Museum of History and Industry 


MOHAI is the region's premiere institution for engaging people in the exploration and understanding of the history and character of Seattle and the Puget Sound region. MOHAI activities are specially designed to help individuals come face-to-face with the challenges of the past, to understand their role in the present, and to envision opportunities for the future. MOHAI provides a spectrum of history and heritage programs that make history valuable, relevant and engaging to everyone.

Mission Statement
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.

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Museum of History and Industry
860 Terry Ave N 
(206) 324-1126 

Leonard Garfield 
Executive Director 


Museum of History and Industry Programs

MOHAI creates and presents award-winning exhibits that explore local and national history, inviting visitors to discover how the past impacts our present and future.  MOHAI's core exhibit, True Northwest: The Seattle Journey examines the growth of our region from wilderness to world city, while MOHAI’s Bezos Center for Innovation engages visitors of all ages in the history and culture of innovation in our region.

MOHAI hosts national travelling exhibits from museums across the country, recently including Chocolate: The Exhibition from the Field Museum in Chicago and, currently, American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Curators and designers at MOHAI also build locally-focused temporary exhibits, such as Celluloid Seattle: A City at the Movies, Drawn to Seattle: The Work of Seattle Sketcher Gabriel Campanario, and Revealing Queer, a landmark display exploring how the Puget Sound LGBTQ community has grown, changed, and worked towards equality. In Fall 2015, MOHAI will debut Edible City: A Delicious Journey, which will serve up the story of how Seattleites eat and how our urban palate has developed over the years. 

Anchoring these exhibits are artifacts and images from MOHAI's extensive permanent collection, including more than three million photographs, over 100,000 3-D artifacts, and an archive of 200,000 items such as ephemera and oral histories. The collections provide an invaluable resource to researchers interested in the rich past of Seattle and the Puget Sound.    

MOHAI's education programs served more than 35,000 K-12 students and teachers last year. MOHAI works with area teachers to ensure all programs are aligned with state learning standards and are easily integrated with lesson plans. Through museum-based and in classroom programs, MOHAI provides hands-on experiences for students that connect what they learn in the classroom with artifacts and stories from our past. MOHAI ensures that all students regardless of means can participate by providing scholarships and subsidizing bus transportation. For youth 14 and younger admission is free.   

Reaching out to the community, MOHAI offers a wide range of public programs focused on adult learning. From pub trivia nights to curator lectures, MOHAI makes history accessible and fun for people across the region.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

On December 29, 2012 MOHAI opened an entirely reimagined museum in the historic Naval Reserve Armory in Lake Union Park. Since that date, more than 400,000 visitors have learned about Seattle's past, and deepened their commitment to Seattle's future. 

We have expanded our education programs to include early learning with miniMOHAI, a program that transforms the museum into an engaging play space for kids with six interactive stations that offer stories, dramatic play, and math and pattern activities. New school programs include Salish Stories, where students listen to stories, look at historic photographs and handle artifacts crafted by local artists to discover the culture, history, and language of our region's first peoples. The award-winning Significance of Salmon program is a hands-on program where students investigate the important role of salmon in the Pacific Northwest by exploring the history of salmon as a resource and the stewardship of salmon populations today.

One of our current needs is to fully fund our scholarship program, in which qualifying schools receive discounted program fees and assistance in paying for bus transportation so that all classrooms have the opportunity to be a part of the MOHAI experience.


Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) believes that understanding history is relevant to today's world, it fosters pride of place, and helps individuals in our community understand the importance of civic engagement. Their goal is to create a better informed and more engaged citizenry.

Best Practices
MOHAI invests in extensive testing and evaluation of its programs and methodologies in order to ensure they are compelling and effective in their delivery. They solicit feedback from various constituencies through surveys, interviews, and focus groups. They engage advisory committees in the development of their educational curriculum, and tie all their education programs to the state learning standards set out by OSPI.

Proven Success
MOHAI has seen increases in ticket and membership sales, and has expanded its exhibits and education programs. All activities at the museum are specifically designed to help individual and families come face to face with the challenges of the past, so they better understand their role in the present and can envision opportunities for the future. MOHAI is particularly interested in engaging new audiences, and actively use new technology and social media tools. The museum received an award for their social media work.

MOHAI successfully relocated to the historic Naval Reserve Armory Building in Lake Union Park. In their first year at this location they served 215,000 people, more than tripling previous annual attendance.  MOHAI’s award winning education programs have sold out in the past two school years, serving over 20,000 students annually. The response from the local community has been positive. In recent visitor surveys, respondents gave the museum a rating of 8.9 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 85% responding they planned to visit more than once. MOHAI has been honored to receive local, state, and national awards including Best Cultural Museum from Seattle Magazine, the national Buildy Award for Outstanding Museum Construction Project of the Year, and LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.


MOHAI’s multi-year business plan has assisted the Board of Trustees and leadership staff in strategic decision making to maintain their sustainability throughout their transition. MOHAI has robust earned income and doubled their membership base. MOHAI is currently building new partnerships with local funders while also expanding their individual donor base.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

6/10/2015 $242,288.00support the restoration and installation of the seven-panel mural, The Men Who Work the Ships, in the south vestibules of the historic Pacific Tower on Beacon Hill.
9/10/2013 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2012 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2011 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2009 $20,000.00support general operating expenses.
12/14/2006 $35,000.00support general operating expenses.


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