About Siuslaw Pioneer Museum

Our mission at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum is to preserve and present the rich history of life in the Siuslaw Region for the enrichment of our local residents and visitors from around the world. We are an educational and repository facility that demonstrates the history, the vision, vitality, values, and culture of the peoples of the Siuslaw Valley and coastal region.

Your Siuslaw Pioneer Museum preserves and shares the exciting history of our region with children at our area schools, local families, tourists, writers, visiting academics, and researchers so they can appreciate the history, values, stories, and culture of the people who have made this area home.

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, 278 Maple St., Florence, Oregon – Get Directions

The mission is fulfilled through the operation of a museum, research library, bookstore/giftshop and various onsite and community activities.

We do this as the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum Association, Inc. an Oregon non-profit 501c3 corporation responsible for funding and operating the museum. All contributions to the museum go directly to cover operational expenses of the Museum such as utilities, insurance, and office expenses.

We operate on the kindness and generosity of contributions by grateful visitors and various membership dues.

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, 278 Maple St., Florence, Oregon – Get Directions

Siuslaw Bridge, Florence Oregon

​The History of Our Pioneer Museum

The Siuslaw Pioneer Museum Association started as an idea in 1974, found its first home in a former Lutheran church about a mile south of the Siuslaw River bridge, and since 2006 has welcomed guests to its current showcase in the former Siuslaw High School building, built in 1905 at 278 Maple Street in Historic Old Town Florence.

Affiliations

Travel Lane County
Florence Area Chamber of Commerce
Lane County History Museum
Oregon Historical Society
Museum of Natural and Cultural History

Meet Our All-Volunteer Board of Directors

Pamela Mann

Pamela Mann
President, Through 2024

My journey to Florence began when I was 2 years old, when my father, Douglas Saunders took a job as a Medical & Xray Technologist at the old Florence Hospital off 12th Street. I have been a lifelong resident of Florence and married my high school sweetheart, Ronald Mann, whose extended family includes multiple generations within the Siuslaw Valley. I have two siblings; Greg Saunders and Janese Larsen, and four children: Melanie Mann, Nichole Lewis. Shawn Mann and David Mann. I am a 1970 graduate of Siuslaw High School and have a Batchelor of Science Degree from George Fox University. My life with Ron included a year in the walled in City of Berlin, Germany, and 6 years in Anchorage, Alaska. He has taken me to Africa; and I followed my lovely Marine Corps daughter throughout the country, among which included visits to Okinawa, Japan. Ron is a residential contractor in this community; and I have a residential appraisal company. My travels have given me a unique perspective regarding this special community we have chosen to live in and raise our children. It is home.

Craig Sanders Vice President

Craig Sanders
Vice President, through 2024

My wife Jeanni and I moved to Florence in 1994 after looking up and down the coast for the “perfect town.” After 26 years we are still here. This must be that “perfect town” we were looking for. I was a licensed building contractor from 1973 until 2008 when I started working for Hoagland Properties Inc., owners of the award-winning Old Town Inn and River House Inn in Florence, and retired as company president in March of 2019. I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Florence since 2009 and served as club president in 2017 – 2018. My current hobbies are golf and woodworking. My wife and I also enjoy traveling in our RV with our cat Opie.

I became a Siuslaw Pioneer Museum board member in March, 2020, and have served on the building committee and website committee. I am currently VP of the museum board and look forward to seeing a new website early this year.

Craig Sanders
Vice President, through 2024

My wife Jeanni and I moved to Florence in 1994 after looking up and down the coast for the “perfect town.” After 26 years we are still here. This must be that “perfect town” we were looking for. I was a licensed building contractor from 1973 until 2008 when I started working for Hoagland Properties Inc., owners of the award-winning Old Town Inn and River House Inn in Florence, and retired as company president in March of 2019. I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Florence since 2009 and served as club president in 2017 – 2018. My current hobbies are golf and woodworking. My wife and I also enjoy traveling in our RV with our cat Opie.

I became a Siuslaw Pioneer Museum board member in March, 2020, and have served on the building committee and website committee. I am currently VP of the museum board and look forward to seeing a new website early this year.

Craig Sanders Vice President
Tess Yahyazadeh

Amy Graham
Secretary, through 2024

My husband and I moved to Florence in 2006 after coming here for a visit. We fell in love with the town.

I currently work for Hoagland Properties as the COO and vice president of the board. My current hobbies are photography and crafting. My family is number one in my life. My husband and I have five children, two sons- in-law, one daughter-in-law, and among them two “significant others” and two beautiful granddaughters.

I became a Siuslaw Pioneer Museum board member in 2022. In the past I have served on the Florence Chamber of Commerce board. As a board member of the museum, I look forward to seeing more committee members getting involved in preserving the history of our beautiful town.

jesse beers

Dorothy Hosking
Treasurer, through 2024

I was born and raised in Coos Bay, Oregon. My great grandfather, John Lamont, arrived in Coos county in 1871 and homesteaded in the Coaledo and Bandon areas. My third great uncle, Michael Troutman Simmons, was one of the founders of the state of Washington. My other great grandfather, William H. Hosking, was from St Just in Penwith, Cornwall, UK. He settled in Washington. How his son came to settle in Coos county is another fun story. This history has greatly influenced my search for information on the pioneers of Oregon.

I worked with the Genealogical Society of Douglas County for about 10 years as President and researcher. After moving to Florence in 2021 I became involved with Rotary and Soroptimist in addition to my work with two Cornish organizations. I am also a proud member of SNOB (Society of Native Oregon Born!).

My passion is researching family histories and crocheting blankets for my 36 grand, great, and great great grandchildren.
I became a Board member in March 2023 and look forward to helping to maintain and strengthen the Museum.

Dorothy Hosking
Treasurer, through 2024

I was born and raised in Coos Bay, Oregon. My great grandfather, John Lamont, arrived in Coos county in 1871 and homesteaded in the Coaledo and Bandon areas. My third great uncle, Michael Troutman Simmons, was one of the founders of the state of Washington. My other great grandfather, William H. Hosking, was from St Just in Penwith, Cornwall, UK. He settled in Washington. How his son came to settle in Coos county is another fun story. This history has greatly influenced my search for information on the pioneers of Oregon.

I worked with the Genealogical Society of Douglas County for about 10 years as President and researcher. After moving to Florence in 2021 I became involved with Rotary and Soroptimist in addition to my work with two Cornish organizations. I am also a proud member of SNOB (Society of Native Oregon Born!).

My passion is researching family histories and crocheting blankets for my 36 grand, great, and great great grandchildren.
I became a Board member in March 2023 and look forward to helping to maintain and strengthen the Museum.

jesse beers
John Barnes

John Barnes
Trustee, through 2024

I was born and raised in Florence, graduating from Siuslaw High School in 1969. I joined the Air Force in 1970, studied forestry at Oregon State University and started my professional career with Idaho State Parks in 1980. Eventually I moved back to Oregon and served as the Cultural Resource Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Forestry researching and documenting pioneer homesteads, old logging camps, and Native American sites. Following retirement in 2014, I moved back to Florence and volunteered as one of the museum’s docents.

Pat Rongey
Trustee, through 2024

Having always had a passion for history, I’ve been a volunteer at the Museum for 15 years in the Kyle Research Library. I became a Board member in 2023. I am an active member of the Siuslaw Genealogical Society and help others with researching their family history research with an emphasis on DNA technology. My medical career included X-ray, lab and office nursing. I have been fortunate to have had the experience of living in various parts of the United States and West Africa, but am happy to now call Florence my home for the past 15 years..

Craig Sanders Vice President

Annie Schmidt
Trustee, through 2024

I was born and raised in Kentucky. Think the “Hillbilly Elegy” book and movie setting, but moonshine was the worst my parent’s generation had to deal with. My stepfather’s military deployment led to his assignment in Germany after I graduated high school in 1957. I attended the Munich Branch of the University of Maryland for two years.

I met Gary Schmidt at a summer language institute in Salzburg in 1958 and that changed the trajectory of my life. He proposed after one week and returned the next summer to marry me and take me back to Seattle. We both graduated from the University of Washington, attended graduate school at the U of O, and returned to Germany to attend the University of Munich where we stayed and taught for the next 27 years. We returned to Florence at the beginning of 1994 to retire to the house we’d built at the end of the ‘70s on Lake Woahink.

Since then, I’ve done fundraising for the Florence Events Center; was executive director of the Western Lane Community Foundation (WLCF); volunteered in the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum library, and was a founding member of the Last Resort Players which changed my life! That led to further participation in the Museum as a Heritage Player, Mrs. O. W. Hurd, née Lily Cox, which I continue to do. I was also able to help arrange financing for the purchase of the current building while I was executive director of the WLCF. I have had a strong connection with the Museum for the entire 26 years that I’ve lived here.

Annie Schmidt
Annie Schmidt

Annie Schmidt
Trustee, through 2024

I was born and raised in Kentucky. Think the “Hillbilly Elegy” book and movie setting, but moonshine was the worst my parent’s generation had to deal with. My stepfather’s military deployment led to his assignment in Germany after I graduated high school in 1957. I attended the Munich Branch of the University of Maryland for two years.

I met Gary Schmidt at a summer language institute in Salzburg in 1958 and that changed the trajectory of my life. He proposed after one week and returned the next summer to marry me and take me back to Seattle. We both graduated from the University of Washington, attended graduate school at the U of O, and returned to Germany to attend the University of Munich where we stayed and taught for the next 27 years. We returned to Florence at the beginning of 1994 to retire to the house we’d built at the end of the ‘70s on Lake Woahink.

Since then, I’ve done fundraising for the Florence Events Center; was executive director of the Western Lane Community Foundation (WLCF); volunteered in the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum library, and was a founding member of the Last Resort Players which changed my life! That led to further participation in the Museum as a Heritage Player, Mrs. O. W. Hurd, née Lily Cox, which I continue to do. I was also able to help arrange financing for the purchase of the current building while I was executive director of the WLCF. I have had a strong connection with the Museum for the entire 26 years that I’ve lived here.

Steve Skidmore

Steve Skidmore
Trustee, through 2024

As have many Oregonians, I, too, have taken the circuitous route to our lovely corner of the Pacific Northwest. Born in Port Neches, Texas, I moved at a young age to Ponca City, Oklahoma, and graduated from high school there. I went to college at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, graduating with a degree in history in 1970, and then to graduate school at the University of Oklahoma in Norman where I earned a master’s degree in library science in 1974.

After working professionally in libraries in Oklahoma and Illinois, I became the library director of the Siuslaw Public Library in Florence and Mapleton. I believe that Florence is the ideal place to live and feel blessed to have found this wonderful community. Since 2013, I have been involved in a number of volunteer activities, including the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum having served as president, vice president, and secretary/treasurer of the museum board of directors.

Jesse Beers
Trustee, through 2024

I was born and raised in Western Oregon, lived up Indian Creek for the first few years of my life and then we moved to the “big city” of Mapleton where I lived my elementary years before moving back up Indian Creek when I was in Middle School.

I graduated from Mapleton High and moved on to another “big city,” Monmouth, OR, for college at Western Oregon University. After I graduated with a degree in sociology/psychology and a minor in health, I came back to work for my tribe. I am an enrolled citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians. On my mother’s side sha’yuushtl’a uhl quuiich’axan hiich (I am a Siuslaw and Lower Umpqua person) whose ancestors have been on these lands and waters since time immemorial.

Before Euro-American contact, our tribes managed all this area, then were confined under the Coast Reservation, to live on the North Fork of the Siuslaw River. After the southern portion of the reservation closed in 1876, my family ran the stagecoach up and down the beaches transporting people and goods before the railway mostly put them out of business.

They worked to get lands back through termination era and through our restoration, and I am thankful for all their hard work and lessons imparted. I try to use all those lessons as I serve my tribe today in the role of cultural stewardship manager, working where our culture and natural resources mix; which, as we believe, is one in the same.

On my off time I help manage our family’s ranch up Indian Creek. On my father’s side, after fighting and winning, for the North during the Civil War, they settled a ways up Indian Creek in the 1880’s—somewhere far away from most populations and the violence they had witnessed.

My grandfather was able to purchase and consolidate much of our family’s property into a trust. I am thankful to them for the opportunity to grow up managing land and learning a strong work ethic. I have deep roots in this region and look forward to being a voice on this board for all of those roots, some of which are housed in this museum.

My partner Maree and my two children purchased and live on the old Phelps Mill site that you may have some familiarity with from our museum’s board president Del Phelps’ bio.

jesse beers
jesse beers

Jesse Beers
Trustee, through 2024

I was born and raised in Western Oregon, lived up Indian Creek for the first few years of my life and then we moved to the “big city” of Mapleton where I lived my elementary years before moving back up Indian Creek when I was in Middle School.

I graduated from Mapleton High and moved on to another “big city,” Monmouth, OR, for college at Western Oregon University. After I graduated with a degree in sociology/psychology and a minor in health, I came back to work for my tribe. I am an enrolled citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians. On my mother’s side sha’yuushtl’a uhl quuiich’axan hiich (I am a Siuslaw and Lower Umpqua person) whose ancestors have been on these lands and waters since time immemorial.

Before Euro-American contact, our tribes managed all this area, then were confined under the Coast Reservation, to live on the North Fork of the Siuslaw River. After the southern portion of the reservation closed in 1876, my family ran the stagecoach up and down the beaches transporting people and goods before the railway mostly put them out of business.

They worked to get lands back through termination era and through our restoration, and I am thankful for all their hard work and lessons imparted. I try to use all those lessons as I serve my tribe today in the role of cultural stewardship manager, working where our culture and natural resources mix; which, as we believe, is one in the same.

On my off time I help manage our family’s ranch up Indian Creek. On my father’s side, after fighting and winning, for the North during the Civil War, they settled a ways up Indian Creek in the 1880’s—somewhere far away from most populations and the violence they had witnessed.

My grandfather was able to purchase and consolidate much of our family’s property into a trust. I am thankful to them for the opportunity to grow up managing land and learning a strong work ethic. I have deep roots in this region and look forward to being a voice on this board for all of those roots, some of which are housed in this museum.

My partner Maree and my two children purchased and live on the old Phelps Mill site that you may have some familiarity with from our museum’s board president Del Phelps’ bio.