Museum of History and Industry, Seattle

In the city that has seen the start of Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, Nirvana and Boeing, is there something magical in the water here? Maybe . . . this museum doesn’t actually answer that question, but it does talk about these greats and more Seattle high (and low) lights.

There were some brilliant interactives. One showed how the land has changed by levitating contours of the landscape up and down at the press of a button. An excellent fruit machine style game that sums up the luck behind finding gold in the Klondike gold rush. In the large entrance hall there is also a display of some of Seattle’s highlights that light up and move is you spin a wheel.

There was a really interesting exhibition on innovation, summing up some of Seattle’s most creative inventions. I really liked the yellow back lit text panels. This back lighting created a real contrast between the yellow light of the panel and the black writing. There were also a lot of opportunities for a visitor to share their opinions on what innovation is or what things they think might be useful in the future.

There is one thing that was my absolute highlight. It was a short theatre production about the ‘Great Fire’ of Seattle. I sat down in a smallish room in front of a screen expecting a standard short information film. But not this time, oh no. Introducing the incredible, musical theatre performance of the Great Fire, featuring dramatic solos from actual items from the fire (whose cases lit up when they sang). Old black and white photos summarising the events were projected onto the screen, but adapted so the people in the images appear to be joining in the singing. The words appeared (in singalong karaoke style) along the bottom of the screen. It was just completely unexpected, brilliant and left you with a big grin on your face. A musical, museum extravaganza! Informative, funny and pretty unique.




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