Rowing U - Washington Rowing

“The Boys of 1936” Boathouse Tour

Conibear Shellhouse Guided Tours


Fans of Daniel James Brown’s New York Times bestseller The Boys in the Boat, now have a unique opportunity to get an inside look at the legacy of “The Boys.” Join us for a tour through Washington Rowing’s Conibear Shellhouse and the 1918 World War I airplane hangar known to the “Boys” as the ASUW Shell House in 1936.

Watch Rantz, Hume, Moch, and the rest of the ’36 Husky Clipper come to life in this hour-long tour highlighting the historical regalia of the champion crew.

The tour will include chances to see the lettermen’s jackets of Joe Rantz and Don Hume, the IRA and Berlin Olympics medals of Joe Rantz, and the famed Husky Clipper shell.

Guests will first be led by current and former UW rowing student-athletes through Conibear Shellhouse, starting with an inside look at the legacy of George Pocock and the latest generation of Pocock Racing shells, then through the heart of the boathouse: the erg bays, and finally to the Windermere Cup Dining room to stand under the Husky Clipper and imagine the roar of the crowd as the Clipper took gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics race in front of Adolf Hitler.

Following the tour through Conibear Shellhouse, guests will have the exclusive opportunity to tour through the ASUW Shell House. Built by the United States Navy in 1918, this airplane hangar is an untouched piece of history, recognized by and listed under the National Register of Historic Places. Tour attendees will enjoy the beauty of the ASUW Shell House while listening to stories of the many eras this incredible landmark has seen (including the famed Husky rowing team in 1936 and the skilled boat builder, George Pocock) over the past 99 years it has graced the shores of the Montlake Cut.

Buy Tickets


Time: Tours are offered on weekends for up to 35 people.

Cost: $20 per adult, $10 for students (ages 11-17), and free for children 10 and under.

Location: Tours meet in the entry way of Conibear Shellhouse and conclude at the ASUW Shell House.

Please note: Conibear Shellhouse is open to the public from 9 a.m. to Monday through Friday. The dining room where the Husky Clipper boat is displayed is closed to the public during private events and during student-athletes’ evening meal hours.

Tour Guide

Melanie Barstow 2016Melanie Barstow, ’16

Melanie is a graduate of the Washington women’s rowing team and rowed for four years while wearing the W with great pride. She is passionate about opening the doors of Conibear and the ASUW Shellhouse to all who are interested in the history and legacy of Husky Crew, and strives to create a unique experience to all fans of the legendary 1936 crew. After four years of rowing for Washington, Melanie brings unique insight and perspective into the current program, and a deep appreciation for all who have rowed before her.

Since launching her Boys of 1936 Tours in Spring of 2016, she has hosted over 3,000 attendees through the doors of Conibear and the ASUW Shellhouse, been featured in Columns and Alaska Airlines Magazine, and currently is ranked #37 out of the top 200 ‘Tours in Seattle’ on TripAdvisor. She is a one-person show and when not working full time downtown, she is usually spotted at the Shellhouse leading tours for fans with a bright smile on her face.

Directions to Conibear Shellhouse

Please click here for directions, parking information, and a map of Conibear Shellhouse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Conibear Shellhouse?
Conibear Shellouse is on the University of Washington campus, northeast of Husky Stadium. Please see this link for directions to Conibear Shellhouse. This includes parking information and a map of the location.

Where is the entrance to Conibear?
The entrance to Conibear is located through the double doors under the silver letters which read “Conibear Shellhouse” at the front of the boathouse. Go up the concrete steps (or ramp) and past the green lawn at the front of the shellhouse to find the entry way. Tours will start inside these doors promptly at the time marked.

What if I can’t make the tour I signed up for? Can I reschedule?
If you are unable to make the tour you have registered for, please choose another available tour date and time, and email [email protected] directly. A minimum of 24 hours advance notice is required for any rescheduling. Please note rescheduling is subject to tour availability.
Please note: Tours are non-refundable.

I haven’t read The Boys in the Boat. Can I still attend this tour?
YES! These tours are tailored specifically to The Boys in the Boat book, but are open to all.

How long is the tour?
The tour is approximately 90 minutes long and includes leisurely strolls from one place in the boathouse to the next, one flight of stairs, and about a 10-minute walk to the ASUW Shell House.

Is the tour accessible for those with wheelchairs or accessibility challenges?
The Conibear Shellhouse is accessible for our guests with wheelchairs or accessibility challenges. Please click here for more information.

The ASUW Shell House maintains its rustic and historic nature, with little to no modernization work inside the building from 1918. The ground level of the building is currently accessed on a very limited basis by current boat renters. Navigation on the ground level of this space can be tight and visitors must watch their heads and feet and stay in the designated areas set by the tour guides. Exposed beams, boats, and uneven flooring need to be taken into consideration. There is no heat, running water, or restrooms in the ASUW Shell House.

If registering for the tour and need accommodations, please email [email protected] with the date and time of your tour and specific needs.

Why haven’t I heard of this tour before?
The tour is new this year! In response to the dramatic increase in interest about the 1936 gold medal winning crew thanks to Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat, we have created and launched this tour. We are determined to provide the greatest tour experience possible, and all feedback is welcome. Please contact [email protected] for feedback about your tour experience.

I loved my experience! How can I let others know about this incredible tour?
We are glad you enjoyed it! You can start by:
– “Liking” us on Facebook here 
– Encouraging them check out The Boys in the Boat tour page
– Reviewing us on TripAdvisor

Who do I contact for further questions I have about the tour and availability?
Please email [email protected] for any questions or concerns you may have regarding the tour.

Tour Safety Precautions

Please read our tour safety precautions here. 

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