Located in Astoria, near the Pacific Ocean and the mouth of the Columbia, the Columbia River Maritime Museum is well-known for its excellent collection of maritime artifacts.
The museum opened in 1963, and was moved into its current home in 1982 as the collection expanded. The purpose-built structure sits – appropriately – right on the waterfront, which means the collection can include ships that are still in the water. A renovation in 2001-2002 expanded the space further, and the museum now includes interactive exhibits.
The collection includes a 1950s lightship (essentially a floating lighthouse), two U.S. Coast Guard motor lifeboats, and the bridge of a World War II warship. There are exhibits about maritime weaponry, clothing, figureheads, and gear. Interactive exhibits give visitors a chance to try their hand at piloting a tugboat and joining a Coast Guard rescue on the Columbia River.
The Columbia River Maritime Museum is on Marine Drive in Astoria and is open daily from 9:30am-5:00pm. Adult tickets are $12, seniors are $10, and children ages 6-17 are $5. There's a 3D film you can see at the museum, for which admission is an extra $5 per person.