Columbia River Maritime Museum
Astoria, Oregon Attractions
Many visitors to Astoria have little knowledge just how close they are to what has proven to be the most dangerous waterway in the world: The Columbia River Bar. The Columbia River Maritime Museum uses exhibits, movies, and hands-on experiences such as a simulated ship bridge to demonstrate the perils of this waterway. Additionally, the museum showcases the history of the bar and introduces visitors to the Coast Guard heroes and bar pilots that keep this waterway safe.
The mouth of the Columbia presents an immense danger as the water from the Columbia River slams into the Pacific Ocean at between four and seven knots with no deltas to equalize it. However, the Columbia River is also a pivotal route, connecting such ports as Portland and Lewiston, the world’s most inland seaport, to the rest of the world.
The Columbia River Maritime Museum catalogs the over 200 ships that lie at the bottom of the ocean around the mouth of the Columbia River. It is home to 30,000 artifacts, 20,000 photographs, and a 10,000-volume research library, making it stand out in the country as a leading authority of Pacific maritime artifacts.
Additional exhibits include a self-guided tour of the Lightship Columbia, which served as a floating lighthouse 5.3 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River, the final lightship decommissioned and replaced with a buoy in 1979. While onboard, you’ll experience some of the living conditions of the 18-man crew, of whom ten were aboard at any time.
The Columbia River Maritime Museum is open throughout the year from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.