Past Exhibits

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Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s:
July 2 - September 25, 2016

 Walker Gallery

Toys exhibit 60s 1Gumby. Barbie. Slinky. Mr. Potato Head. Wham-O. Spirograph. Hot Wheels. The names of these popular toys capture the craziness, joy, and the sheer fun of being a kid. But beneath those nutty names are rich veins of nostalgia, memory, and history. Channel your inner child with the West Coast premiere of Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s.

Toys of the '50, '60s and '70s is a dynamic traveling exhibit developed by the Minnesota History Center, making its West Coast premiere at MOHAI. Not only does this exhibit exude FUN with its themed rooms filled with games and toy treasures, it also encourages visitors to play and let their imaginations run wild.

Toys exhibit 70s 6 web

Reflections on the significance and silliness of childhood passions taken from published sources and first-hand personal accounts are at the core of the exhibit. Through three living rooms and one garage setting, visitors explore hundreds of playthings, including toys that made the naughty list for being messy, dangerous and annoying. Visitors also experience multimedia presentations and a trivia game hosted by the original Brady Bunch's Maureen McCormick. Around every corner is a space for visitors to immerse themselves in hands-on play.





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The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop: September 19, 2015 - May 1, 2016

Walker Gallery

Get to know the people, places, and events that make up one of Seattle’s most vibrant cultural communities in The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop.

Curated by Seattle natives Jazmyn Scott (The Town Entertainment) and Aaron Walker-Loud (Big World Breaks), this interactive exhibit immersed visitors in the sights and sounds of the region’s growing Hip-Hop culture through audio recordings, photography, artwork, artifacts, and more. The exhibit explored many facets of the Seattle Hip-Hop scene, including graffiti, deejaying, break dancing, production, and emceeing, linking our region to the continuously evolving global Hip-Hop movement. Throughout, the exhibit brought the first-person narratives and experiences of Seattle performers and artists to the forefront, creating an intimate and human look at this dynamic art form.

The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop also received a prestigious 2016 Leadership in History Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History.



American Spirits: April 2, 2015 - August 23, 2015

Walker Gallery

Curated by the National Constitution Center, this exhibit took a step back in time to the era of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and real-life legends like Al Capone and Carry Nation. American Spirits brings the whole story of Prohibition vividly to life through a re-created speakeasy, films, photos, multimedia, and more than 100 rare artifacts.

Learn more about the tour schedule here.



21st Century Speakeasy : June 6, 2015 - August 30, 2015

The Linda & Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery

This exhibit served as a complement to American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. This unique salon exhibit experience invited visitors to discover and discuss how the region has pushed boundaries and been at the center of national conversations about legislating morality, including, most recently, the legalization of marijuana in Washington State. Photographs and artifacts from the MOHAI archives—including the first marijuana ever legally purchased in Seattle—traced the history of how the attitudes about moral and immoral behaviors have shifted. The gallery also featured three original works created by local artist Kelly Lyles, as well as tabletop interactives.



A Place at the Table: Over 100 Years of Greek Restaurants, Culture and Entrepreneurial Spirit: February 7, 2015 - May 31, 2015

The Linda & Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery

The exhibit was produced in partnership with the Greek-American Historical Museum of Washington State. Greek restaurateurs have been a consistent presence in Washington State for more than a century, with over 200 Greek-owned restaurants having operated in the Puget Sound region alone, a few continuously since the early 1900s. Restaurants represent the intersection of Greek food, culture, and entrepreneurship, and the profession of choice for many Greeks who put down roots in the area. Beyond the menu, Greek traditions of hospitality and building lasting connections with patrons combined to create a code of business that elevates customers to friends. This exhibit highlighted those stories.



Shalom! Open for Business: July 26, 2014 - January 15, 2015

The Linda & Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery

Presented in partnership with the Washington State Jewish Historical Society, thisexhibit explored how Jewish merchants grasped the promise of the Pacific Northwest, and reached for its opportunities. Specific elements included first person narratives, historic photos from family collections, and personal artifacts with captivating videos, interactive displays, and original artworks.

Shalom! Open for Business won the Washington State Historical Society’s 2015 David Douglas Award.



Chocolate: The Exhibition: June 14, 2014 - September 28, 2014

Walker Gallery

From rainforest treasure to luscious treat—immerse yourself in the world of Chocolate! This exciting exhibition, developed by Chicago’s Field Museum, was at MOHAI for its only Northwest appearance. Through more than 200 objects and highly detailed replicas, immersive exhibitry, interactives, and media, this bilingual exhibition explores chocolate throughout history and around the world.

Learn more about this exhibit here.



Revealing Queer: February 14, 2014 - July 6, 2014

The Linda & Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery

This landmark exhibit explored 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 traced 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. Visitors discovered this complex history through a variety of themes, including language, significant cultural spaces, queer celebrations, regional law, and more. The artifacts, photographs, and documents that fill the exhibit cameboth from MOHAI’s collection and from donors across the country—many had not been seen before by the public.

This exhibit was the result of collaboration between many individuals and organizations, led by Erin Bailey and Nicole Robert, co-founders of Queering the Museum—an ongoing project to uncover and share LGBTQ stories in institutions across the country. Bailey and Robert worked closely with a Community Advisory Committee composed of representatives from local LGBTQ organizations to create Revealing Queer. For more information on the Queering the Museum Project, please click here.



Civil Engineers that Built Seattle: November 23, 2013 - January 1, 2014

The Linda & Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery

.Developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), this panel display exhibition told a people-focused story of civil engineering projects and policies that were essential and transformative to the development of the Puget Sound region. The exhibit featured milestones in Northwest civil engineering, bseveral regional engineering landmarks, and the people that made them possible.



Still Afloat: Seattle's Floating Homes: June 15, 2013 - November 3, 2013

The Linda & Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery

This exhibit was designed to shed light on one of Seattle's most iconic images: the houseboat. Centered on the long-standing floating home community on Seattle's Lake Union, the exhibit featured historic photos, oral histories, and architectural diagrams. Visitors also had the chance to explore a scale model floating home to see how the infrastructure of these homes are adapted to meet the needs of life on the water.



Drawn to Seattle: The Work of Seattle Sketcher Gabriel Campanario: December 21, 2013 - May 26, 2014

Walker Gallery

This exhibit featured sketches of people and places that make Seattle a vibrant urban center. Curated by Seattle Times columnist and blogger Gabriel Campanario, this unique exhibition opened up the pages of Campanario’s sketchbook to communicate the powerful locations, events, and experiences that have filled his life in Seattle.



Celluloid Seattle: A City at the Movies: December 29, 2012 - December 1, 2013

Walker Gallery

The first exhibit in the Walker Gallery examined Seattle's relationship with film. Curated by celebrated Seattle critic Robert Horton, this unique exhibition explored both the image of Seattle captured in films, and how the idea of going to the movies has changed in the city over the years. Along with film clips and historic artifacts, the exhibit helped visitors truly engage with the historic movie experience through a set of recreated mini-theatres, interactive games and activity kiosks.



Roberto-WSHS 4004-smallPunctum/Poetry: December 29, 2012 - May 27, 2013

The Linda & Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery

A photographer's punctum is that accident of photographic detail which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me)...for punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole..."
Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida

The premier exhibit in MOHAI's new Linda and Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery, MOHAI teamed up with Seattle's largest nonprofit arts education organization, Arts Corps, for a truly unique exhibit showcasing youth art and expression.

Throughout the 2011-2012 school year, MOHAI and Arts Corps brought teaching artist Roberto Ascalon into classrooms in Seattle's Cleveland and West Seattle High Schools. During each 10-week residency Alscalon helped students explore photographs from MOHAI's historic photo archive and worked with them to bring the photos to life through the expressive power of spoken word and poetry. Students were engaged in an introduction to the basics and history of photography, writing-while-looking exercises, collecting personal histories, and in-depth writing and editing of final pieces.

The resulting work was the Punctum/Poetry exhibit, which showcased the final art pieces produced by these students. The quiet exhibit encouraged visitors to truly engage with the students and their work through biographic panels of poems and pictures along with audio recordings of the poems spoken by the students themselves and their peers.



exhibit 43Celebrating Century 21: April 21, 2011 - October 21, 2012

Former Montlake Location

Celebrating Century 21 was a series of three complementary exhibits that explored Seattle's 1962 World's Fair and its impact on the Seattle of today.

Centuries of Progress: American World's Fairs, 1853 -1982 was a national traveling exhibit from the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware, an organization that collects, preserves and interprets the history of American enterprise.

The Future Remembered showcased a wide range of artifacts, photographs and media documents from the 1962 World's Fair selected from MOHAI's collection. The exhibit, produced by MOHAI, was curated by Paula Becker and Alan Stein of HistoryLink with support from the Seattle Center Foundation.

Looking Forward: Young Social Entrepreneurs, The New Heroes is an art exploration of young visionaries applying innovative solutions to create a better society.




now-and-thenNow & Then: April 9, 2011 - June 7, 2012

Former Montlake Location

This exhibit delved into the rich and diverse history of Seattle through repeat photography the practice of using historical and contemporary photographs to reveal the changes in our world. Now and then comparisons are proven delights where two images of the same place telescope the time that transpired between them. The repeat photographs included the work of local icon Paul Dorpat and his collaborators, Jean Sherrard and Berangere Lomont.




many-faces-of-georgeThe Many Faces of George Washington: April 2, 2012 - May 14, 2012

Former Montlake Location

This exhibition examined the life and legacy of the United States first President through vivid portraits, letters, and documents. A dynamic and vibrant exhibit guide that included a scavenger hunt for facts about Washington's life made The Many Faces of George Washington a wonderful learning experience.

Even though George Washington's name and reputation are well-known, there are many aspects of his greatness about which most people are unaware and myths surrounding Washington abound. "The Many Faces of George Washington" introduced the public to the multi-dimensional, real-life man behind those myths.



bennettCut from Nature: The Art of Richard Bennett: August 28, 2010 - March 27, 2011

Former Montlake Location

Northwest artist Richard Bennett (1899-1971) became an accomplished printmaker early in his career and would later become one of the nation's leading illustrators of children's books. Altogether Bennett illustrated over 200 books, including several by best selling and noted writers, as well as seven books that Bennett authored himself.

Richard Bennett was an integral part of the area's major artistic talents, and his prints and paintings capture the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest landscape. In this exhibition, MOHAI displayed its rich collection of Bennett's original works as well as the works of his contemporaries.




clutch-itClutch It! The Purse & The Person: November 20, 2010 - February 14, 2011

Former Montlake Location

The Purse & The Person: A Century of Women's Purses brought together life stories buried right under our noses in the purses carried by our mothers and grandmothers. Developed from a private collection of over 3,000 purses and accessories, this exhibition looked at purses from the inside out, examining day-to-day life reflected in a very personal, very female artifact a woman's handbag.

This exhibit used purses and their contents as a window on the changing roles of women over the past hundred years. Eight exhibition vignettes examined iconic women of the 20th century, from the Edwardian matron to the Superwoman of recent decades. Glimpse into the lives of Edwardian matrons, flappers, wartime Rosie the Riveters, suburban housewives, hippies, businesswomen and more. The women of the 20th century reveal their personalities, their fashion sense, and their day-to-day concerns brought out in the mysterious depths of their purses. 




womens-voicesWomen's Votes, Women's Voices: July 17, 2010 - October 3, 2010

Former Montlake Location

Less than 100 years ago, women weren't allowed to vote, but were required to pay taxes and abide by laws their male counterparts voted into place. Women from all economic and ethnic groups banded together to persuade the men of Washington to give them the right to vote. Find out how women in Washington state campaigned for women's suffrage in Women's Votes, Women's Voices. This exhibition, created by the Washington State History Museum, is the state's lead activity celebrating the centennial anniversary of women obtaining the right to vote in Washington.




fisherFisher Communications: A Century of Service and Innovation: May 12, 2010 - September 12, 2010

Former Montlake Location

Showcasing artifacts from its first 100 years of business, Fisher Communications: A Century of Service and Innovation featured the many milestones of the Seattle-based company. Beginning in 1910 when Fisher started as a flour mill company, the exhibit encompassed Fisher's radio broadcast business (1926), its first TV broadcast as KOMO TV (1953), and continues on to the present with its status as a local leader in media innovation.




bill-staffordA Seattle Lens on Global Ties: Photographs by Bill Stafford: March 7, 2010 - August 15, 2010

Former Montlake Location

Bill Stafford, President of the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, has been instrumental in positioning the region as an international leader. The striking photographs from his travels capture the beauty, humanity and cultural diversity of the global community.




enemy-withinThe Enemy Within: Terror in America – 1776 to Today: February 20, 2010 - June 20, 2010

Former Montlake Location

From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terrorism, this exhibition provided unprecedented perspective into terror on American soil. The exhibition uncovers the forgotten stories of domestic terrorists and foreign agents, militant radicals and saboteurs who have threatened America's sense of security over the past 200 years. It also explored the questions: how do we identify who the enemy is? And how do we keep the country safe without compromising the civil liberties upon which it was founded?

The Enemy Within revealed nine major events and periods in U.S. history when Americans were threatened by enemies within our borders. The exhibit depicted how the government and public responded, illustrated the corresponding evolution of U.S. counterintelligence and homeland security efforts, and examined the challenge of securing the nation without compromising the civil liberties upon which it was founded.

The stories were told in themed environments that evoked the spirit of the times and included artifacts, replicas, historic photographs and film footage, interactive displays and video.