All posts by NLCHM

Detours: Road Trips Through the Pacific Northwest, 1960 – 1970

A still from the Jones Family Films, c. 1965.

With the advent of 8mm celluloid film in the 1950s, for the first time in history people were able to capture their lives in motion. Nowadays we’re used to making a video whenever we please, in 1960 this was groundbreaking. These one-of-a-kind physical films are some of the first moving images of the Oregon Coast! You will see Oregon Coast landmarks, tourist destinations, dirt highways, families playing on the beach, and many other sights – some still familiar today, and some that are clearly historical.

These are just a few of the films donated to the museum over the years, many by unknown donors. They were digitized thanks to a grant from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund in 2023.

The exhibit consists of a 21 minute silent film loop. It will be on display in our Anne Hall Gallery upstairs through December 2024.

Watson Glass Float Fundraiser for NLCHM

In May 2023 the James L. Watson Glass Fishing Float Foundation donated the remaining pieces from Jim’s personal collection to North Lincoln County Historical Museum (NLCHM). Jim had a long-standing relationship with NLCHM, and always hoped his collection would one day be in a museum. We are proud to be able to display his most amazing and valuable pieces available for people of all ages to appreciate and learn from for years to come.

At the time of donation, it was agreed with the Foundation that a portion of the glass floats would be made available for sale, as a fundraiser for the museum, assuring that Jim’s collection would have a permanent home. After careful review, selection, and appraisal, we are making a portion of these floats available for purchase. All proceeds will go toward continuing Jim’s legacy within our walls by supporting our operational expenses, and continuing NLCHM’s mission of providing the public with an educational resource dedicated to the preservation of North Lincoln County History.

We will have a wide variety of floats for sale, ranging in price from $20 to over $5,000. This is the first of many opportunities, only a small portion of the floats will be made available at this event. We have taken feedback from members and have carefully considered how to make the event as equitable as possible.

Before the sale begins, the viewing room will be open to the public. From 11AM – 1PM May 31st folks will be allowed into the room for Meet & Greet with other collectors, and to view the floats. After the viewing those interested in purchasing will draw a lottery ticket – visitors will be let into the room to purchase in small groups. Each person will be allowed to purchase 1 item.

June 1st will also have a lottery, from 11AM – 2PM, with the same 1 item limit. After 2PM all remaining floats will be available for purchase, without limit.


May 31st

11AM – 1PM: Meet & Greet and Viewing of Floats

1PM – 1:30PM: Lunch Break & Lottery Draw

1:30PM – 4PM: Ticket Entry & Purchase Limit: 1 Float per Person

June 1st

11AM – 2 PM: Ticket Entry & Purchase Limit: 1 Float per Person

2PM – 4PM: Limit is lifted, and any remaining floats will be available to all!

James L. Watson Glass Fishing Float Collection

Photo courtesy of Chris Hager, Board of Directors, February 17, 2024.

Jim Watson (1944-2002) was one of the world’s leading collectors of Japanese glass fishing floats. He found his first float walking on the beach near his home in Hawaii, a marvelous lavender float the size of a basketball. Jim’s life was changed, and he found his calling: to seek out the rarest glass fishing floats he could find, and share their beauty and history with the world. He dreamed of one day having his vast collection displayed in a museum.

These glass treasures have been a part of North Lincoln County history for nearly as long as white people have lived in the area. Beachcombing for floats was a huge draw for tourists throughout the 20th century. The way that the Pacific ocean currents carry objects meant the oldest and rarest floats made their way to Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, while more common floats ended up in Alaska and Canada. Jim moved to Neskowin, and began working with NLCHM in the 90s. He gave many presentations on the history of glass float production, use, and collecting. Here is a presentation he gave at NLCHM in May 2000:

After Jim’s passing in 2002, his family established the James L. Watson Fishing Float Foundation to hold his collection. NLCHM is proud to become a permanent home for the most significant pieces from Jim’s collection, to share these one-of-a-kind glass fishing floats, and to continue Jim’s educational work!

This exhibit was made possible by a generous donation from the James L. Watson Fishing Float Foundation, and the support of Mrs. Diana Watson and Georgia Watson. This exhibit was curated in partnership with Dr. Nicklis Simpson, DMD. This exhibit is open from February 2024 – February 2025, in the main exhibit hall on the ground floor.