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CityLink Seattle

I Am Seattle Center-Jack Matsui

JACK MATSUI was born and raised in California. When he was 18, he was interned with his family in Arkansas. To leave the camp, he got a job making ammunition boxes. After the war, he got a job in Chicago operating a punch press. He was then drafted and passed his physical, but they marked him as a classified enemy alien, a status that was later revoked. He was sent to Little Rock, trained, and then the army needed Japanese interpreters so he was sent to military intelligence school in Minnesota. Jack subsequently went to college, got a teaching fellowship, and came to the University of Washington. He then got a job at Boeing, retired, and for the last 15 years has volunteered for Pacific Science Center. Jack’s connection with Seattle Center dates back to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, which he attended.

“After working for Boeing for 32 years I retired, and I said I don’t have to wake up in the morning, I can sleep, do what I want. And I completely forgot about Boeing. Then summertime rolled around and I said this is crazy doing nothing, it’s just not right. So I’ve been working here [Pacific Science Center] about 15 years.

It’s a lot of fun, talking to these young people and trying to get them to interface with the exhibits and learn something. When the parents bring their children, and the parents are talking over there among themselves, I say come on over here for a minute, because maybe the child wants to ask questions. So I try to get both of them involved so that when the parent hears about it, they can talk about it at home, and learn something together. I think that’s what’s most important. The thing I hear a lot of times when parents come visit is ‘this place is for kids’ but sometimes I feel like saying to them ‘You mean to say you can’t learn anything here? There are lots of interesting things going on here.'”

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