Posted by Pete DeLaunay on Oct 18, 2023
Thanks to president-elect Jon Bridge, Rotarians learned about three area museums that survived the pandemic and now thrive in their own unique ways.

Jon moderated a panel of three forward-thinking museum executives, each of whom has embraced their historical roles while launching youth programs to preserve it. Panelists were --  
Leonard Garfield  Executive Director - Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) on South Lake Union was established in 1911 to preserve and share the history of Washington State with interactive exhibits, while focusing of innovation for the future.

Joel Barraquiel Tan, Executive Director, Wing Luke Museum, Seattle’s Chinatown Wing Luke Museum preserves the art and history of Seattle’s diverse Asian neighborhood, focusing on the culture, art and history of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Established in 1967, the museum is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate and the only pan-Asian Pacific American community-based museum in the United States.

Brent Mason, Executive Director, Foss Waterway Seaport Museum, Tacoma,  in Tacoma preserves maritime history with exhibits, the Heritage Boat Shop, and an Education Center, from a historic 123,000 sq. ft. building overlooking Tacoma’s waterfront.
The core of everything MOHAI does is education of youth about the Pacific NW from old to new.  “We provide various MOHAI programs for about 30,000 youth every year,”  Leonard Garfield said.  “In addition to youth education we provide teacher materials that are used in classrooms.  While a lot of historical information, MOHAI also provides an “Innovation Classroom where kids come to learn about problem solving ask them to go back to their classroom to come up with solutions to problems.”
While preserving Asian culture, the Wing Luke Museum embraces local issues such as the regeneration of Seattle’s Chinatown and threats to the local area from zoning changes in one of the nation’s endangered historical places.  Although new to the job, he inherits five-year-in development after school program and teacher education tools.  “The Wing Luke Gallery leans into the power of a museum to see and be seen and heard through authentic stories,” he said, “and in partnership with AARP to leverage the power of inter-generational learning.”
Located on Tacoma’s waterfront, the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum aims to get young people to appreciate the past and to be engaged in preserving maritime history.   “We explore things outside the box from providing boat rides for seventh graders to virtual reality experiences to give them an appreciation for our maritime history,” said, Brent Mason.  “Some of the kids we put on boats didn’t even know they lived near the water,” he said. 
The day’s short program featured a program Seattle 4 Rotary started in 2007, Music4Life,  provides donated and repaired musical instruments at no charge to public school districts for use by students in need.  Former KING TV personality, musician and Music4Life Board member provided an update on the program that has provided 258 musical instruments worth about $126,000 to students in 11 Puget Sound school districts.  “Music programs do great things for kids from teaching  teamwork to learning what instrument is right for them” Cliff Lenz said. Music for Life is an independent non-profit organization that acquires musical instruments from donors.  Instruments are repaired and made ready to play.  Vendor repair shops provide discounts. “If you have a music instrument that is collecting dust in your closet, consider a donation to Music4Kids,” Cliff concluded.
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