The Columbia River Maritime Museum is a museum of maritime history located about ten miles (16 km) from the mouth of the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon, U.S.. It has a national reputation for the quality of its exhibits and the scope of its collections and was the first museum in Oregon to meet national accreditation standards. The museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums. It is the official state maritime museum for Oregon.
The Columbia River Maritime Museum was founded in 1962 by avid marine artifact collector Rolf Klep. Its fortieth anniversary and a $6 million remodeling and expansion project were celebrated May 112002. The renovation increased exhibit space to and now houses interactive historical exhibits and museum acquisitions. Visitors may experience what it is like to pilot a tugboat, participate in a Coast Guard rescue on the Columbia River Bar, and live in Astoria during the height of salmon fishing. Huge windows make the Columbia River a living backdrop for exhibits that are interactive and touchable, many accompanied by interviews with people involved in the events depicted.
The Columbia River Maritime Museum collects and exhibits maritime artifacts from the Columbia River and the Pacific Northwest. The Museum’s all-donation collection exceeds 30,000 objects, 15,000 photographs, and a 7,000-volume research library.
Maritime collections including models, full-size watercraft, paintings, figureheads, and all manner of gear, wardrobe, weapons, instruments employed in commercial, private and military maritime operations. An orientation film The Great River of the West shows the Bar pilots working the dangerous Columbia River Bar.