New Attraction on Central Oregon Coast: Maritime Museum in Newport
(Newport, Oregon) – A former restaurant and nightclub icon gone by the wayside has new life breathed into it, as the Lincoln County Historical Society opens up the Pacific Maritime and Heritage Center right on Newport's buzzing waterfront.
The Pacific Maritime and Heritage Center boasts an abundance of displays and features, including binnacles, boat models, ship's wheels, vintage surfboards, maritime art and larger-than-life art – all in the spirit of the central Oregon coast town's historic Bayfront.
The Center opened recently, at 333 SE Bay Blvd in Newport.
Steve Wyatt, executive director of the Lincoln County Historical Society, said part of the experience of visiting the museum is the location and uniqueness of the building with its high ceilings and 50-some windows overlooking Newport’s Bayfront at Port Dock 5.
“When people enter the building for the first time, they often gasp as they take in the beauty and scale of the building,” Wyatt said.
The building has been around for more than a century, starting as the Bayley House around 1899. It eventually became a restaurant and nightclub which closed around 2000.
The museum has encountered numerous challenges to get off the ground – a project started almost ten years ago.
“This museum has been a community project that got its start in 2004, and now we are putting the finishing touches on the main floor of this 28,000-square-foot facility,” Wyatt said. “Renovation of this former mansion and night club slowed early on along with the economy, but this last year work has been going full steam.”
A huge array of photographs from the Society’s collection show early life on the area waterways. Some are larger-than-life, which might also be a way to describe the building housing the museum.
Also on hand: the main public area contains maritime objects loaned by members of the community in an exhibit titled “Ship to Shore: Objects of a Maritime Community.”
“This community-based approach netted incredible gems of maritime history, many of which have never been seen by the public,” Wyatt said. “The eclectic, community-based maritime exhibit is reflective of the project.”
Alongside the many maritime objects, the museum will kick off with 48 pieces of maritime art that were part of a juried exhibition, organized by Toledo artist Michael Gibbons. This exhibit is called “Maritime Heritage: Impressions in Art.”
There's more to this new attraction on the central Oregon coast. The center is also an event venue.
“We are now scheduling charity events, weddings, etc. for the Great Room, which is adjacent to an open-air deck overlooking the Bayfront,” Wyatt said.
Other attractions include an AIS System antenna, which identifies and tracks marine traffic in real time and a Hands-On History area where children can handle objects and create their own exhibits.
Renovation of this building has been possible through grassroots support. Since 2004, more than $1 million has been raised, all from local donors. The upper and lower floors, which will house a multi-purpose theater, a conference center, and additional exhibits, will open as funds are raised.
Admission to the museum for non-members is $5 for adults; $3 for children 3 through 12 and free to children 2 and under. For a limited time, members will be free. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
The Lincoln County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Lincoln County. It operates the Burrows House Museum located at 545 SW Ninth Street, Newport, and the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center, 333 SE Bay Blvd., Newport.
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