When the Museum of History & Industry moved to the old Naval Reserve armory last month, the art-deco building from the Depression era became its newest, and largest, exhibition piece.
I’ve seen the monumental building many times, but I had never noticed how much it looks like an actual ship ready to sail into Lake Union.
The design wasn’t just a cute idea. Built in 1942, the armory was a training center for the Navy for more than five decades. Inside its “bridge,” which faces the lake, Navy reservists sharpened their navigational skills overlooking the water.
That room now features MOHAI’s maritime galleries, including a 40-foot submarine periscope that gives visitors a 360-degree view above Lake Union Park.
Below are more drawings from my visit. Give any of the sketches a good click to see them large!
This is the view of the armory as you walk into Lake Union Park. The Virginia V can be seen on the edge of the lake.
The drill hall where sailors used to practice marching formations showcases some of the best known items in MOHAI’s collection. The Boeing B-1 seaplane seemed much bigger than when I sketched it in one of the hallways of the old museum in Montlake.
Another cool exhibit located in the drill hall is an interactive display of Seattle-area symbols. Spin around a wheel and you’ll make the props move. Ann Farrington, the museum’s creative director, called it the biggest “calliope” you could think of.