Our exhibits are designed to entertain the history buff, natural scientist, artist, and lover of all things Cannon Beach. We have two rotating exhibits (one a quilt/fabric arts/arts showcase), and several permanent features of the museum.
For the last two centuries, the Oregon coastline has been traveled by hundreds of exploration and trade vessels. The North Coast region, stretching from the Columbia River to Cascade Head, is home to over 2,000 shipwrecks in what is referred to as the Graveyard of the Pacific. While the Graveyard of the Pacific extends to British Columbia, the heavy weather and changing coastline, makes Oregon a distinctive part of history. The Cannon Beach History Center and Museum’s latest temporary exhibit focuses on several prominent and several not-so-well-known wrecks along the Oregon coast, including the U.S.S. Shark, the Glenesslin, and the Peter Iredale. The exhibit will also focus on the Beeswax Wreck and the current information that determines which ship it is that wrecked along the Nehalem Spit in the late 1600s. This exhibit will feature various artifacts from those wrecks.
This exhibit will be on display through January 2020.
The Native American Longhouse is a hands-on exhibit for visitors of all ages. Children are invited to touch the cedar-bark cape, bowls, and skins furnishing the exhibit, and to use the space to pretend with our toys. The exhibit was designed in cooperation with the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes, and the longhouse is furnished with replica artifacts crafted by Native American artisans around the Northwest.
Native American villages of the Northwest Coast consisted of several of these longhouses, which were built in clearings between forest and tidewater. Each longhouse served as a home, workshop, and ceremonial space and housed an entire extended family, with 20 or more people sometimes living in a single home.
The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum’s longhouse exhibit shows a small-scale longhouse’s interior, typical of a small home or a seasonal fishing hut. Today, Natives living on the Oregon Coast live in European style homes, but often still use longhouses for festivals and celebrations of their traditional ways.
The permanent exhibit, Cannon Beach: A Place by the Sea was based on the book of the same name authored by Terence O’Donnell. The exhibit is rich in visual material, telling the story about what attracted people to Cannon Beach throughout time. Drawing from the archives of CBHCM, photos reveal the town’s past and the arduous journey it was to get here.
The story of the Tillamook Indians, Lewis and Clark, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, historic hotels and buildings, recreation, the Great Depression, World War II, and Cannon Beach today are all told through this interactive exhibit, which is also translated in Spanish.
The interactive children’s exhibit features tide pool life, and children will love learning more about sea stars, coastal forests, and bird life on the Coast!
All in all, the view from Tillamook Head, the rising sentinels of Haystack Rock and the Needles, and the seven miles of “singing sands” and sparkling surf are like magnets drawing people back year after year to Cannon Beach, a special “place by the sea.”
Spanish Audio Translation of Permanent Exhibit
Visitors to the museum can hear the text of the permanent exhibit read in Spanish, on hear-sets located at each major display panel around the museum. Financial support for the Cannon Beach History Center’s Audio Spanish Translation Project was provided by the Bloomfield Family Foundation, Oregon Council for the Humanities, and the City of Cannon Beach. Several Cannon Beach volunteers also contributed translation, recording, and installation services.
The Cannon Beach History Center and Museum is home to the original Cannon Beach cannon. This artifact has always been a subject of interest. Also learn more about recent findings of two more cannons on an Arch Cape beach.