Worth a Visit: Columbia River Maritime Museum in Oregon

Columbia River Maritime Museum, Oregon© 2009 Michael MathersThe museum sits on the banks of the mighty river whose maritime history it explores. Shown here is the Great Hall.

1792 Marine Dr., Astoria, Oregon

For five miles its foghorn could cut through the heavy mist, heralding the way home for bone-tired sailors. The bright beacon of the lightship Columbia was a comforting sight for seamen approaching the mouth of the Columbia River, known for its danger to ships. The first lightship on the Pacific Coast began its tour of duty in 1892. The last Columbia lightship to be in active service was replaced in 1979 by an unmanned navigational buoy of heroic proportions, mea-suring 40 feet wide by 86 feet high. Both floating aids are now on display in this museum.

Two hundred years of Pacific Northwest maritime history are explored here, with the powerful waterway visible through the large windows of the wavelike structure. Interactive exhibits allow people to see what it’s like to pilot a tugboat, engage in a Coast Guard rescue on the river bar, or go salmon fishing in Astoria. You can even clamber up to the bridge of a World War II naval destroyer, the USS Knapp.

Open year-round; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission charged.


(503) 325-2323

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