About Foss
Waterway Seaport

Celebrating Tacoma’s rich maritime heritage
past, present and future.

Welcome Aboard

The Foss Waterway Seaport is a heritage museum that features hands-on displays, a wooden boat shop, as well as a functional dock. Imagine a faithfully restored 124-year old building that has served the shores of Tacoma since it was built and now houses the greatest collection of marine history in the South Sound. The seaport museum today is equal parts education facility, boat shop, maritime museum, dock, moorage, and iconic events venue.

Museum Hours: 
Thursday-Sunday 10a-4p
plus every 3rd Thursday of the month for FREE 4p-8p

$25 - Family Pass (up to 2 adults & 4 children)
$10 - Adults
$8 - Child 5+, Student, Military & Seniors 62+
Free - Seaport Members & Children under 5

Mission Statement:
The mission of the Foss Waterway Seaport is to celebrate Tacoma’s rich maritime heritage – past, present and future.  

Vision Statement:
To create the region’s most compelling maritime heritage education and recreation resource.

Our History

Inside the museum you can explore the story of our region, one artifact at a time. Guests will learn the story of the Puyallup tribe and their relationship with salmon as well as view the canoes that were used to paddle the length of our local inlets and seas. Visitors can smell the wood of the hand built Foss rowboats as they read the story of Thea Foss, a Norwegian immigrant who built the largest tug boat industry in the world with nothing more than her conviction and a pot of coffee. Hear the train whistles in our rail exhibit as you feel the roar of a freight train roll past on the same tracks that were used in the 1800s to off-load wheat.

Upon entering our historic building, you have one foot in the past and the other in the now. The Seaport museum resides in the last remaining section of what was once the longest wheat warehouse in the world. In 1900, construction began on the facility. The half mile-long complex was sectioned off by a series of brick firewalls and stretched from the northern most tip of what is now Thea Foss Park to the 11th Street Murray Morgan bridge. The Northern Pacific Railroad used the railroad contracted carpenters available at the time to build the warehouse. Hence, the truss construction of the roof in the Foss Waterway Seaport bears a striking resemblance to the railroad bridges built across America at the turn of the century.

Over the years, a series of fires destroyed each section of the dock-side warehouse until only the length that now houses the museum remains. The brick firewall that saved the building was later replaced in the early 2000s with the stunning glass wall that welcomes visitors today. Since 1996 this seaside treasure has struck the balance between long-term community education and recreation.

The Seaport houses a collection of primarily small watercraft. These original artifacts are examples of the canoes, rowboats, racing shells, and pleasure craft that were used by the people of the Pacific Northwest for a century or more. Each one still has traces of the life it had as a working vessel. The back end of the building contains a newly renovated boat shop that allows for carpenters, shipwrights and community volunteers to hand-build wooden boats as well as, a variety of other wood related projects. This boat shop allows for the tradition of wooden boat building to be kept alive here in the Pacific Northwest.

Executive Director

Brent Mason

Joined Foss Waterway Seaport as Executive Director in December 2019, but prior to that he worked as the director of philanthropy for Washington DECA.

He has also served as the manager of individual giving at KBTC Public Television; development director at KING FM 98.1; and major gifts officer for KNKX 88.5.

Mason entered the non-profit sector nearly 20-years ago when he served as the corporate relations manager for The Zoo Society (Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium).  While there he experienced success providing big-picture vision which aligned with strategic fundraising goals that helped raise over $3.5 million in corporate support during his tenure. 

Mason progressed to leadership roles that have centered on development and fundraising, bringing a fresh vision and perspective, crafting well-thought-out strategic/tactical plans, rallying teams, stewarding donors, and establishing, enhancing, leading, and maintaining sound operations, which he plans to use in making the Seaport not only a local treasure, but a regional one as well. 

A proud resident of Tacoma, Mason lives downtown with his wife, Cat, and Australian Shepard, Kiya.

Our Leadership Team

Julia Berg - Director Of Education

Julia is committed to leveraging her experiences in the maritime industry, business, environmental education, technology, and marine biology to grow equitable programs that encourage community stewardship actions in the PNW. Julia is defending her M.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Guam, studying Tridacna maxima population genetics. Julia also has a B.A. in Environmental Education from Western Washington University. Born and raised in the PNW. Some of her past experiences include working as a naturalist for the Cousteau family in Grand Cayman, training as a marine biologist and ROV pilot in the Mariana Islands, five years as Communications Director for a silicon-valley startup, and captaining power and sailboats in the US and Caribbean.

Jody Matthews - Development Officer

Jody serves as the Seaport’s first full-time Development Officer. Jody has worked in the non-profit world for over 20 years. As the Executive Director of the Everett Symphony she gained a reputation for successful organizational management, membership and donor development, fundraising, event production, along with expanding community engagement and education in the arts. She moved to Tacoma in 2008 to be near family and has been fortunate to use her skill and passion for building relationships, fundraising, and donor development for the benefit of non-profit organizations here in her new home town.

Amber Fish - Event Sales & Marketing Manager

Amber has been with the Foss Waterway Seaport since 2018. She is dedicated to creating private and community events in Tacoma that are accessible, entertaining, educational, and that showcase the Seaport's historic waterfront charm. She is a passionate marketing and sales expert with over 20 years of experience in media, public relations, and event planning. Amber has developed and executed thousands of events from intimate weddings to major pop concerts, and no matter the size, strives to make every event better than the one before. Amber brings nine years of radio promotion/event planning experience in Seattle, plus venue management at Landmark on the Sound Event Center, and LeMay-America's Car Museum, and just prior to the Seaport, Event Director at Café Pacific Catering. Amber is a member of Tacoma's NACE chapter, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, and continues education in event trends and planning.

Donate and

A Foss Waterway Seaport membership means joining and supporting a lively community of people celebrating Tacoma’s rich maritime heritage–past, present and future.

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Find out more about volunteering at Foss Waterway Seaport. We are always looking for community members to join our team.

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Looking for an exciting new career keeping the historic Maritime history afloat and alive in Tacoma? Contact us today to learn more about current opportunities at Foss Waterway Seaport.

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about Tacoma’s Hidden Treasure

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