18 Calendar

The Collections

MOHAI’s expansive collection of artifacts, images, archival materials and oral histories includes millions of 2D and 3D objects, although only a portion are on view at the museum. The collection is a vital resource for both the community and researchers, and have made the museum the preeminent institution in the region for engaging people in the exploration and understanding of Puget Sound.

MOHAI cares for the collection through preservation and public access. These efforts include everything from cleaning and properly housing objects to the further examination and study of items for historical research. MOHAI’s preservation and conservation efforts are critical activities for stewarding Puget Sound history and culture.

Collection Highlights

What represents the unique history of Puget Sound and Seattle? Is there a defining artifact? Is it the Boeing B-1, original Rainier “R,” or is it or something from Puget Sound’s more recent innovative history?

Browse through highlights of artifacts and stories from MOHAI’s collections and see how history is always evolving.

Photo: Barbie Hull

Boeing B-1

The Boeing B-1 plane was built in 1919 and was the company’s first commercial plane flying international mail between Victoria, British Columbia and Seattle.

Photo: Barbie Hull

Rainier R

The Grand Atrium is now home to the original Rainier Brewing Company’s “R” sign. The sign was originally at the Old Rainier Brewery in Seattle’s Industrial District.

Petticoat Flag

The Battle of Seattle took place on January 26, 1856 after increasing tensions between Native Americans and settlers. The settlers fled to the North Blockhouse, and this venerable flag was sewn by women who were waiting for the siege to end. The flags strips were made from petticoats, which is how this artifact gets its unusual name.

Ken Griffey scoring the winning run in Game 5 of the American League Division Series at the Kingdome, Seattle, October 8, 1995, MOHAI, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, 2000.107.19951008.36, Photo by Robin Layton

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

In Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series, the Seattle Mariners beat the Yankees 6-5 as Ken Griffey Jr. scored the winning run off Edgar Martinez’s hit, “The Double.”

Photo: Using water hoses to regrade Denny Hill, ca. 1909, 1983.10.8164, MOHAI, PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection

Looks Can Be Deceiving

The physical landscape of Seattle was once very different. Seattle’s hills and valleys made it difficult to grow and expand, the Denny Hill being one of those obstacles. In 1898, city engineers began the Denny Regrade, a massive, 32-year project that reshaped Belltown and downtown Seattle. The first phase leveled 1st Ave from Pine St to Denny Way; the second phase began in 1903 and regraded the land between 2nd Ave and 5th Ave; the third phase began in 1928 between 5th Ave, Westlake Ave, Virginia St, and Harrison St, and was completed on December 10, 1932. This photo shows workers, ca. 1909, using high pressure jets of water to wash away Denny Hill.

Photo: MOHAI, Robert H. Miller Collection

Home Sweet Home

MOHAI’s home is in and of itself an historical artifact! Dedicated July 4, 1942, designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca, and built by the Works Progress Administration, this former Naval Reserve Armory combines Art Moderne features with its function as a Naval training center during World War II. For the next five decades, thousands of Navy and Marine Corps reservists trained here as well. The drill hall was ringed by battalion offices, a rifle range, and a replicated ship’s bridge.

A Mystifying Presence

John Grade’s Wawona sculpture hangs in the museum’s Grand Atrium, and even extends into the lake waters below. This artwork has historical roots, though, and the wood it’s made from is repurposed from a historic 1897 schooner of the same name. The ship originally carried lumber, was refitted as a fishing vessel in 1914, and retired in 1947. The entire piece undulates and creaks just like an old ship at sea and reminds everyone that history is both elusive and enduring.

Floral Dress

This evening dress from the roaring ’20s was purchased at Helen Igoe’s Shop For Women in downtown Seattle.

Access the Collection

Search Collections

Online selections from MOHAI's artifacts and library collections have recently grown through an IMLS grant, available as part of the University of Washington digital collections.
Search the Collections online

View Archives

Detailed descriptions of a selection of library collections are hosted by the Archives West database, a consortium of research institutions in the western United States.
View Archival Descriptions

Make an Appointment

View MOHAI's 2D collections including photographs, manuscripts, and ephemera at the Research Library.
Make an Appointment

Search and Order Photos

MOHAI’s extensive photography Collection includes great moments in Seattle, Puget Sound, and Pacific Northwest history.

The Collection spans the history of photography, from delicately rendered nineteenth-century daguerreotypes to digital images created yesterday. Highlights include photographs from the 1962 World’s Fair, celebrations throughout the years, as well as some of Seattle’s favorite former businesses, institutions, and landscapes.

MOHAI can offer high-resolution digital reproductions of photographs and other materials from our collections. Please note, all prices are subject to change.

Terms and Usage Fees

Pricing considerations when ordering a photograph from MOHAI.

General Terms for All Uses

  • MOHAI is no longer able to offer photographic prints. We are happy to provide high-resolution digital reproductions of our photographs and other materials that are suitable for professional quality printing.
  • All images are licensed as specified in writing for one-time, non-exclusive use with proper credit.
  • MOHAI members, students, teachers, as well as Black Heritage Society and Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society members receive a 15% discount on production fees.
  • Most regular orders can be completed in 2 weeks after payment is received.
  • Rush orders for all services (completion time of 1-3 business days after payment is received) will incur an additional service fee.
  • MOHAI charges state and local sales tax.
  • All prices are subject to change without notice.

Production Fees

Digital Reproduction

Includes basic corrections and basic dust spotting

  • Basic resolution to 30MB for approximately 11×14 output: $30
  • Higher resolution to 60MB for approximately 16×20 output: $55
  • High resolution to 230MB for approximately 30×40 output: $80
  • Highest resolution scan above 230MB for larger than 30×40 output: $105

Audio/Video Reproduction

Digital file delivery only. Please note that digitized price is based on vendor pricing, and subject to change. All items listed below are in addition to a $25 handling fee.

  • Audio: $25 for audio already digitized; $60/ hour for newly digitized audio
  • Video (Magnetic Tape): $25 for tapes already digitized; $75/ tape for newly digitized tapes
  • Video (Film): $25 for films already digitized; prices start at $75 for newly digitized films and depend on length

Service Fees

  • Staff research (first 30 minutes free): $50/hour
  • Staff original photography: $50/hour
  • Staff consulting: $50/ hour
  • Document scanning (low resolution). Additional fees may apply for fragile or oversize items. Delivery in PDF format.
    • 0-5 pages: Free
    • 6-50 pages: $25
    • 51+ pages: Please contact the Library at for pricing.

Usage Fees Per Publication Type

Print Usage Fees

  • $25 (0-1,999, ebook, or print on demand)
  • $50 (2,000-9,999)
  • $100 (10,000-49,999)
  • $200 (50,000+)

Display Usage Fees

  • $25 (Up to 11×14)
  • $50 (Up to 16×20)
  • $100 (Up to 24×36)
  • $200 (Up to 72×94)
  • $400 (Greater than 72×94 and up to 50 sq ft)

* Over 50 sq ft charged at $11 per sq ft

Digital Media/Broadcast Usage Fees

  • $25 (Website usage)
  • $50 (Local broadcast only; or self-published free internet video)
  • $100 (Local broadcast and DVD/Blu-ray)
  • $200 (National broadcast or free internet video; includes coverage named in previous tier)
  • $400 (Global broadcast or paid subscription streaming service; includes coverage named in previous tier)

Additional Details

  • Non-profits receive a discount of 50%.
  • For images used in advertising, usage fees are doubled.

Donate an Artifact

MOHAI’s mission is to preserve the history of Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region by collecting, researching, and preserving original cultural artifacts. The museum accepts artifacts and archival donations on a case by case basis, with collections focusing on cultural materials and stories from the 21st, 20th, and 19th centuries. Founded as the Seattle Historical Society in 1914, MOHAI began its collecting to tell the histories of the city’s founding families and major industries. Since the 1990s, the curatorial team has refined the museum’s collecting to tell more diverse and complete stories of our region. Please fill out the form below to donate an artifact.

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