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Visions of the Seattle That Could Have Been

The city's new Museum of History and Industry offers a portrait of how Seattle innovated its way into the 21st century, and what got lost along the way.
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Seattle Museum of History and Industry

Seattle's burgeoning South Lake Union neighborhood is ground zero for urban renewal fueled by high-tech companies and related fortunes. Once an enclave of laundries, shipyards and warehouses, the current boom is driven by an expanding Amazon, Paul Allen's real estate arm Vulcan, bio-tech research, and the nearby headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

A debated district re-zone is slated to allow more and taller high-rises, a transportation corridor to make the neighborhood more accessible (for decades, the problem was known not-so-fondly as "the Mercer Mess"), and South Lake Union's new trolley line, affectionately called the SLUT.

In late December the city unveiled the new Museum of History and Industry which moved into the historic Naval Reserve Armory on the lake. It features touch screens, interactive exhibits, and a fleet of historic ships moored at its doorstep. The museum's "new" home is active and engaging. Its curators have cherry-picked their collection to display artifacts that keep the place from feeling cluttered and dark.