John's Beachcombing Museum – Forks, Washington - Atlas Obscura
John's Beachcombing Museum is permanently closed.

John's Beachcombing Museum

One man's eclectic collection of treasures found at sea. 


One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, or in John Anderson’s case, it’s the trash of several hundred people, whose discarded items were found at sea. The retired plumber from Forks, Washington, spent decades combing the beaches of the Pacific northwest, and in 2015, opened up a museum displaying his vast collection.

In the 1970s, he began looking for glass buoys or floats, which were widely used in the early 19th and early 20th century, but were later replaced by aluminum or plastic buoys. It started with buoys, which have now been built into a totem pole, but over the years, he’s collected anything from Raggedy Ann dolls to a mammoth tooth, the oldest exhibit in his museum. He even has a book of letters found in bottles on the beach, and he painstakingly replies to each one he finds, many of which are from Japanese school children and were washed ashore after the 2011 tsunami.

Visitors will marvel at the sheer diversity of unusual items he has carefully assembled and sorted over the years. John provides short tours of the highlights of the museum, and there is a fun scavenger hunt for children.

Know Before You Go

The museum is located just next to the turn off to La Push, there is a big sign. There's lots of parking for RVs.

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