WALDPORT — Museums won’t be open until Lincoln County enters the next phase of COVID restrictions, Colleen Nickerson of the Waldport Heritage Museum explained. And when that happens, the museum will be in a bigger, brighter and much more visible space.
Set to become part of the city of Waldport, the museum will be moving into the building previously occupied by the Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center on Highway 101, just south of the bridge. While the formal agreement has not yet been signed, City Manager Dann Cutter indicated he didn’t anticipate any problems.
“I think that it’s all a go. I don’t expect any hiccups,” Cutter said.
Currently located at 320 N.E. Grant St., the museum has been closed, but Nickerson, the museum curator and Alsea Historical and Genealogical Society president, is ready to make the move as soon as she gets the green light. Nickerson has long been lobbying the city to relocate to a more visible space.
Now, with the agreement imminent, Nickerson said, “Once I get in there, I’ll be putting things away, doing our nonprofit paperwork, getting things ready for whenever an open house can be declared … maybe in March. It just depends on what happens.”
Nickerson indicated that the bridge exhibits will remain, but with the addition of the museum materials, more of the rich history of Waldport will be seen and appreciated.
“We started in the ’80s,” she said. “We were a genealogy and a museum bunch. We went together and became Alsea Historical and Genealogical Society.” There has never been a fee to visit the museum.
The society does research, Nickerson explained. People email, call or stop in and want to find out about their family histories. “I have cabinets of obits,” she said, as well as family histories and photographs. The museum will make copies for a nominal cost.
“They want to fix some things,” Nickerson said of the museum’s new location. Once that’s done, the museum will be moving to the new space overlooking the Alsea Bay and the Alsea Bay Bridge.
Nickerson’s own family history is entwined with that of Waldport’s.
“I know everybody,” she said. “We grew up with everybody. My mom was born here on the river, and I’m still living on one grandpa’s property.”
Of the move, Waldport Acting Mayor Sue Woodruff said, “It’s a natural move given that the interpretive center already tells a limited historical story about transportation along the Oregon coast and the bridges that give so many the ability to enjoy these beautiful places.”
Woodruff added, “Colleen will now be well placed to add incredible depth to that story.”