Exhibit looks back at Fort Nisqually reconstruction

The exhibit “Saving Fort Nisqually,” which details the story behind the 1930s-era restoration of the historical museum at Point Defiance Park, is currently open for its run through April 29.

"Saving Fort Nisqually," an exhibit that documents the 1930s-era reconstruction of the historical museum at Point Defiance Park, will run through April 29. Credit: David Guest / TDI

“Saving Fort Nisqually,” an exhibit that documents the 1930s-era reconstruction of the historical museum at Point Defiance Park, will run through April 29. Credit: David Guest / TDI

The display explores what happened in the 1930s when the Tacoma Young Men’s Business Club, Works Progress Administration, and local work relief programs came together to relocate and reconstruct the fort.

Historic photographs and artifacts illustrate the process and help tell the story of the people who conducted the restoration.

Highlights of the display are the original reconstruction blueprints, a log book signed by early visitors to the Fort, and a commemorative Native American paddle decorated and dated with the original opening date of the new museum in 1934.

“It’s really pretty amazing how many organizations were part of the process to save Fort Nisqually,” said Claire Keller-Scholz, Curator of Collections at Fort Nisqually. “It wasn’t just the relief-work programs, or the local historical societies, but everyone working together that made it possible.”

The exhibit was inspired by two main questions: Why did they move the granary and Factor’s House to Point Defiance? How did they know what the Fort looked like? This exhibit answers those questions and invites visitors to consider what historic preservation means to us today.

The exhibit was made possible in part by a Heritage Project Grant awarded by the City of Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Office, and utilizes records and artifacts donated by the families of those who helped relocate and reconstruct the Fort.

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a restoration of the Hudson’s Bay Company outpost on Puget Sound. Visitors travel back in time and experience life in Washington Territory during the 1850s. Nine buildings are open to the public, including the Granary and the Factor’s House, both National Historic Landmarks. There’s also a Visitor Center with a Museum Store.

For more information,  contact Fort Nisqually at 253-591-5339 or visit online: www.fortnisqually.org.

 – Metro Parks Tacoma