New theater at maritime museum opens

Ken and Denise Doerfler cut the rope to officially open the Doerfler Family Theater at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center on the Newport Bayfront. (Courtesy photo)

It’s official, the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center’s Doerfler Family Theater (DFT) is open for business.

Pomp and circumstance were kept to a manageable level as Ken and Denise Doerfler cut the ribbon officially opening the theater on June 4. The Doerfler family made a sizable contribution to the maritime museum for this project. Additional funding came from the Murdock Charitable Trust and the Collins Foundation, as well as countless locals who donated anywhere from $5 to thousands to the project.

The much-anticipated opening event on June 4 was attended by more than 80 people who contributed to the project either financially or who gave their time, energy or expertise. Cellist Adrienne Welsh provided a soothing soundtrack for this social event.

The initial brainstorming and research for the museum’s theater project, a complete rebuild of the old Smuggler's Cove bar overlooking Port Dock Five, began in earnest some six years ago. Museum visitors can select on demand from eight “Ebb and Flow” videos and view them on an 18-foot screen. More short films will be added to the menu when the Ebb and Flow project progresses. The society is seeking donations to have more videos produced.

The museum’s 125-seat theater is equipped with a state of the art 4K laser projector. The system is also capable of screen mirroring and a myriad of other high-tech features. The DFT can also be rented for after-hours events, such as weddings, lectures, musical performances and film showings. The DFT is a one-of-a-kind facility: theaters are typically a large box with no windows, but this theater features a panoramic view Yaquina Bay.

The Lincoln County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that preserves and shares Lincoln County’s history. Visit the Burrows House Museum, 545 SW Ninth St., in Newport, and the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center, 333 SE Bay Blvd., in Newport. Both museums are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Learn more online at


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