September 1, 2016
By Kris Parfitt
Photo at right: John’s Beachcombing Museum is a literal vault of beach treasures stuffed to the gill-nets with everything imaginable. Photo by Marsha Massey, courtesy of Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau
To retired plumber and beachcomber-extraordinaire, John Anderson, 61, of Forks, Washington, debris found on the beach is but a trace of history.
“It’s not just garbage,” he says, in a documentary about Japanese tsunami debris, called Lost and Found. “Each piece tells a story. These are remnants of people’s lives.”
It started innocently enough: beachcombing for glass floats with a friend in 1976. However, Anderson soon became a beachcombing hobbyist and began bringing home more than just glass floats. In 2015, his collection transitioned into a public museum of beach detritus.
John’s Beachcombing Museum is just that—a hanger-like warehouse on his property that stands as a monument to flotsam, a literal vault of beach treasures stuffed to the gill-nets with everything imaginable.
Over 25,000 buoys from as close as the La Push Marina to as far away as coastal China, hulls of boats, too-many-to-count Nike shoes salvaged from a container spill somewhere in the Pacific, Raggedy-Ann doll heads (from another container spill), a Boeing 727 engine spinner cone, a grey whale skull and a mammoth tooth adorn the walls and shelves of the two-story museum. And, without surprise, there are countless items from the 2011 Japanese tsunami that washed ashore on Washington’s beaches.
John’s Beachcombing Museum is open daily from June to August and by appointment the rest of the year.
John’s Beachcombing Museum
143 Andersonville Avenue, Forks, Washington, 98331