Museum of History and Industry

860 Terry Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98109

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Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is a tribute to the creative energy and enterprise of the Pacific Northwest.  As are most museums these days, it is also an information-gathering site, inviting viewers to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences as they move through the space, listening to others who have left their marks on our region.


My favorite spaces in the museum are touch screens where you can animate a person’s image and hear what she has to say about innovation.  Although some of the people on these screens are predictable—well-known regional entrepreneurs and MacArthur Award winners, for example—there are others who are unexpected, such as people talking about the role of creativity in skateboarding, early education, and DNA discoveries.   Museum goers are invited to contribute their own talking screen, as if to say creativity can come from anywhere where knowledge, passion, and vision reside together.

There is much to see at MOHAI about the history of our place, and much to do, too, including lifting the hill off Denny Hill.  A reason to get there before July 6th is so you can see the exhibit entitled Revealing Queer, which tracks growth and change in Puget Sound’s  LGBTQ community between 1969 and 2012, the year when marriage equality came to Washington State.  The exhibit is fascinating but perhaps more interesting and moving are the notes that people visiting the exhibit have posted about their lives today.  I hope the museum has a staff researcher who is doing something with those notes!


In addition, there are “toe” trucks and movies, planes and cars, fashion and ship figureheads that remind you once again how creepy-looking figureheads are.  Why is that??  All of these great sights are easily accessed in a wheelchair.


Furthermore, if you come to MOHAI with someone who is not in a wheelchair but who has trouble walking, wheelchairs are available for your use.

MOHAI also houses a great little café and a tiny gift store crammed with wonders.  One of the wonders in that gift store was the young woman who was staffing it on the day when we were there.  When asked about a book available in the store, she said, “I’m not sure about that one.  I haven’t had time to read all of it yet.”  I asked her if she read every book in the bookstore, and she said, “I try to read them all so I can talk with visitors who are interested in them.”  That young woman, whose name I’m sorry to say I did not get, should get a raise!

Parking:  ADA parking is right up next to the building.  Head down the drive off Valley Street toward the museum and stop at the speaker and gate.  Push the button and tell the responder that you need ADA parking.  The gate will open and you’ll follow the road down to the museum.  It couldn’t be easier.

Entrances:  There are no stairs at the front entrance and two sets of doors, both automatic.  The inside doors present a little problem because the automatic door-opening button is on the wall right next to the doors, which open outward.  You’ll need to push the button and immediately move back out of the way of the door.  Once inside you’ll be at the ticketing and information counter.


Inside space:   Inside the museum, passageways are spacious.  You can see everything your walking friends can see, and there are places for pushers to take a break along the way.   A glass elevator takes you to the second and third floor exhibits, and exhibits are easy to move in and out of.  The café space easily accommodates wheelchairs, with moveable chairs around tables and ample space between tables.

Restrooms:  Restrooms provide great wheelchair access and grab bars around the toilets.  There’s one near the café and one on the second floor, and both are perfect for wheelchair use.

Photos of interior space online:  Some

Photos of entrances online:  No

Reservations taken:  Not necessary.  When you visit, tell them Spoken Wheel highly recommended them!

What the wheelchair pusher has to say:  Wonderful ADA parking, right up next to the door.  Flat pushing inside and out.  Elevator access was good.  The layout was great.

Overall:  Five wheels for great access!

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