Our museum of the month for June was the Columbia River Maritime Museum because they're the participating member of the Portland Attractions Marketing Alliance for this month and our annual membership at Deepwood (the historic house where the love of my life and I got married twenty-seven years ago) got us in for free.
This post is going to lack pictures because, even though I thought I was taking lots of them, I apparently wasn't...and the ones I did take have the pattern of my dress reflected in the glass. (Did I mention that I'm still learning to use the camera on my new phone?)
There's a tremendous lot to take in at this museum, which also helps to explain the lack of pictures. We learned about shipwrecks in the local area, and current Coast Guard rescue operations, and the history of map making and navigation from hundreds of years ago to today, and Astoria's canning industry, and World War II, and I think there was something about current weather mapping technology near the end but by then my brain was full.
I don't think it's even possible to absorb it all in one visit. The displays are complex, with artifacts and detailed signs and video to explain what you're seeing (although a few times the sign we needed was hard to find and once it didn't exist at all.)
There are full sized boats on display...including a Coast Guard boat tipped up at a frightening angle...and models of boats, and the actual bridge of a World War II destroyer. Outside, the lightship Columbia is docked. The destroyer bridge and tugboat bridge inside were too crowded to really explore, but we had the Columbia pretty much to ourselves as we went through. There's a brief orientation when you first board the ship, then you wander through the rest of the publicly accessible areas on your own.
You have to be interested in boats, or the ocean, or the history of maps...or have a mind that's curious about random things...to enjoy this one. There's not a lot for very young children so I wouldn't make a trip just for them, but my kids are the perfect age.