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Special Exhibits

Temporary exhibits in the Great Room showcase objects from the Fort's permanent collection. They provide insights into the daily lives of the Fort's historical residents and into the workings of the Hudson's Bay Company, of which the Fort was part. All exhibits include hands-on activities for visitors of all ages.

Inspired by Fort Nisqually
Sept. 17, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Artwork inspired by the historical Fort Nisqually of the mid-19th century and the day-to-day life in a living history museum is on display in the new temporary exhibit, Inspired by Fort Nisqually. This juried art exhibition opens to the public on September 17 and will be on display through January 7, 2017.  

“It’s exciting to be able to showcase some of our local talent,” said exhibit curator Claire Keller-Scholz. “All of the pieces on display were created by local artists within the last three years, and were chosen by a panel of judges for this show.”  

Submissions included paintings, photographs, scrimshaw done with real India ink, and 3-D works that take inspiration from historical artifacts around the Fort. Some of the art was created by volunteer re-enactors as part of their historic emersion process, and other pieces were submitted by visitors and artists just stopping by for a brief trip to the past.   

Inspired by Fort Nisqually provides a chance to slow down and contemplate history from an artist’s perspective. View the varying techniques used to highlight emotions, the use of different mediums to convey specific characteristics, and survey the unique works that bring new perspective to familiar scenes. 

The majority of the artworks are available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going towards Fort Nisqually. The jury that selected the works for the show have awarded “Best in Show” to Gary Gillespie for “Salish Matron Mask”, with “Honorable Mention” prizes going to Richard Repp for his scrimshaw piece “The Right Whales”, and Leah Amyakar for her assemblage “1850 Medicine Cabinet”. Visitors will have a chance to vote on their favorite for the “People’s Choice” award, decided upon at the end of exhibit. For the young ones, there will be a variety of hands-on activities including coloring sheets and take-home crafts. 


“Saving Fort Nisqually”
January 14, 2017 – April 29, 2016

Discover the story behind the 1930s era restoration of the fort at Point Defiance: This exhibit explores the 1930s era restoration of the Fort at Point Defiance Park by the Tacoma Young Men’s Business Club, Works Progress Administration, and local work relief programs. Artifacts illustrating the process by which the Fort was rebuilt (items such as hand tools and blueprints) help tell the story of the people who conducted the restoration, and the significance of the Fort for local history both then and now.