MW-NHA Anchor Organizations

Anchor Organizations are groups from across the region that are helped us spread the word about opportunities to get involved in the visioning process for the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area throughout 2020-2022. We thank these organizations for their contributions to the NHA’s outreach and communications efforts and look forward to working with them—among many other future partners!—moving forward.

The Anacortes Museum, Maritime Heritage Center and W.T. Preston exist to preserve and interpret the history of Fidalgo and Guemes Islands and to nurture in the community an awareness and appreciation of its heritage. 

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism is an independent, 501 (c) (6) nonprofit, economic development organization whose purpose is to improve the economy by marketing Bellingham Whatcom County as a premier, year-round visitor, sports, outdoor recreation, arts and cultural, and meetings destination, which supports all travel, tourism, and hospitality businesses and nonprofits in Whatcom County.  

in collaboration with

The Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County, with over 135 members, works collaboratively to promote the vitality and economic viability of our working waterfronts for all. With an all-volunteer board and several working committees, we are proud of the traction and credibility we have gained since our launch in 2015 in advocating and promoting the economic engine that our waterfronts provide. We look forward to continued efforts to sustain and enhance our maritime sector. 

Bremerton Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center has been working to support local businesses since 1907. We recognize the vital role that our maritime history plays in our economy, particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Bremerton Chamber of Commerce is proud to be an Anchor Organization of the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area. 

The Center for Wooden Boats promotes northwest maritime heritage through education, interpretation, and hands-on experience in building, maintaining and using historic small craft.  With locations in Seattle and Camano Island, CWB offers a host of ways for the public to accesses the water with vessels built and maintained on site.

Coastal Interpretive Center, Ocean Shores

Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association is proud to be an official Washington State Main Street Community.  Our mission is to strengthen, promote and maintain our successful historic downtown district.  Situated on Whidbey Island at Penn Cove on Saratoga Passage, Coupeville was founded over 150 years ago and is one of the oldest towns in Washington.  Downtowns are the heart of their community and communities are only as strong as their core.  With support, we continue to emphasize the hometown atmosphere and charm of our Pacific Northwest seaside community.

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve was established in 1978 in order to protect and preserve a rural community and its unbroken historical record of exploration and settlement in Puget Sound. It represents a unique model of preservation based on partnerships between government and citizens. The Reserve’s history is in the farms, fields, roads, waters, historical buildings and sites found throughout the Reserve. The story is kept alive by people who live, work and maintain deep connections with this place.

Experience Olympia & Beyond is the official destination marketing organization for Thurston County. Passionate about tourism, economic development, and enhancing our local community, our destination marketing team works tirelessly to inspire, inform, and influence travelers to visit the remarkable region we call home. Their mission is to strengthen the region’s economy by developing meaningful experiences and promoting travel to vibrant Thurston County.

in collaboration with

South Sound Maritime Heritage Association

Forterra is an unconventional land trust that works across Washington’s communities and landscapes, from the ranches and shrub-steppe of the Yakima basin, to the estuaries, farms and forests of Washington’s coast, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, towns and rural communities. Working cooperatively with people and nature, Forterra drives land stewardship, management and planning; innovative programs and policies; farming and forestry approaches; community ownership opportunities; and development solutions.

Foss Waterway Seaport is housed in the historic Balfour Dock Building on the Thea Foss Waterway. The building houses historic maritime exhibits, including hands-on activities for children; an operating Heritage Boat Shop; an education center highlighting marine and environmental science inquiry and exploration; and high-end event rental spaces for public and private events. In addition, there are over 1200 feet of docks and floats for educational and recreational use.

The Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance, founded in 2008 and a nationally accredited Main Street organization since 2012, supports the charming, historic commercial district of Gig Harbor, WA, a small waterfront town with a population of nearly 10,000. With a mission to “Bring Together Community Stakeholders, Encourage Economic Vitality, and Preserve Our Historic Character,” the Downtown Waterfront Alliance works tirelessly to support and promote our 100+ downtown businesses that hug our beautiful, protected harbor.

For over 25 years, the mission of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport has been to provide educational, vocational, recreational, and ambassadorial activities and experiences that promote and preserve the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest. Each year we engage thousands of students through our hands-on educational program, Voyage of Explorers. This program provides inquiry-based lessons that begin in the classroom and conclude with unforgettable activities onboard the vessel. We are making a difference, one voyage at a time!

Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. works to cultivate the necessary conditions for business success and community prosperity in Grays Harbor County. To do this, we fulfill all the core functions of both a regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, while also mixing in some programs unique to Grays Harbor.

The Harbor History Museum is located on the waterfront in Gig Harbor, Washington. Home to the 65-foot wooden purse seiner FV Shenandoah, Thunderbird Hull #1, and the Midway Schoolhouse, the museum is dedicated to preserving our regional history through collections care and public education. The museum is operated by the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society, founded in 1964. The Harbor History Museum opened in 2010, with its new maritime gallery scheduled for completion in 2025—just in time for the Shenandoah’s 100th birthday.  

The Island County Historical Museum is located at the foot of the historic 1905 Coupeville Wharf. There are two floors and an archive (by appointment, please) to explore, featuring prehistory, geology, early exploration and settlement, an 1855 Blockhouse fortress, and a Native People-Native Places exhibit, showcasing a fine collection of 8 cedar dugout canoes, artifacts, and history! Open daily, 10-4; Sundays 11-4.

The mission of Historic Everett is to encourage preservation and rehabilitation and to advocate for and educate our community about the heritage of the city of Everett, Washington. This important and valuable heritage and character include historic buildings, architectural artifacts, landscapes, and other cultural items. Founded in 2002, Historic Everett became a non-profit in 2003. Since its formation, the organization has garnered immense support from community members, local businesses, the City of Everett, and the State of Washington. Its members volunteer to raise awareness for homes and structures of historical value. Historic Everett works hand in hand with Everett citizens, forming important, and lasting ties within the community.

The Kingston Historical Society is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that serves the unincorporated community of Kingston in North Kitsap County. Our mission is to preserve, record, interpret, and display the history of Kingston, Washington

The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), located in Seattle’s Lake Union Park, is dedicated to preserving and sharing the diverse heritage of the central Puget Sound region, and includes an extensive collection of maritime history.

The mission of the Northwest Maritime Center is to engage and educate people of all generations in traditional and contemporary maritime life, in a spirit of adventure and discovery. We’re many things, and at our core we are a campus that uses powerful maritime experiences to educate, inspire people to adventure, and celebrate our maritime culture. We do it for our own love of boats, in service to the local community and maritime industry, but mostly because regardless of the subject, the sea is the most powerful teacher we know.

The Northwest Straits Foundation, a Salish Sea conservation organization, raises funds to support locally-driven marine restoration, stewardship and education programs. Our award-winning projects in nearshore habitat restoration and derelict gear removal have restored the coastal environment in Washington’s seven Northwestern counties.

Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is a federally managed marine protected area including 3,188 square miles of marine waters off the rugged Olympic Peninsula coastline. The sanctuary extends 25 to 50 miles seaward, covering much of the continental shelf and several major submarine canyons. The sanctuary protects a productive upwelling zone – home to marine mammals and seabirds. Along its shores are thriving kelp and intertidal communities, teeming with fishes and other sea life. In addition to important ecological resources, the sanctuary has a rich cultural and historical legacy of discovery, fishing, and maritime transportation. Over two hundred shipwrecks are documented here. Over a much longer period of time, the vibrant contemporary communities of the Makah Tribe, Quileute Tribe, Hoh Tribe, and Quinault Indian Nation have forged inseparable ties to the ocean environment, maintaining traditions of the past while they navigate the challenges of the present.

The Pacific Northwest Maritime Heritage Council works to bring together maritime heritage organizations in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia to preserve maritime history, strengthen maritime traditions and promote maritime culture through mutually beneficial, cooperative activities.

The Port of Everett is located in Washington state on Port Gardner Bay at the mouth of the Snohomish River. For more than a century, the Port has created economic opportunities and jobs while providing maritime and marine-related services and appropriate public access to the waterfront. Through its international seaport, public marina and real estate development operations, the Port of Everett brings jobs, tax base, business and tourism to the community and region.  The Port is a committed steward of the environment and waterfront. Port activities support more than 40,000 jobs in the surrounding community and contributes $433 million in state and local taxes.  

Creating economic opportunities by connecting Thurston County to the world by air, land and sea, the Port of Olympia has a proud history in Thurston County. It serves the community in a wide variety of ways, leading the way for many of the area’s economic development efforts. From the commercial center at NewMarket Industrial Campus and the diversified specialty Marine Terminal to the vibrant Swantown Marina and Boatworks and the strategically located Olympia Regional Airport, the Port of Olympia is committed to fostering economic growth of the South Puget Sound region and serving the needs of global customers.

The mission of the Port Townsend Main Street Program is to preserve, promote and enhance the historic business districts. Founded in 1985, it was was one of the first five pilot Main Street Programs created by the National Trust in Washington State.

The Puget Sound Navy Museum (PSNM) is one of ten official U.S. Navy museums. Their Mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the naval heritage of the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of the U.S. Navy and public. PSNM is an AAM accredited museum.

The mission of the Recreational Boating Association of Washington (RBAW) is to represent the interests of Northwest boaters effectively and serve as the voice for recreational boaters. RBAW represents the nearly 240,000 registered recreational boaters in the State of Washington through both individual memberships (now about 1300) and the membership of over 50 supporting boating clubs in the State (now about 8000 club members) and is the only organization representing recreational boaters in the State. RBAW is run by boaters just like you. Our officers, board and committees are all staffed by boating volunteers, nominated and elected by members.

In the spectacular San Juan Islands of Washington State, Salish Sea Sciences brings together high school students with scientists and leaders from around the world, all inspired to learn from and protect the Salish Sea. Hands-on experiences with mentors in the field, lab, and studio expose students to a wide range of real-world practices. Students live and work together as a team, navigate the waters of the Salish Sea in human and wind-powered vessels, and pull their ideas together in original research projects with relevance to their personal educational trajectories and their communities back home.

Captain Lafayette Balch, a Marine sea captain, founded the Town of Steilacoom in January 1851, originally naming it “Port Steilacoom.” A few months later, John B. Chapman took a donation land claim to the west, naming his Town “Steilacoom City.”  In 1854, the new territorial legislature incorporated “Steilacoom,” combining the two rival towns into one. They were joined by Union Avenue. Steilacoom was and is known as the “town of firsts,” and lays claim to many firsts for the State of Washington, including: the first territorial court; the first port; the first post office; the first incorporated town; the first school district and Pierce County newspaper; the first public library, jail, and brewery; the first soap factory; and the first gas station and garage. Today, Steilacoom is a residential community preserving our past while looking to the future.

The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum (USNUM) is one of ten official U.S. Navy museums. Our mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret naval undersea history, science, and operations for the benefit of the U.S. Navy and the people of the United States. USNUM is an AAM accredited museum.

Visit Kitsap Peninsula – A very quick and easy getaway to the Natural Side of Puget Sound. The Kitsap Peninsula is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and many opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreational activities and discover its many maritime communities all year round.  Visit Kitsap Peninsula (VKP) is an economic development organization responsible for promoting the Kitsap Peninsula region to attract and educate travelers and build community partnerships. 

The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is the destination marketing organization for Washington State. Its mission is to competitively market the state, to visitors around the world. Located in America’s great Northwest, Washington State is known for its natural beauty and abundant outdoor recreation, national parks, unique islands, two mountain ranges and temperate rain forests. A food-lover’s mecca, Washington State offers more than a thousand wineries, hand-crafted beer and cider, apples, wild salmon. From Seattle’s Space Needle to Mt. Rainier, ocean beaches to renowned wine regions, few destinations offer the variety of experiences found in Washington State.

Seattle’s Waterfront Seattle Program is creating 20 acres of new parks and infrastructure on Seattle’s Central Waterfront – reconnecting central Seattle to Elliott Bay, restoring the City’s shoreline, and supporting expansions of the Pike Place Market and Seattle Aquarium. Led by the Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects, Waterfront Seattle is now under construction and will be completed in 2024.

The Westport South Beach Historical Society was formed in 1984. Starting with  a mission “to educate and interpret the maritime history of our coastal community and to advocate for the preservation of our local historic structures.”The Society established a relationship with the City of Westport to acquire and convert  the historic US Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor site into a museum. Additionally the Society developed programs and tours for the Grays HarborLighthouse leading to its acquisition in 2004 under the Federal Lighthouse surplus program. The Society operates both locations in service of its mission, and as an important partner to the local tourism economy.

The Youth Marine Foundation (YMF) is a maritime educational organization whose mission is committed to getting youth on the water, promoting environmental stewardship and providing job skills for future employment. YMF is a recognized 501(c)3 that operates the Tacoma Youth Marine Center on the Foss Waterway. The Youth Marine Center supports youth education, skill and character development with a variety of programs through partnerships with organizations including Sea Scouts, Tacoma Public Schools, Metro Parks Tacoma and local universities and colleges. The most robust partner, Tacoma Sea Scouts, offer co-ed year-round training and have been in continual operation since 1924.

A special thank you to the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the State of Washington for their support of the development of a management plan for the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area.

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