PacSci Perspectives

Celebrating 54 Years Of Inspiring Curiosity

by | Oct 21, 2016

Pacific Science Center opened in 1962, during the Space Race, and in correlation with the Seattle World’s Fair. Originally, it was named the United States Science Pavilion and its famous arches and the interior of the building were even featured in an Elvis movie (It Happened at the World’s Fair). On October 22, 1962, the day after the World’s Fair closed, we opened our doors as Pacific Science Center.

Architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912-1986), who would go on to design the Rainier Bank Building in Seattle and New York’s first World Trade Center, designed the arches, courtyard pool, and cement buildings. He borrowed from Gothic cathedrals, but strove to reflect the spirit of the era: innovation inspired by history. In 2010 Pacific Science Center was designated a Seattle Historic Landmark. It was the first museum in the United States to be dedicated entirely to science and technology.

Some of the original exhibits are still here. The suspended model of the solar system, as well as the Lens and Mirror Machines, were introduced at the 1962 World’s Fair. Though it has been updated, the Laser Dome was also originally built for the fair.

Pacific Science Center’s dedication to innovative education has brought a broad range of permanent and traveling exhibits. Permanent exhibits include the Tropical Butterfly House, which focuses on conservation of endangered species, and Wellbody Academy, which features current research on health and wellness. Other exhibits dove deep into the past to display the Dead Sea Scrolls, and (soon) China’s Terracotta Warriors.

Help us celebrate our birthday: whether you come see the original exhibits or go even further back in time and solve the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes!