The Curious World of Seaweed

What: The Curious World of Seaweed exhibit opens May 25

What Else: June 2 – 4, 2023 Seaweed Weekend at the Maritime

Location: Pacific Maritime Heritage Center, 333 SE Bay Blvd., Newport, OR 97365

Museum Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Sunday 11 – 4

Exhibit Opening Reception: May 25 4-7 PM Free and Open to the Public

“The Curious World of Seaweed”
Provides a Stunning Look at Marine Flora

The Lincoln County Historical Society is pleased to present “The Curious World of Seaweed,” an extraordinary exhibition featuring captivating color “portraits” of seaweed. The temporary exhibition merges history, art & science by featuring surprising stories highlighting Indigenous peoples’ and women’s connections to seaweed and examines its vital role as the base of the food chain. “The Curious World of Seaweed” opens on May 25 and will be on view through October 1 at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center located on the Newport, Oregon Bayfront. The exhibit is sponsored by Englund Marine & Industrial Supply. Additional support is provided by Discover Newport, BW Agate Beach and Local Ocean.

Seaweeds have three requirements for survival: something to hold onto, sunlight to provide energy, and nutrients to fuel growth. They find these three elements in a thin section of the ocean, which accounts for less than two percent of the entire sea floor. Yet seaweeds are the supreme eco-engineers, oxygenating the waters and creating habitats for countess organisms. This exhibition examines how these surprisingly sophisticated marine plants keep our planet opulently rich in life.

“The Curious World of Seaweed” highlights the works and research of San Francisco based photographer and author, Josie Iselin. “The Curious World of Seaweed” publication was released by Heyday Books in August 2019. Copies of the book are available for sale at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. Iselin’s writing and art focusing on seaweed, kelp and sea otters puts her on the forefront of interdisciplinary education about the ocean, while presenting and working with scientists and environmental groups working to preserve the kelp forests of the Pacific Coast.

A free opening reception will take place on May 25 from 4-7 PM at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. Appetizers will be provided by Local Ocean.

Additional related programming includes a June 2-4 Seaweed Weekend where Josie Iselin and others will be at the PMHC to participate in a panel discussion, lecture, meet & greet book signings, two classes, a performative tattoo art demonstration and an Oregon Seaweed Booth. More details are below.

For those wanting to make their own seaweed art, Iselin will be teaching a, Art & Algae: Cyanotype Printing Workshop where she introduces students to cyanotype printing (an alternative photography technique) using her vast collection of dried seaweed specimens as image-making material. This is an excellent way to introduce some basics of seaweed biology and ecology while making art. Iselin makes all the photosensitive paper beforehand on fine art watercolor paper in varying sizes so everyone can go home with four or five prints of their own. The class is at the PMHC on June 3, 11 am – 2:30 PM; all materials are included. Class fee is $90 per person; LCHS members receive a $5 discount. Students should bring a brown bag lunch. Pre-registration and fee are required; the class is limited to 12 participants. Contact the PMHC to register, call 541-265-7509.

For those wanting an opportunity to learn to ID seaweeds and seaweed foraging, a Seaweed Identification Workshop with Alanna Kiefer, Shifting Tides NW, is offered on Sunday June 4, 7-9 am; $40 per person, limited to 25 participants. Alanna will discuss Oregon’s intertidal ecology, knowing the tides and conditions of the ocean as well as a heavy focus on the array of seaweeds along our shores. This day will be one of the lowest tides of the year and a great morning for exposure to seaweeds. Registration for this class is available online through

Exhibition Support

The Curious World of Seaweed is a traveling exhibition from author and artist Josie Iselin in partnership with Exhibit Envoy. The exhibit is based on the book of the same name by Iselin (Heyday Books).

About Exhibit Envoy

Exhibit Envoy provides traveling exhibitions and professional services to museums throughout California. For more information, visit

About Josie Iselin

Josie Iselin is a photographer, author, and designer of many books. Her newest book, The Curious World of Seaweed, presents visually rich narratives of our iconic West Coast seaweeds and kelps. It was released by Heyday Books in August 2019 and has been shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and the Alice Award, recognizing illustrated books. She holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and an MFA from San Francisco State University. She currently teaches in the School of Design at SFSU.

More Detail on the June 2-4 Seaweed Weekend Itinerary at the PMHC

Friday June 2, 2023 

Above/Below: Bridging Kelp Forest Communities (Free and Open to the Public)

4PM Panel Discussion in the Doerfler Family Theater at the PMHC.

Moderator: Karina Nielsen, Director, Oregon Sea Grant


  • Josie Iselin to discuss bringing art & science together to tell stories.
  • Tom Calvanese, OSU Extension to discuss their kelp project/ORKA Oregon Kelp Alliance
  • Peter Hatch, CTSI to discuss the cultural history and contemporary investment in kelp/seaweed.
  • Alanna Kieffer, Shifting Tides and Oregon Seaweed
  • Sara Hamilton, Oregon Kelp Alliance

Saturday June 3, 2023

Art & Algae: Cyanotype Printing Workshop SOLD OUT
(Pre-registration required; limited to 12) (Fee: $90 per person; $85 for LCHS Members)

11 am – 2:30 Hands-on workshop with San Francisco Artist Josie Iselin. Josie will be teaching an Art & Algae workshop where students will learn about cyanotype (blue) printing using her vast collection of dried seaweed specimens as image-making material. This is an excellent way to introduce some basics of seaweed biology and ecology as well as being a basic photography class requiring only photosensitive fine art watercolor paper, sunlight, and water. The workshop is 3.0 hours long resulting in take home art! Pre-registration is required. The workshop is limited to 12 participants. Cost is: $90 per person; $85 for LCHS Members. All materials are included. Participants advised to bring a brown bag lunch. Call the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center to register, 541-265-7509.

Art & Algae: An Artist’s Journey into the Science of Seaweed

(Free; Museum Admission Fee Waived)

4 PM Josie Iselin Lecture in the Doerfler Family Theater at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center followed by a Book Signing, Ocean Garden and The Curious World of Seaweed

Sunday June 4, 2023 

Seaweed Identification Workshop SOLD OUT

(Pre-registration required through; $40 per person)

7 – 9 am; limited to 25 participants

We’re taking advantage of incredibly low tides during this special weekend and offering a chance to explore to rocky shores and learn how to identify and sustainably harvest wild seaweeds. This workshop will go over general oceanography, intertidal ecology, with a focus on identification of wild seaweeds and sustainable harvest methods. The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most biodiverse intertidal systems, and more kelp species than anywhere else on earth. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore with Alanna Kieffer (Shifting Tides and Oregon Seaweed) on one of the lowest tides of the year.

Performative Tattoo Art Demonstration

(Free with Paid Museum Admission Fee)

10 am – 5 PM Noted Tattoo Artist Luka Weinberger, @Lowbarart or, will create a one-of-a-kind Josie Iselin design bull kelp wrap tattoo design for one lucky person’s forearm. This Performative Tattoo Art Demonstration will be happening in real time over a 7-hour period while museum visitors observe. For an $1,800 tattoo fee one lucky person will be the recipient of this one-of-a-kind body art; proceeds to benefit the Above/Below Indigenous Kelp project. Above/Below is initiating a tribal liaison position to help coordinate art & algae workshops with youth groups, artist’s and writer’s commissions and research of tribal uses of bull kelp. Inquiries for tattoo:

Meet & Greet with Josie Iselin & Book Signing Opportunity

(Free with Paid Museum Admission Fee)

11 am – 4PM Meet & Greet at the PMHC with San Francisco author, Josie Iselin & a book signing opportunity for Iselin’s: An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed and Curious World of Seaweed.

Oregon Seaweed Booth with Alanna Kieffer

(Free with Paid Museum Admission Fee)

11 am – 4 PM Alanna Kieffer, Farm & Sales Manager, Oregon Seaweed and Shifting Tides, to informally discuss seaweed farming with a tasting option and recipes.


Available at the PMHC Museum Store

Josie Iselin’s books, notecards and a selection of her USA made designer scarves are available for purchase in the PMHC museum store.

Oregon Seaweed dried seaweed products: Whole-leaf Dried Dulse and Pacific Dulse Flakes.

Billow Cloud Soaps: Seaweed, sea salt and saltwater soap; Intertidal Face Balm Oil.