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Seattle's Museum of Museums announces permanent closure

caption: Seattle's Museum of Museums
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Seattle's Museum of Museums
Courtesy of MoM

The Museum of Museums (MoM) announced Thursday that its doors will shut for good on Sept. 1.

The reason cited for the sudden closure is a $120,000 plumbing bill.

The museum was founded by Greg Lundgren in 2019. He flipped a vacant medical office building on Broadway into one of the coolest contemporary museums in the city, opening it to the public at the peak of the pandemic in 2020.

After the new museum survived Covid closures that rocked the arts community, Lundgren said he was shocked to learn that a plumbing issue would be the reason this bold venture failed. But after a $120,000 estimate on vital repairs on a building that isn't owned by MoM, Lundgren decided to close the museum.

“The way that the building was designed, all the flat roofs drain into our main sewer line," Lundgren said. “They don't drain off the side of the building, they drain into our collective sewer. And that line is 80 years old and made out of clay.”

Both MoM and the building owner, Swedish Medical Center, spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to address the issue before receiving the $120,000 estimate to fully repair the pipes. Lundgren explained that during heavy rain, up to 3 feet of water would collect in the space and the restrooms would become unusable.

Without necessary repairs, the museum would not be able to safely host exhibits once the rainy season returns. MoM director Mary Anne Carter said the museum's legacy will live on within the local artist community it showcased.

“I hope people view the museum as a reminder of how much talent we have in the Pacific Northwest,” Carter said. “At least 80% of the work we showed was from our region. And as an artist myself, I'm definitely sad that we're losing space, but I hope it encourages people to seek out ways to replicate the model or find new ways to show artists, because the artists are still here.”

When the museum closes at the end of the summer, there are no plans for continuing in the near future. But, both Lundgren and Carter are hopeful that new opportunities for local artists will emerge.

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