25 Calendar

May 1, 2018
Contact: Wendy Malloy
Museum of History & Industry PR
206 324 1126 Ext. 150

Final Days Of The Critically Acclaimed Seattle On The Spot: The Photographs Of Al Smith Exhibit At Seattle’s Museum Of History & Industry (MOHAI)

May 1, 2018

Exhibit closes June 17, 2018

SEATTLE, WA – Don’t miss the last chance to experience Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith, an exhibit the New York Times called “radiant” and “compelling.” Closing June 17, this special show at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) illustrates how Smith used photography as his avocation to document the African-American community in the Pacific Northwest during the mid-20th century.

Developed in partnership with the Black Heritage Society (BHS) of Washington State, Seattle on the Spot is a retrospective of Smith’s work, and draws on the finest examples of more than 40,000 photographs generously donated to MOHAI by the Smith family. This irreplaceable work serves as a unique example of capturing history through the lens, film and flashbulb.

Curated by Howard Giske, MOHAI’s Curator of Photography and a long-time friend of Smith, this important exhibit uncovers a collection as unique as the man who created it. “Al was as comfortable in church on Sunday morning as he was in a nightclub on Saturday night,” said Giske. This inclusive attitude inspired Smith to create lively documentary photographs of diverse subjects.

For more than half a century, Smith documented African-American community life in his hometown of Seattle. During that time, he amassed thousands of prints and negatives (taken between 1930 and 2005), which he stashed in drawers and cabinets and grocery bags in his home.

Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith is accompanied by a companion book with contributions by Jacqueline E. A. Lawson, Howard Giske, Al “Butch” Smith Jr., Paul de Barros and Quin’Nita Cobbins. The catalog is distributed by the Museum of History & Industry and the University of Washington Press.

Generous support for Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Boeing Company, Laird Norton Wealth Management, MOHAI Exhibits Fund, Mike Repass, 4Culture, The Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, ArtsFund, Washington State Arts Commission, Wyman Youth Trust, and Gordon & Celia Bowker.


(details are subject to change, and additional programs and events may be added. Please check the website for updated details and information). 

On the Spot Gallery Talks

Saturday June 2, 11 am & 1 pm

MOHAI, Walker Gallery

Free for MOHAI members / Included with admission

Dive deeper into the world captured in Al Smith’s photographs with 30-minute gallery talks on the first Saturday of the month. Speakers share their memories and personal connections to the histories recorded by Al Smith’s camera, bringing these vibrant images to life.

The June 2 On the Spot Gallery Talk speaker is Inye Wokoma —Inye Wokoma’s family has lived in the Central District since the 1940s. As a journalist and visual artist, Wokoma explores community history through personal narratives. His current multi-media project, ‘An Elegant Utility’, maps the evolution of the black community in the Central District through oral histories gathered from family members.

Hot Nights, Cool Jazz

Saturday, June 16, 5-8 pm


Free, Faye G. Allen Grand Atrium

(Gallery admission not included)

Bring your dancing feet to this after-hours program! Swing the evening away with live jazz. Make your own beats with upcycled instruments and create jazz sounds at the Instrument Petting Zoo. Don’t miss this last chance to see the Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith exhibit before it closes.

Location, Hours and Admission

MOHAI is located at 860 Terry Ave. in Seattle. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free on first Thursdays to MOHAI’s regular galleries and open until 8 p.m. (Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith and MOHAI’s popular miniature Hammons House, will be accessible at a special rate on first Thursdays of $8 for adults, $6 for student/senior/military). Admission to Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith is included with regular MOHAI admission of $19.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors (62 and above); $15.95 for students and military (with ID); free for children 14 and under (when accompanied by an adult) and MOHAI members. As part of the Museums For All program, low-income families can visit MOHAI for a minimal fee of $2 per person with the presentation of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. For more information, call (206) 324-1126.


MOHAI is dedicated to enriching lives through preserving, sharing, and teaching the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region, and the nation. As the largest private heritage organization in the State of Washington; the museum engages communities through interactive exhibits, online resources, and award-winning public and youth education programs.  For more information about MOHAI, please visit, or call (206) 324-1126. Facebook: Twitter: @MOHAI.

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