Volunteer Park Conservatory in the SpringThe Friends of the Conservatory (FOC), formed as a non-profit organization in 1980 and grew out of a 1978 citizens’ campaign to restore the physical structure of the Conservatory. The Victorian glass building had stood for 65 years at the north end of Volunteer Park, the site approved by the renowned Olmsted brothers’ landscape architecture firm in the early 1900′s. By 1978 the Conservatory’s glass panes and wood/iron framework had deteriorated so badly the building had to be closed during high winds.

The FOC, cooperating with the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, sponsored the 1980 – 1985 architectural restoration of the Conservatory building. In 1983 the FOC and the City developed a Conservatory expansion plan. The Gift Shop/Resource Center opened in February, 2003. Most recently, in 2004, the FOC successfully led a community drive to defeat a proposed mandatory $5 Conservatory admissions fee.

The mission of the Friends of the Conservatory (FOC) is to advocate and encourage preservation, public participation, and education with respect to the Volunteer Park Conservatory and its plant collection. The FOC is a community non-profit organization that supports the Conservatory in cooperation with the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation.

The charitable Friends of the Conservatory was chartered with the City of Seattle in 1980 to help promote the restoration of the building.