Burrows Exhibits

AL Thomas

Albert Lewis Thomas, better known as A.L., managed to document more of early 20th century Newport than anyone else. As a skilled photographer, agate jewelry maker and merchant, his studio and store were central to the Nye Beach area in the early 1900s

Along with a collection of his finest framed photographs, both hand colored and black & white, displayed as he would have shown them in this studio, this exhibit highlights his artistic lens and creative capabilities.

When Thomas died in 1940, at the young age of 64, his son Richard took the reigns at the store. In 1947, he sold the store, and its contents, to Ralph W. Emerson. With this sale also went the infamous one-of-a kind agate crown that was central to Newport’s history and is documented in use as a Crab Queen crown and in dedication ceremonies. The Emerson family gratefully loaned this to the museum for use with this exhibit. The crown, lost and now found, completes the story of A.L.’s legacy in our county’s history.

Read the full story
Lost and Found: A Crown of Renown   


Objects Found

Objects Found is a collection of items donated to our museum after being found, in some capacity, by the donor. Items include: 

  • An Indian Hand Adze Bird Carving (on whalebone) found near Port Dock 5 

  • Round, shallow brass plated metal Wok with Chinese dragon and floral design found on the hill above donor’s residence in Yaquina City area 

  • Whalebone Funerary mask found by donor on Tillicum Beach in the 1970s 

  • Spice box found at The Burrows House when sold in the 1920s 

  • And much, much more! 


Fannie Branson and Her Miniature Horses

Fannie Branson was raised on a ranch in Malheur County Oregon and grew up riding horses out on the range. At an early age her horse tumbled on top of her and shattered her hip. The rest of her life she spent as a semi-invalid in almost constant pain, yet she never let this disability slow her down!

Her and her husband, Jay, operated the first Roquefort cheese factory in Scio, OR before moving to Agate Beach in the 1940s. In search for a new hobby, and an interest to keep her hands busy, she was encouraged by her sister to begin carving miniature horses.

Today her exquisite masterpieces are scattered across the globe and the Burrows Museum is lucky to have a few of these treasures. In this exhibit you’ll see the minute, fine detail of each Branson horse and even see elements of her creations along with photos of the artist herself.


Coastal Curiosities: The Strange, Unfamiliar
and Seldom Seen

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

We selected artifacts from our collections that seemed curious for different reasons: Commonplace objects that are now unidentifiable curiosities; Natural oddities 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 and the fascination we all have for the out-of-the ordinary.


Yaquina Bay Bridge: Newport Icon Since 1936


Proclaimed “The Last Link of the Oregon Coast Highway,” the Yaquina Bay Bridge opened on September 6, 1936.

This Burrows House exhibit celebrating Newport’s famous icon features the world’s largest toothpick model of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Built from highway department blueprints in the 1950s, its builders used an estimated 4000 plus toothpicks to construct the 8-foot long likeness. Yes, eight feet, that is not a typo. Also on display are historic photos and other bridge imagery.


Other displays include a traditional Victorian Parlor, The Siletz Room, Kenneth Litchfield’s Law Office, history of the county’s founders, and our Gadget Graveyard: Things Lost to Technology!  

For more information, call the Historical Society at 541-265-7509. The Lincoln County Historical Society is located at 545 SW Ninth Street in Newport. Admission to the museum is by donation. The Burrows House Museum is open Thursday through Sunday 11 am to 4 pm.