Public meeting aims to develop Fort Nisqually Living History Museum long-range plan

Metro Parks Tacoma will hold a public meeting this month to discuss long-range capital improvement and programming plans for the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.

The museum, located at 5519 Five Mile Drive, 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 actively 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. Historic preservation efforts include management of the original structures (see “Metro Parks Tacoma completes Fort Nisqually Granary Building preservation project,” Tacoma Daily Index, Feb. 4, 2014), as well as a growing collection of period artifacts and related research. The Fort Nisqually Foundation is poised to receive a $4,600 grant from Pierce County for conservation and collection care (see “14 Pierce County groups could share $100K for historic preservation projects,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 27, 2015)

“We’re hoping to have a conversation with the community,” said Metro Parks Tacoma Chief Planning Manager Doug Fraser. “Within the context of the Fort’s mission, what do you think the Fort can be? What improvements do we need to make that happen?”

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 this week 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). During a public meeting this month, Weatherhead Experience Design Group, which has worked with the Museum of History and Industry, EMP Museum, and Chicago History Museum will help lead Metro Parks Tacoma staff lead the conversation.

The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum public meeting will be held on Weds., Nov. 18, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., at Metro Parks Tacoma Headquarters Board Room, located at 4702 S. 19th St., in Tacoma. Anyone who wishes to give input but can’t attend the meeting this month may call Fraser at (253) 305-1019 or e-mail him at Information about the process and other aspects of Point Defiance Park planning also will be available through A steering committee also has formed to help guide the process, and additional public meetings will be announced after the meeting this month.

The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is one of about 10 focus areas identified in the Point Defiance Park Master Plan Update, which in 2015 went through the last steps of a long public process. The $198 million capital improvement bond passed by voters in 2014 included about $100,000 for the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum project.

“The park’s master plan is a very high-level view,” added Fraser. “We promised all year as we worked with residents on master plan that we would give the focus areas additional attention. That’s what we’re doing here.”

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

To read the Tacoma Daily Indexs complete and comprehensive coverage of Point Defiance Park, click on the following links: