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Historic Oregon Coast Glass Float Exhibit and ID Your Float Day

Published 1/29/24 at 5:25 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Historic Oregon Coast Glass Float Exhibit and ID Your Float Day

(Lincoln City, Oregon) – There are going to be rarities in the world of fishing glass floats coming to Lincoln City soon. The central Oregon coast town will be whooping it up for Antique & Collectibles Week, which also features loads of antique-like floats dropped in the sand. However, the North Lincoln County Historical Museum will be hosting an exhibit of the real thing: those now almost-ancient glass floats and the famed Float ID Day on February 24.

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In conjunction with the festival of cool, old stuff, the museum will bring in Dr. Nicklis Simpson, DMD, a renowned expert in glass floats used for fishing. He and other experts hang out from noon to 3 p.m. at the museum for Float ID Day, where you are encouraged to bring in your own beach find. They will help identify from when and where the float is from, and learn some history on your keepsake.

The museum is at 4907 SW HWY 101, Lincoln City, and the event is free.

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Also happening at the museum is the famed glass float ball collection of Jim Watson, who was one of the world’s leading collectors of Japanese glass fishing floats, especially on the Oregon. It starts on February 17 and goes for the rest of the year.

Watson passed away in 2022, but he traveled throughout the world meeting fishermen, artisans, and collectors, seeking out the most unique pieces he could find. He taught many people about the history and beauty of these unparalleled working objects.

The museum, largely due to him, has one of the biggest collections around. He contributed much to the area.

Courtesy North Lincoln County History Museum

“With the aim of continuing his mission, the James L. Watson Fishing Float Foundation donated the last remaining pieces from Jim’s personal collection to museum in 2023,” the museum said in a press release. “This exhibit will show a selection of his rarest pieces, which have not been seen for over twenty years.”

This new exhibit, in honor of Jim Watson’s legacy, will be available to see in the main hall at there through 2024. There will be a selection of floats, photo slide shows on the museum's iPad kiosk, historical information about the floats, and clips from a presentation he gave at the museum in 2000. The opening reception will take place on February 17th, from 1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Look for personnel playing the full video of his presentation, starting at 2 p.m. (Total running time: 1 hour 34 min). MORE HISTORIC PHOTOS BELOW

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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