Open house will unveil Fort Nisqually Living History Museum final design plans

Metro Parks Tacoma will host an open house in March to discuss long-range capital improvements at Fort Nisqually Living History...

Metro Parks Tacoma will host an open house in March to discuss long-range capital improvements at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.

The museum, located in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, is an educational facility that features a mid-19th century Hudson’s Bay Company trading post that was originally located approximately 16 miles to the south in what is now the City of DuPont. Two surviving buildings from the original fort were moved to the present location in 1934, and the fort’s missing historic structures were reconstructed. The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum promotes Pacific Northwest heritage through education, historic preservation, and interpretation, and offers classes, camps, educational tours, public and private events, rentals, a museum store, and a research library.

In May, Metro Parks Tacoma issued a Request For Proposals seeking contractors with experience in museum design and long-range planning to develop a capital improvement and program plan that will guide the future of the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, according to a legal notice published in the Tacoma Daily Index (see “Fort Nisqually: Metro Parks Tacoma seeks contractor to develop museum’s long-range plan,” Tacoma Daily Index, May 5, 2015).

Metro Parks Tacoma and Weatherhead Experience Design Group—which has worked with the Museum of History and Industry, EMP Museum, and Chicago History Museum—held public meetings in November and February to discuss the future of Fort Nisqually Living History Museum (see “Public meeting aims to develop Fort Nisqually Living History Museum long-range plan,” Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 5, 2015; and “Public meeting Feb. 11 to discuss future of Fort Nisqually Living History Museum,” Tacoma Daily Index, Feb. 2, 2016).

Metro Parks Tacoma and Weatherhead Experience Design Group are wrapping up initial plans for long-range capital improvements in and around Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Point Defiance Park.

An open house at 5 p.m. on Mon., March 28, at Metro Parks Tacoma headquarters, located at 4702 S. 19th St., Tacoma, is a chance for the public to view the ideas and talk to planners. The event will be followed by a 5:30 p.m. study session of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Park Commissioners, which is also open to the public.

According to Metro Parks Tacoma staff, plans call for creation of a new visitor center outside the Fort’s walls. It would include a gift shop, cafe, and restrooms. Also, the main entrance to the Fort would be relocated to the northwest side of the enclosure. Other key elements include a new barn and paddock area for farm animals, a rebuilt clerk’s house, and a new space for changing exhibits in what is now the visitor center.

“We’ve shared a lot of marvelous ideas,” said Fort Nisqually Living History Museum Supervisor Jim Lauderdale. “This is a chance for people to see where all the discussion these past few months has led.”

Even if you cannot attend the open house, you may read descriptions of the conceptual alternatives and see bird’s-eye views of the Fort and its surrounding grounds online at FortNisqually.org.

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum Conceptual Designs

To read the Tacoma Daily Indexs complete and comprehensive coverage of Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, click on the following links:

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