Coos History Museum & Maritime Center

Coos Bay, OR


Bridge Between the Forest and the Sea

Serving as a development catalyst on the historic wharf at the gateway to Coos Bay on Highway 101, CHMC is founded by Oregon’s oldest continuously operated historical society. Housing more than 250,000 historic photographs and artifacts of agrarian, maritime and culture of the Oregon Coast, the museum bridges the history of the region to the present through the stories of Coos and Coquille Tribes, coal miners, loggers, farmers, and shipbuilders who make up the history of the region. The Coos History Museum and Maritime Center is a welcoming community gathering place and a valued regional resource connecting diverse audiences with each other.

The building expression interprets historic net shed, mill, and cannery structures into a modern form that matches historic district guidelines with visual landmark and cultural catalyst goals. As a gathering place for small to large groups, the site connects the Coos Bay Wharf Trail to historic docks that will once again host the tall ships of the Pacific Northwest.

“Designing a museum means designing for conflicting interests. Curators want a repository, administration wants earned income, and the public wants entertainment and a convening space. Not only that, but the particular Coos Bay environment means designing for regular gales and potential earthquakes. The Coos History Museum made all of those things possible in a compact but still dramatic 15,000 s.f. space.”


Signal in association with Miller Hull.

Size: 15000

Year of Completion: 2015

Views per Day: 20100

Propellers Installed: 1@15' diameter

Piling depth: 117'

Finding common ground through design allowed those voices to come together and make a museum.

Frank Smoot, Director