Past Exhibits

Revealing Queer February 14 - July 6, 2014

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.


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

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.

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

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 29th, 2012 through May 27th 2013

“A photograph’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. A counterpoint to the bustle of the rest of the museum, 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, 2012 through October 21, 2012

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 travelling 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 through June 7, 2012

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 through May 14, 2012

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 through March 27, 2011

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 through February 14, 2011

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 through October 3, 2010

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 through September 12, 2010

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 through August 15, 2010

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 through June 20, 2010)

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.