9:30am to 5pm daily
1792 Marine Drive, Astoria, OR


Explore the extreme forces at work along the Columbia River Bar. Learn about waves that can exceed 40 feet in height during the most severe winter storms. See exciting exhibits on the U.S. Coast Guard and the Columbia River Bar Pilots. Witness the legendary salmon fishing runs and take a tour of a floating lighthouse, the lightship Columbia.

NOW SHOWING: Penguins 3D

Narrated by David Attenborough, "Penguins 3D" celebrates the destiny of a very special King Penguin, who returns to his birthplace in the sub-Antarctic. Known as Penguin City, the island is also home to hundreds of albatrosses, fur seals and brawling elephant seals—as well as six million penguins! Somehow our hero must earn his place among the island inhabitants and fulfill his destiny by finding a mate and raising a family. What follows is the story of the most challenging time in a King Penguin's life, when he is driven to nurture and defend his offspring against harsh weather and fierce predators. The cosmic drama plays out in one of Earth's last great wildernesses, amid steep mountain ranges and windblown plains half buried beneath snow and ice. "Penguins 3D" is an unforgettable tale of one King Penguin's journey through his species' central rite of passage.

Tickets for the film are $5 in addition to Museum admission. The film is free to Museum members.
Showtimes and additional information


A treasure to behold… All is quiet in the museum on this stormy night. You dare to take the pirate’s treasure which unleashes a furious chase. With a thunderous clap you scramble in the dark to escape the curse that’s come to life. Using all your senses, you make your way through this obstacle course desperately hoping to find a way out.

Tickets for the film are $5 in addition to Museum admission. The film is free to Museum members.
Showtimes and additional information

Inside Astoria

"Inside Astoria" features the work of local photographer, Michael Mathers. Michael has gone door to door around town and photographed the views from inside looking out. He takes us into shipping containers, businessess, warehouses, living rooms, bedrooms and backseats to show us the views from there.

The exhibit is an archive of contemporary culture and life in this city at the edge. Michael gives us an "Inside" look.

A Peaceful Return—The Story of the Yosegaki Hinomaru

Japanese soldiers in World War II carried with them a very personal memento into battle: Yosegaki Hinomaru. These flags, covered with signatures and well-wishes for a safe return, were given by family and friends to the soldiers as they were sent off to war.

American soldiers in World War II collected flags from the bodies of Japanese combatants to take home as souvenirs. Now, decades later, many veterans and their families are realizing that these flags might be the only tangible evidence of a beloved family member lost in a war fought long ago.

Although these Japanese soldiers never saw their families again, their flags are now returning home.

USS Shark Cannon

On Presidents' Day weekend in 2008, Oregon teen Miranda Petrone and her father, Mike Petrone, were beachcombing on the beach near Arch Cape in Clatsop County when she noticed a misshapen lump of rock and remarked how much it looked like a cannon.

That one moment kicked off the discovery of two 19th century cannon. It resulted in six years of restoration work, leading up to the planned public unveiling of the never before displayed artifacts at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria.

The two cannon are a specific type called a carronade. They were part of the 1846 wreck of the USS Shark, a US Navy vessel that ran aground on the Columbia Bar as it attempted to leave the Northwest after touring the territory.

Crossing the Bar: Perilous Passage

This exhibit takes an exciting look at the legendary Columbia River entrance, where the forces of the mighty Columbia River and Pacific Ocean meet to create one of the most dangerous bar crossings on the planet.

The coastline of the Pacific Northwest is no stranger to violent winter weather, but nothing can compare to the extreme forces at work along the Columbia River Bar. Here, waves can exceed 40 feet in height during the most severe winter storms.

“The new exhibit features dramatic, never-before-seen video of rough water passages captured while working with the U.S. Coast Guard and Columbia River Bar Pilots during fierce winter storms,” said Senior Curator Jeffrey Smith. Also on display is a rare bar pilot pulling boat that was used for decades to transfer pilots to ships. This historic boat is from the Museum’s collection.

Since the days of the earliest explorers, hundreds of vessels have been lost to the fury of the Columbia River Bar. A dramatic interactive shipwreck map shows the terrible loss the wind and waves have caused over the last 200 years at this location.

This exhibit promises a full interactive experience for all visitors, and a great adventure for the entire family.

Lightship Columbia—a National Historic Landmark

The Columbia was stationed 5.3 statute miles from the mouth of the Columbia River beginning in April 1951. Serving as a floating lighthouse, the lightship marked the approach to the Columbia River.

The Columbia was decommissioned in 1979, and arrived at the Columbia River Maritime Museum on December 9, 1980. She is the first vessel in Oregon to be placed on the National Register.

The Columbia is open for tours daily as part of the Museum experience.