When previous owner Jack Erickson announced he would be no longer operating the Tillamook Air Museum and then moving his collection to Madras, Oregon, there were questions about what would happen with the collection owned by the port, as well as use of the blimp hangar.
The Port of Tillamook Bay decided to continue the idea of an air museum and transitioned to operate the Tillamook Air Museum. Two employees who worked under old management remained on staff, one in maintenance, one on the administrative side as museum curator. Phyllis Rice joined the crew as Museum Director.
Changes and updates
Nearly 3 years have gone by and the crew have worked hard to make improvements and upgrades to the museum. The environment has proven to be rough on the exhibits and their signage. The maintenance crew and Museum Curator, Christian Gurling, have been working to rebuild exhibits, as well as upgrading their information signs. They have even received help from volunteers.
The new signage is being designed by Gurling, but this time printing is being outsourced to accommodate being printed on signage material that is often used for outdoor signs. This has allowed for a more professional look, as well as better resistance to the damp environment.
When it came to fixing and adding onto exhibits, Gurling and Rice decided to have a bit of fun.
"Museums are changing, they are more interactive" Rice said. "You need to keep people engaged."
Gurling and Rice want to work on bringing more to the museum, shifting the focus away from strictly Airplanes and being an "Air Museum".
With that in mind, one of the projects they have designed is a new exhibit showing a British Air Raid Shelter from World War II. There were roughly 3 million of these in London, each buried 3 feet into the ground. The shelters were built to be 4.5 feet wide, by 6 feet long by 6 feet tall. All this was set up for a family of 4 to 6 people. In wanting to keep people engaged, the exhibit allows for visitors to actually go inside to experience the tight quarters themselves!
In tune with wanting to keep people engaged, the museum also expanded a hands on area for kids. There are more mock cockpit exhibits that kids can get into. They are creatively laid out on a mock runway, which is also appropriately lit up.
They also want to work at opening up areas within the blimp hangar, which is often an overlooked piece of the museum. Some of this was brought on by questions from guests that sparked ideas with the staff.
When the Port of Tillamook Bay began operating the air museum, the business went from a for profit mentality to a not for profit business. This has changed the view and mission of the museum. For Rice, it was a surprise that when she talked with people in the community, most had not been to the museum. Many didn't even know it was still open. Rice and Gurling are hoping to build the number of exhibits up, as well as work with other groups in the community, to have rotating exhibits to encourage locals to come in.
The museum staff wants to become more a part of the community than it has in the past. They want to emphasize service as part of their mission. In the past year they have hosted Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. This past spring was the Easter Bunny's first visit to the museum, with their presence hugely popular. They had three times more people show up than they had expected.
As we enter December, the museum will be hosting Santa Claus and special guest, The Grinch, Saturday, December 2nd. This year, as in years past, the museum is requesting guests bring non perishable food to donate when they come to visit Santa. Last year the museum collected over 300 pounds of food to donate to the Oregon Food Bank.
Partnerships and Events
Rice and Gurling hope to be able to build partnerships with other museums and groups in the community. In doing so, the hopes are the groups can cross advertise and support each other.
The two have been working with the cruise ships that come into Astoria to have guests come down to check out the museum. The museum gets about 40 bus loads of cruise passengers between March and October. They have also formed relations with tour buses to swing by as well.
The museum is also open for events. On top of hosting tour groups, they have hosted Tillamook High School Dances, kids birthday parties, even events for the Cheese Factory Farmer's group.
Visit the Tillamook Air Museum's webpage at www.tillamookair.com
The Air Museum can be found at:
Address: 6030 Hanger Rd, Tillamook, Oregon 97141
Santa paid a visit to Rockaway this Friday, arriving by a historical steam train courtesy of Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.
Guests were also able to hitch a ride on the steam train ride, arriving to Rockaway after being picked up in Garibaldi. Riders were treated to hot chocolate and cookies.
Upon the train's arrival in Rockaway, the crowd was greeted by music and a festive crowd. The tree in the center of the Rockaway Wayside was lit, with Neah Kah Nie High School's choir singing carols.
While the crowd admired the lit tree, Santa greeted every kid who wanted to visit, each telling him what they wished to receive for Christmas.
Magically, Santa was also able to make an appearance in Manzanita as well.
If you missed Santa, or even the train ride, don't worry! Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad will be running the Candy Cane Express on Weekends from November 25th thru December 17th. Round trip runs depart Garibaldi at 10am, 12 Noon, and 2pm. Round trip runs depart Rockaway at 11am and 1pm.
On a budget? Don't forget the beauty around us here in Tillamook County! You aren't far from something spectacular!
As we enter the final month and a half of 2017, there are a variety of festivities to enjoy.
Events are posted on our Tillamook County Events Calendar
If you know of any events not listed here, please reach out to us!
Monday, 13 November 2017
Jenny Bocko, Writer & Photographer
Shore Acres State Park, near Charleston OR, known for its 5 acre botanical garden and stunning rugged coastal views, may be one of the best year round places to visit on the Oregon Coast.
Nestled between Cape Arago State Park and Sunset Bay State Park, Shore Acres got it's start as the estate of Louis J Simpson (a shipbuilder and lumberman) and his wife, Lela. They developed an exquisite botanical garden and an elaborate mansion. This mansion burnt down in 1921 but was replaced by Simpson with another, bigger, mansion. As the country fell into depression, the property fell into disrepair; in 1942 the property was sold to the State of Oregon to be used as a public park. Between 1942 and 1980, other properties were purchased and made part of the park.
While the mansion had long been raised due to disrepair, the garden remained, but in poor condition. Oregon State Parks, in the mid 1970s, worked to rehabilitate the 5 acre garden with the help of landscape architect Joseph Paiva. Although changes were made to the garden, the design remained relatively close to its original design. The garden was rededicated 18 September 1975.
In 1987, over a decade after the rededication the gardens, Friends of Shore Acres, a local non-profit support group, decided to add some lights and a tree for the holidays. Roughly 9,000 people came out the first year. It is estimated that 40,000 to 50,000 now come out to see the garden decorated for the holidays.
The decorations have come a long way from the humble 6,000 lights and sole Christmas tree. Now visitors can experience over 300,000 lights, numerous decorated trees and lighted statues, and a performance pavilion.
2017 marks the 31st year that Friends of Shore Acres will be decorating the garden. Decoration is done by volunteers who come out to the park over a period of 6 weekends and an additional 5 to 10 days scattered in between. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the lights from 4pm to 930pm from Thanksgiving to December 31st, while normal daylight visiting hours are 8am to dusk.
While the holiday lights in the winter tend to be the attraction at Shore Acres, stormy seas can provide quite a performance. A permanent viewing shelter sits where the Simpson Mansion used to sit, allowing guests a dry place to enjoy the views. Walkways and viewing areas are all along the cliffs, allowing for even better exhilarating views that shouldn't be missed, especially in stormy weather.
Munson Falls is one of those places in Tillamook County that I rarely go to, usually just drive by. But despite it's small, humble size, it is still a wonderful place to visit, especially in the fall.
The park can be found along HWY 101, approximately 7 miles south of Tillamook. Signs along the Highway will notify you where to turn.
The waterfall, at 319 feet, is the tallest in the Coastal Range. It is the centerpiece to the 62 acre state natural site. This is also a great place for a quick picnic.
A short hike leads you along Munson Creek for approximately 1/4 of a mile. The hike is relatively easy, it is not wheel chair accessible. There is a small uphill section about half way down the trail.
Although the waterfall itself is the main attraction, take the time to enjoy the forest around you. Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, and Big Leaf Maple can be found in the park canopy. A thick underbrush is filled with ferns, salal, and more. In the spring and summer, keep your eyes open for trillium and other wild flowers.
During the fall, leaves begin to change and fall, adding earthly colors to the scenery. Fall also brings the return of rains, which bring back a much more impressive falls. According to the Oregon State Park site, this is also a spawning ground for Salmon.
Swing by when you get a chance and enjoy this hidden gem!