Fort Nisqually Living History Museum set to reopen following Asarco cleanup

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is set to reopen this week following a two-month closure to cleanup contaminated soil on the historic site.

The museum was temporarily closed in January and February to allow Washington State Department of Ecology officials to remove 2,000 tons of soil both inside the fort and in the nearby meadow and replace it with clean soil, lay fresh sod, create new pathways for visitors within the Fort’s palisades, and add new mulch to the picnic area near the parking lot (see “Asarco cleanup will temporarily close Fort Nisqually Living History Museum,” Tacoma Daily Index, Dec. 8, 2015). In addition, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum staff sowed a new crop of heritage oats within the clean soil over some of the meadow area.

The cleanup project was part of the Washington State Department of Ecology’s ongoing work to scrub contaminants spread over 1,000 square miles of the Puget Sound basin by the former Asarco copper smelter that operated in Tacoma for a century. The state remediated soil at Baltimore and Optimist parks last year, and also has cleaned up Vassault Park (see “Vassault Park: Field reopens following Asarco contamination cleanup,” Tacoma Daily Index, July 31, 2015; and “Contaminated soil cleanup planned at Vassault Park,” Tacoma Daily Index, June 16, 2014), Titlow Park, and Jane Clark Park, along with numerous private yards throughout Tacoma in recent years (see “Asarco contaminated soil removal continues in Pierce County,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 8, 2015). A settlement from Asarco includes $94.6 million to fund the cleanup projects.

Located in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, 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. Nine buildings are open to the public, including the Granary and the Factors House, both National Historic Landmarks, and a Visitor Center with Museum Store. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma.

Beginning on Weds., March 9, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum will open regularly from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. More information is available online at

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. (PHOTO COURTESY METRO PARKS TACOMA)
Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. (PHOTO COURTESY METRO PARKS TACOMA)

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