Our Promise, Our Path, Our Invitation
By realizing the restoration and renovation of the historic Balfour Dock Building that transforms it into a year-around heated facility and using the Balfour Dock Building, docks and adjacent areas as a public facility, we will celebrate the rich maritime history of the Tacoma community and the region through interpretation, education, and events that tell the stories of our collective past, present and future.
We tell stories that celebrate:
The Natural Environment
- Marine and environmental science fostering an understanding of Puget Sound and the surrounding mountains, valleys, and rivers
- The balance of humanity and nature and the degradation and rebirth of the Thea Foss Waterway and Commencement Bay
People of the Region
- The story of human progress; the Native Americans of the region, the settlers and their varied ethnic backgrounds, the laborers who built and worked on the waterfront, the citizens of today who live and work on the waterfront and our children who represent our future
Maritime and Boating History
- Fishing, boat building and maritime transportation of people and goods
Commerce and Trade
- Stories of the water, the docks and the shore
- Rails to Sails which details how the early railroads in the Puget Sound played a critical role in linking Tacoma, the Northwest and the United States to the rest of the world.
Unique Stories of Tacoma
- The Foss Family Story, the Willits Story, the story of the Balfour Building, the ethnic richness of the region, and the people of the waterfront
Your Visit to the Foss Waterway Seaport
Visitors to the Seaport will return because of their intellectual curiosity and their emotional attachment to the stories we tell through multi-dimensional and multi-sensory encounters with the past, the present, and the future that include:
- Historic artifacts and boats and education programs that put students and adults both in the classroom and on the water “doing and discovering”
- Permanent, rotating and transient exhibits that are visual and three dimensional, hands-on, and invite visitors into the experience through sight, sound, smell, touch and emotion and allow visitors to direct their own inquiry
- A true “feel” for the historic Balfour Dock Building and the waterfront
Join us on this voyage: Volunteer, Donate, Become a Member!