical performances with archival film, turning history into a moving personal journey. This performance will take place in the Joshua Green Foundation Theater on MOHAI’s second floor.

Suitable for guests 12 years to adult.

For disability accommodations, please contact programs@mohai.org two weeks prior to the event.

Location: Joshua Green Foundation Theater

Cost: Included with museum admission / Free for MOHAI members

March 5, 6:00 pm

5th Ave Theatre Presents: Baseball Saved Us

MOHAI and the 5th Avenue Theatre are proud to offer a free public performance of Baseball Saved Us, based on the groundbreaking children’s book by Seattle author Ken Mochizuki about the Japanese American concentration camp experience during World War II.

The award-winning children’s book follows the journey of young Shiro who, along with his family, is imprisoned in an incarceration camp. As Shiro struggles to learn how to play baseball on the hot dusty fields, he learns more than just the game—he learns how to survive.

Free First Thursday: On the first Thursday of each month, general admission to MOHAI’s permanent exhibits is free all day long! Free admission includes: True Northwest: The Seattle Journey and the Bezos Center for Innovation.

Location: MOHAI

Cost: Free

March 14, 1:00 pm

Battle for the Ballot: Women and the Vote

A hundred years ago, the hard-fought 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote.

Join us for a celebration and exploration of voting rights and the fight for suffrage, and learn how racial discrimination prevented many women of color from accessing the vote. This afternoon of presentations and art features a special performance by Living Voices, “Hear My Voice.”

Presented in collaboration with the League of Women Voters of Washington.

Generous support provided by Washington State Historical Society and Washington State Women’s Commission’s Votes for Women Centennial Grant.

For disability accommodations, please contact programs@mohai.org two weeks prior to the event.

Location: MOHAI

Cost: Included with museum admission / Free for MOHAI members

March 18, 6:30 pm

History Café: Women in Washington Wine

What does it take to make a splash in the wine industry?

Join winemaker Kay Simon, founder of Yakima Valley’s Chinook Wines, for a behind the scenes look into the world of Washington state viticulture.

Drawing on her experience as one of the first female winemakers in our state, Simon will share the challenges and successes that have marked her career and offer her unique insight into our state’s leading role in the wine industry.

For disability accommodations, please contact programs@mohai.org two weeks prior to the event.

Location: MOHAI

Cost: Free

Related Businesses

The Center for Wooden Boats

The Center for Wooden Boats is a place where history becomes something you can touch, build, and sail. Come learn with us, play with us, sit with us, sail with us.

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)

MoPOP celebrates the creative process, engages the imagination, and inspires personal expression in current and future generations.