Category: Exhibits

Attention textile artists, quilters, crafters and art enthusiasts! The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum will be opening a textile exhibit this April. Throughout the year the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum hosts artists from all over the Pacific Northwest.
April’s show will feature local artist Constance Waisanen. She is a creative and innovative quilter. She transfers original drawings to freezer paper templates, which are used to cute precise individual pieces. She integrates batik, hand-dyed and painted fabric – even using Shibori techniques! Each piece is marked and meticulously sewn together by home machine. The topstitching is done free motion on a standard sewing machine.
Purple trees quiltWaisanen’s exhibit is an exploration of organic forms, patterns, and images of our local resources. Trees will be on display through May of 2017. She says of her style, “In putting together this show I gathered together three series that are related but distinctly different. In the first series a single piece of hand dyed fabric serves as the ground for a tree like form. I love the shapes of trees and the metaphor of tree as life, grounded and rooted in the earth, solid yet flexible, always reaching for the light. The second series are “scrolls”, with imagery and poetry that explores the spiritual connection I feel when immersed in nature. The third series consists of crosses, another tree, rooted in the earth.”
Trees will open on Saturday, April 8 at 6:00 p.m. a meet and greet with the artist, Constance Waisanen, to discuss her techniques and inspiration. The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum welcome everyone and will be providing wine and hors d’oeuvres. A special thank you to Cannon Beach’s own Center Diamond for sponsoring this event. Center Diamond has been selling fabric for over twenty years in Cannon Beach with a focus on contemporary batiks, brights, Asian, landscape/beach and modern fabrics. A favorite for many local quilters and textile artists!

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This tiny museum is home to thousands of artifacts, each with their own unique history. From the Vault showcases nearly twenty different objects and photographs from the depths of the Museum’s archives. These artifacts have been explicitly chosen for their uniqueness and pertinence to the history of Cannon Beach. Visitors will discover the stories behind these unseen treasures. One of the iconic artifacts featured is the saddle used by Mary Gerritse while riding her horse Prince to deliver the mail along the coastline. The saddle is accompanied by entries from her journal sharing her harrowing story of nearly falling from a cliff side, to coming face to face with both a mountain lion and a bear, at different times. Gerritse took over the mail route when her husband was unable. She acted as the area’s mail carrier from 1897 until 1902.


The saddle Gerritse wore while riding her favorite horse, Prince.

The exhibit will also feature an artifact with a slightly more macabre origin, the head of Cannon Beach’s own headless horseman. In 1964, the community of Cannon Beach was inundated with a tsunami. The tsunami was caused by a Megathrust quake with an epicenter at the head of glacier-ringed College Fiord, 75 miles from the town of Chenega. It also severely damaged Cannon Beach’s flow of summer tourists. The following year in 1965, locals Betty Dueber and Bill Steidel, along with other merchants, devised a plan to create some positive publicity for Cannon Beach. The Swigert family loaned a solid black horse each weekend and promptly at noon the bells in the Presbyterian Church would ring, and the headless horseman would enter the downtown area and gallop down the main street. The horseman, whose identity was never publicly disclosed, would gallop down the street with the human head covered with a blanket, and with all the children chasing the horse trying to determine who the actual rider was.

The exhibit also features recently donated images taken by Frank Woodfield and the Warren Family of the Warren Hotel. These images have never-been-seen by the public and share not only the tale of the old hotel, but show the humor of the photographers and the Warren family.

Discover tidbits of Cannon Beach history that you won’t find anywhere else!  On display now through December of 2016.


Haystack Rock StarfishOn Saturday, April 18th the Haystack Rock Awareness Program’s exhibit on the Tide Pools of Haystack Rock opened to rave reviews. The seasonal exhibit encompasses the entire John Williams classroom with beautiful photos featuring the wildlife that live in and around the rock, as well as the history of this important Cannon Beach program.
The exhibit celebrates 30 years of the Haystack Rock Awareness Program and explores the serendipitous story of its beginnings. It was a summer day in 1983 when Neal and Karen Maine brought their spotting scopes and other equipment to Haystack Rock. They planned to observe birds and intertidal creatures, but that wasn’t exactly how their day worked out. Curious passersby crowded around Karen and Neal asking for “interpretation of the wildlife.”

2 Maine

Neal & Karen Maine

Inspired by the enthusiasm of those who stopped them, Mrs. Maine suggested that a program be organized. From Mayor to City Manager, the idea of an environmental education agency at the rock began to form and in the summer of 1985 a pilot program was launched. The city contracted with naturalists to be present at the rock during low-tide times on four busy weekends. One cannot talk about the first years without mentioning the cadre of volunteers that stepped up to make that first summer a successful one.
The Haystack Rock Awareness Program’s staff and volunteers work tirelessly to not only protect the town’s most iconic image, but to provide education to the public. With the help of the Friend’s of Haystack Rock, the Haystack Rock Awareness Program continues to grow, both in size and scope.

The Haystack Rock Awareness Program hard at work.  Image circa late 1980's.

The Haystack Rock Awareness Program hard at work. Image circa late 1980’s.

This exhibit is a great way to see how this organization has evolved over the past three decades and to learn a little more about the rock through the eyes of those who know it better than anyone. The exhibit will be on display through September, 2015.  The Museum is open 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Memorial Day – Labor Day) and admission is by donation.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the Museum’s exhibit on the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, now is your chance.  The exhibit, which closes on May 15, 2015, explores the history, life of, and after life of the secluded lighthouse.  The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, known affectionately as Terrible Tilly, or just Tilly.

The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse receiving visitors, image taken between 1913 and 1939.

The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse receiving visitors, image taken between 1913 and 1939.

Tilly’s story first began in 1878, when funding for construction of the lighthouse was approved.  The act read as follows, “That the sum of fifty thousand dollars be and the same is hereby appropriated … of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated for the purpose of constructing a first-class light-house on Tillamook Head, Oregon.”

The initial location for the lighthouse was Tillamook Head, but after being fully vetted, it was decided that a lone basalt rock off of Tillamook Head would be the better location.  Construction began in 1879 and was completed in late 1880. Tilly’s light first shone in early 1881.  The first part of Tilly’s life was surrounded with intrigue.  During the construction phase, a highly recognized lighthouse designer fell into the Pacific while trying to gain access to the rock.  Later, the Lupata (also written as the Lupatia) was torn apart just off the rock.  The wreck was so close that the crew constructing the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse could hear the men yelling, “Hard aport!”

Despite, these difficulties the lighthouse had a successful career.  She acted as a warning beacon to thousands of vessel skirting the coastline on their way to the mouth of the Columbia River. The Columbia River became a busy part of marine commerce in the mid-to-late 1800’s. This was and is still considered one of the most dangerous river mouths in the world. Ships lost to the sea were so common that the waters became known as the Graveyard of the Pacific.

The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse was an important part of the Columbia’s marine routes, until 1957 when she was decommissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard. Lighthouse keeper Oswald Allik, the last civilian keeper, wrote in the logbook, “Farewell, Tillamook Rock Light Station.  An era has ended.  With this final entry, and not without sentiment, I return thee to the elements.  You, one of the most notorious and yet most fascinating of the sea-swept sentinels in the world; long the friend of the tempest-tossed mariner.  Through howling gale, thick fog and driving rain your beacon has been a star of hope and your foghorn a voice of encouragement.  May the elements of nature be kind to you.  For 77 years you have beamed your light across desolate acres of ocean.  Keepers have come and gone; men lived and died; but you were faithful to the end.  May your sunset years be good years.  Your purpose is now only a symbol, but the lives you have saved and the service you have rendered are worthy of the highest respect.  A protector of life and property all, may old-timers, newcomers and travelers along the way pause from the shore in memory of your humanitarian role. Oswald Allik – September 1, 1957

A sky view of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.  Image was taken after she was decommissioned.

A sky view of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. Image was taken after she was decommissioned.

Some say that life after being decommissioned was even more interesting and unique than the life spent protecting ships from shore. From rumors of mob connected owners, to grand ideas of a quiet vacation rental, to life as a place for the dead to rest in peace. But you’ll have to visit the museum to learn more!  The Museum is open Wednesday through Monday, closed Tuesday.  Open from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.  Admission is by donation, so come see us whether you have the cash or not.

In just a few weeks High Fiber Diet’s exhibit “Blue” closes. For those who haven’t had an opportunity to see the colorful and imaginative pieces, now is your last chance. This is the second show from the Portland, Oregon based textile group to be featured at the Museum.

Blue Ewe by Pamela Pilcher, High Fiber Diet.

Blue Ewe by Pamela Pilcher, High Fiber Diet.

The group of over thirty quilters includes artists from southwestern Washington and as far south as Eugene. “Blue” features work from nine different artists from all over the Pacific Northwest. The exhibit is an exploration of the color and concept of blue. Blue is more than just a color on the spectrum between violet and green, it is the color of the clear sky, the sea, of clothing, cars, flowers, but more than that, it is a concept. What is blue to you?

"Forget Me Not" by Gerrie Thompson, High Fiber Diet.

“Forget Me Not” by Gerrie Thompson, High Fiber Diet.

As the group explains, “Conceptually, the word blue can inspire thoughts of a blue moon, the infinity of a blue sky, the darkest depths of the blues, and the foot-tapping beat of the blues music that engages our souls and soothes our hearts.” Don’t miss this innovative and fun show! This exhibit was sponsored by Center Diamond of Cannon Beach. Center Diamond has been selling fabric for over 20 years in Cannon Beach with a focus on contemporary batiks, brights, Asian, landscape/beach and modern fabrics. Look for their custom made Haystack Rock batik and Tufted Puffin fabric — available only at Center Diamond — along with a large selection of sewing supplies and notions.

The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, closed on Tuesday.

"Wetland Blues" by Emily Stevens (cropped), High Fiber Diet.

“Wetland Blues” by Emily Stevens (cropped), High Fiber Diet.

409 supplies to Tilly-OHS T

A supply boat approaches the Tillamook Rock LIghthouse during a calm day in 1937.

This image was from an issue of Life Magazine published in 1942 about the role of the Oregon Coast during WWII

This image was from an issue of Life Magazine published in 1942 about the role of the Oregon Coast during WWII

On a secluded rock, just over a mile off Oregon’s rocky shores lies the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.  Terrible Tilly, as it became known as, is one of the most fascinating and secluded lighthouses of America.  In operation from 1881 until it was decommissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1957.

The lonely basalt rock on which it stands is considering one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th Century.  It took less than 600 long and arduous days to construct.  The name Tilly was born of a series of mishaps from the death of one of the original contractors to the loss of a British Bark call the Lupatia. In early January of 1881, just a few days before the lighthouse was lit for the first time, most of the crew of the Lupatia perished. The ship’s dog was the only survivor.

During its life as a fully functioning lighthouse Tilly acted as a warning beacon to thousands of vessel skirting the coastline.  The Columbia River became a busy part of marine commerce in the mid-to-late 1800’s.  The waters surrounding the mouth of the Columbia River were and are still considered the most dangerous in the world.  Ships lost to the sea were so common that the waters became known as the Graveyard of the Pacific.  It was home to a crew of up to five men at a time.  Women were never stationed there due to the difficulty and danger involved in getting on and off the rock.

Some argue that the life after being decommissioned was the most interesting part of Tilly.  Rumors of owners with mob ties, claims of ghosts and ganders, owners who intended to turn it into a secluded vacation rental and finally time spent as a columbarium.

Find out more about how the lighthouse was constructed, what it was like to be stationed there, and finally what happened after it was decommissioned. A portion of the original Fresnel lens will be on display which is one of the few artifacts left of the decaying lighthouse.

This exhibit will be on display through December 2014.

Coast Guardsmen Alban Chinn in the breeches buoy.  He is heading back from leave.

Coast Guardsmen Alban Chinn in the breeches buoy. He is heading back from leave.

Simple Red: A Textile Exhibit

"Last Leaves" by Kimberly Connelly of High Fiber Diet.

“Last Leaves” by Kimberly Connelly of High Fiber Diet.

"Fractured, Textured Red" by Georgia French of High Fiber Diet.

“Fractured, Textured Red” by Georgia French of High Fiber Diet.

The leaves are changing, the sun is setting earlier and the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is turning red. Red with quilts! The Museum’s fall exhibit will feature the show “Simply Red” by Portland, Oregon fiber group High Fiber Diet.

High Fiber Diet is a group of fiber artists committed to advancing their art professionally. They challenge each other to become more educated about art and design principles and to expand their repertoire by focusing on creativity. Their show, Simply Red, has been booked for all of 2014 and into 2015, which is why it will be on display in Cannon Beach for such a limited time.

Each piece speaks to the diverse and deep artistic background of each artist. The work couldn’t be more different from each other! From traditional looking quilts to the more complex and intricate abstract designs.   While each piece is unique, together they form a cohesive show that screams – RED!

Simply Red will open on Saturday, October 11 at 6:00 p.m. at the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum with wine and hors d’oeuvres. Artists will be available to discuss their work and provide insight into the detailed work that textile work takes.

Special note, the Simple Red exhibit’s run has been extended due to its popularity.  It will be on display through Sunday, January 4, 2015.

"Red Barn" by Mary Arnold of High Fiber Diet.

“Red Barn” by Mary Arnold of High Fiber Diet.

One of the cannons discovered in 2008, now being restored at Texas A&M University.

Cannon Beach and it’s cannons offer an amazing look into the past, not only of this town, but the nation. It is a past at the very heart of Westward expansion, international trade, the birth of Oregon as a state, and the definition of the USA and Canadian border. It is also a testament to the still uncontrolled power of the seas and mother nature.

As far as most people are concerned, experts included, the cannon that was found back in 1898 (The one that gave Cannon Beach it’s name), and the two cannons that were found in 2008, are all from the same ship, the USS Shark.

The schooner Shark had one of the most amazing naval careers ever recorded, especially in the pre-WWII world era. During her time at sea she fought pirates and the slave trade in Africa in the West Indies, spent five years in the Mediterranean Sea, protected North American fisheries in Newfoundland, and navigated the Straights of Magellan en route to Peru where Shark helped to quell problems in that nation with its presence.

Few know that John Audobon, namesake of the Audobon Society, sailed for several weeks on the Shark, from St. Augustine, Florida to New Orleans, observing wildlife, and even killing alligators on which to perform experiments.

Before coming to the Oregon Territory in 1846, Shark and her crew spent time in Honolulu, Hawaii for repairs. They were sent to the Columbia River to ascertain the loyalties of the locals because of an ongoing border dispute between England and the United States over the dividing line between British Columbia and the Oregon Territory.

President James Polk had been elected on promises of expansion and “Manifest Destiny”. America wanted to set it’s border at the southern boundary of Russian Alaska, their rallying cry “54-40 or Fight!”.

Unfortunately for the Shark, news traveled slow in those days, and by the time they reached Fort George (modern day Astoria), a treaty had already been signed between England and the U.S. putting the border at the 49th parallel – the same border we have today with Canada. A compromise for both sides .

The Shark and it’s crew sailed up the Columbia River spending time with Governor Abernethy in Oregon City, and at Fort Vancouver. They enjoyed the company of the Royal Navy and Hudson’s Bay Companies employees far more than that of the locals, considering their pioneer spirit and the iconoclastic way they lived somewhat barbaric.

With their perceived mission accomplished, they set sail toward the ocean in September of 1846. With no bar pilot, no reliable map, and after an exhaustive day of elk hunting, for which the ship’s captain Lt. Howison returned without a trophy, Shark set sail into the Columbia River Bar in high winds and seas, and as one might expect from this series of events, landed themselves on Clatsop Spit. The ship was soon taken by the sea, though the crew was saved.

Within weeks Lt. Howison received word that part of the ship had come ashore along the coast south of the river. Parts of the deck and three carronades were found, but could not be retrieved. It is believed those three cannons are the three that Cannon Beach has so proudly discovered.

The cannon that was discovered on the shores of Arch Cape back in 1898 still resides in Cannon Beach, at the Cannon Beach History Center along with the capstan from the Shark.  The two cannons that were discovered by beach visitors in 2008 were sent to Texas A&M University where they are being restored to their original glory. One cannon has finished its restoration, and one is in the process. A process which includes months of soaking in electronically charged baths, and numerous coatings of tannic acid and microcrystalline wax.

The future homes of these cannons are yet undecided, but their story and the process of their restoration will soon be on display in a new exhibit at the Cannon Beach History Center. The museum is also planning to have the Cannon Beach cannon and capstan restored in the near future. Look for the exhibit’s opening celebration in the coming weeks.

By Amy Stocky

Originally published in the Cannon Beach Gazette

Earth, As We Know It

Wild fires in California, as seen in the exhibit "Earth From Space" from the Smithsonian exhibit.

As a newbie to Cannon Beach, and to Oregon for that matter, I have a lot to learn about the history of the area, and honestly, there is no better place for the crash course than at our Cannon Beach History Museum.

What I am excited to share with you though is about the Earth, and our exhibit ‘Earth from Space’ which is at the museum until August 28th.

For centuries man has had an obsession to see himself, and the world in which we inhabit from above or from an outside perspective. This is what led to our nation’s race to outer space and the moon, likely what caused the invention of the airplane, and even the invention of the photograph. Can you imagine a world without photographs?

All of this inventiveness has led us to where we are now, with space stations, a myriad of photographic technologies – Infrared, remote sensing, modern digital imaging, and numerous satellites circling our planet – some satellites travel all the way around our planet in less than 90 minutes – and of course  all of that technology led to the culmination of this fascinating and informative exhibit.

I must confess, I am a map freak, I love to look at maps, and so for me one of my favorite technological advances, if it can be called that, is Google Earth. I have spent countless hours ponderously searching various places of interest on my computer, so when I hired on just as ‘Earth From Space’ was being unpacked at the museum, I was definitely curious, and the exhibit has certainly been informative.

During the weeks that the Cannon Beach History Center has offered the Smithsonian exhibit, I have learned plenty about the planet we all call home.

One volunteer pointed out the deforestation comparison of the Brazilian rain forest from 1976 to 2001, the difference is amazing and horrific, and the reality brought to me by the images of the panels and the impassioned speech of our volunteer, Chuck Murdy. It really made me think about the impact of man – even more than the images of urban lands like Washington DC, Manhattan, and Hamburg, Germany.

Recently, I overheard museum employee Jan McCallister telling visitors how back in the 19th century cameras were tied to kites and homing pigeons in an effort to see the cities from above, especially after the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. This reminds me that no matter how many gadgets and technological advances we make as a civilization, there is so little we still really know about the universe, our planet and even ourselves. Most likely, we cannot even imagine what this century will bring, and how the lives of humans will change over the next 89 years, and what further alterations we will bestow upon the planet that we all call home, hopefully they will be positive ones.

By Amy Stocky

Previously published in the Cannon Beach Gazette

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