Columbia River Maritime Museum


Sea Rex 3D

Experience a wondrous 3D adventure from the dinosaur age with Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World. Join Julie, an imaginative young woman, as she travels from a modern-day aquarium to the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Explore an amazing underwater universe inhabited by larger-than-life creatures–including the powerful Liopleurodon, long-necked Elasmosaurus and gigantic Shonisaurus–which were ruling the seas before dinosaurs conquered the earth. Thanks to state-of-the-art ultra-photorealistic imagery, see science come alive in a unique and entertaining manner. Immerse yourself in a lost age, 200 million years back in time, and get ready for a face-to-face encounter with the T-Rex of the seas!

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

What to know before you see Sea Rex 3D

USS Shark Cannon

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

Crossing the Bar

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.

The Art of Michael Spakowsky

Crossing the Bar

The Museum is pleased to host an exhibit of the art of Michael Spakowsky. He lived and painted on Washington State’s Vashon Island for most of his life. Michael Spakowsky’s watercolors have been featured in the Foss Maritime calendar, the Kirsten Gallery in Seattle, the Frye Art Museum, and here at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The exhibit is in the Brix Gallery until March 2015.