Coastal Curiosities: An exhibit of the Strange, Unfamiliar, and Seldom Seen

Mr and Mrs Rare Button

Mr. and Mrs. Rare Button, a postcard reproduction from Wecoma, Oregon,
which is now part of Lincoln City.

The head of an angry wolf eel, shipwrecks, wax that generates music, a shell in a bottle, mysterious copper hardware and a multitude of other strange, unfamiliar, and seldom seen objects are now on exhibit at the Lincoln County Historical Society’s Burrows House Museum. Stylistically, this exhibit is in the traditional style of the curiosity cabinet of old.

As early as the 15th Century, curiosity cabinets, displays of rare objects and oddities, became fashionable. Some curiosity cabinet collections grew to become museums, perhaps the most famous being the British Museum, which began with Sir Hans Sloan’s Wonder Room” collections.

Lincoln County Historical Society Curator, Sachiko Otsuki, selected artifacts from the collections that seemed curious for different reasons:

  • Objects once commonplace that are now, unless you are of a certain age, unidentifiable curiosities.
  • Natural oddities, many of which of were found on our local beaches.
  • Weird – what else can we say?

These odd objects are more than just curiosities, they also shed some light on the history of the Central Oregon Coast, the evolution of technology, as well as human nature of our fascination for the out-of-the ordinary.

This slightly offbeat, fun for the whole family exhibit will open on Friday, June 6th at the Burrows House Museum and remain through the end of the year. Located at 545 SW Ninth Street in Newport, admission to the Burrows House is by donation. For more information, call 541-265-7509.

If this isn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity, a companion exhibit can be seen at the North Lincoln County Historical Museum.