MOHAI’s Must-See Houseboat Exhibit

MOHAI dives into Seattle’s longfloating houseboat community

By Seattle Mag May 13, 2013


This article originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Seattle magazine.

A few must-sees pop up on every Seattle tourist’s list: the Space Needle, Pike Place Market and (thanks to Tom Hanks) the houseboats. But the city’s floating abodes were around long before they were popularized by Sleepless in Seattle—and in fact, before the Needle and the Market, too, as seen in a 1902 Seattle Post-Intelligencer story showcasing “Seattle’s Unique Floating Population.” Houseboat colonies were significantly less charming in the early days—barely buoyant shacks occupied by transient fishermen, dock workers and ne’er-do-wells—but after decades of controversies, relocations and going co-op, they’ve evolved into premium properties. The Museum of History & Industry’s new exhibit, Still Afloat: Seattle’s Floating Homes, shows just how far houseboats have come, via photographs, video interviews with residents past and present, artifacts and illustrations of the technology that makes this distinctively local lifestyle possible. 6/15–11/3. Times and prices vary. MOHAI, 860 Terry Ave. N; 206.324.1126;


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