Friday Apr 20, 2012

Relocation of the MOHAI Museum to South Lake Union

Leonard Garfield

Executive Director Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)

Scribe: Jenny Andrews Editor: Jim Kindsvater

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Leonard Garfield, Executive Director of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) gave us an update on the relocation of the museum to the South Lake Union area.  The new facility looks quite impressive!  Steve Goldfarb stood in for President John, who lead a team of Rotarians to the retreat in Coeur d’Alene.  Andrew Face serenaded us with a plea for help on the 10K.  Wendi Fischer sent a video from C d’A requiring significant fines for those not attending the retreat.  A makeup will be allowed at the same place next year.


Bob Holert introduced Leonard Garfield, Executive Director of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) for an update on the relocation of the museum. Because of the construction of the new SR 520 bridge, the current museum property has been condemned. Its last day open to the public will be June 7. It will open to the public in its new location, the old Naval Reserve Center at South Lake Union in December.

Leonard’s PowerPoint showed how the 1930s WPA era building has been restored, down to small details like reconstructing the original Art Deco lights on the front steps. The false ceiling has been removed and the clerestory windows redone with glass that will protect the museum’s display collection. Two levels above the galleries have been added, one on the 4th level with a maritime theme, and the other designed as a travelling gallery for visiting shows. Since MOHAI is now a partner with the Smithsonian Exhibition in Washington, DC, there is a promise of exciting exhibitions and the space can host a number of interesting events. There are also two internal vertical galleries, or towers, housing different things with much interactivity. The second floor will emphasize the rich history of the region. The old submarine periscope was dismantled and restored by the Navy in Bangor and is now installed in the new building.

The Naval Reserve building is on the edge of the new South Lake Union Park and MOHAI has been working on partnerships with important NW businesses like Starbucks, Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft to showcase innovation. Its proximity to the Center for Wooden Boats promises much in the way of partnerships as well.

MOHAI owns over four million artifacts and will do more changing of its exhibits. The new space has about 1.5 times as much display area as the old building. This is because the executive and conservation offices and storage areas are housed in a building in Georgetown.

The museum is well ahead of its goal to bring 15,000 school age children through the museum and the new building will help that project. The one sour note in the program is parking. Due to the City of Seattle’s emphasis on mass transit, there are few parking spots at the new MOHAI and parking may be a challenge, or at least an additional cost for visitors.

Leonard confirmed that there is plenty of space to host meetings and events so this is sure to be the venue for an offsite BBRC meeting! The opening in December is sure to be a can’t miss event!  Steve thanked Leonard for his information with a gift of 1000 pounds of food in his name to Rotary First Harvest.




Steve Goldfarb

Attendance was light since many BBRCers, including our esteemed President, were at Coeur d’Alene for the Retreat and District Conference. President Martinka had promised a mystery stand-in and he delivered a bearded Steve Goldfarb. Steve is now in the Ambassador wing of the BBRC and allowed as how he had been quite busy shutting down the Seattle branch of his business. He had not forgotten how to run a meeting, however, and acquitted himself well.

Cyril Faulkner, Andrew Face, Joellen Monson

Joellen Monson delivered the Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance while Cyril Faulkner had easy duty with only one visiting Rotarian and one guest, who happened to be the featured speaker.


Andrew Face, accompanied fashionably by his electronic band, presented a musical plea for help for the 10K which is just over a week away (April 29). He requested everyone to turn on their video phones and make the message go viral.

Tim Leahy pleaded for volunteers, sponsorships, runners, without which the 10K will not be successful.

Dustin Walling confirmed that there are 37 critical volunteer positions still needed. The race cannot go on without them.

Dick Brown allowed as how it was still a bit early but he sees good weather for race day.

Could the message be any clearer? Get out there and find the volunteers and sponsorships. Time’s a wastin’!


Sergeant at Arms, Wendi Fischer, beamed in electronically from CDA and promptly fined all who were not in attendance at CDA $250, which will be remitted if the scofflaws agree to attend next year’s Retreat, also to be held at CDA. Otherwise she levied the usual fine for failure to wear a Rotary pin.

A second short video highlighted BBRC’s activities and was prepared for the District Conference. The narration was by Kaj Pedersen, and something of an understandable Brian Evison.


Those who do not learn from History are destined to repeat it; those who do learn are destined to enjoy it.


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