Jerry Ostermiller became the Executive Director of the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon in 1989 and retired as the Museum’s President in 2009. The Columbia River Maritime Museum is a private non-profit educational institution that employs a staff of 23 in a modern 47,000 square foot building on a thirteen acre campus. The Museum was the first nationally accredited museum in Oregon and is supported entirely by private donations. In 2002, Mr. Ostermiller completed a $6,000,000 remodel of the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which showcases extraordinary exhibits interpreting the maritime history of the Columbia River.
With over 25 years of museum administration experience, he has served as an administrator for a number of major programs. Prior to his position at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Mr. Ostermiller was Historic Sites Administrator for the State of Idaho. He was also a member of the Idaho Historic Preservation Council and served as its president in 1988. Mr. Ostermiller is past President of the Council of American Maritime Museums, and a member of the board of the United States Lifesaving Service Heritage Association.
Mr. Ostermiller is a nationally recognized educator who has been featured in numerous documentaries for the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, The National Geographic Society and the Learning Channel, and serves as a shipboard lecturer for Lindblad Special Expeditions, Un-Cruise Adventures, Cruise West and the Cunard Line’s flagship, the QUEEN MARY-2. An “Accreditation Reviewer” for the American Alliance of Museums, Mr. Ostermiller conducts audits throughout the United States, and performs workshops and scoping sessions for museums and interpretive centers internationally. He is also a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Maritime Heritage Council and the Oregon Mentor Corps.
Jerry Ostermiller earned an honors degree in social science and history from Boise State University, and completed his graduate studies in social anthropology and historical archeology at the University of Idaho. Mr. Ostermiller is a graduate of the prestigious Seminar for Historical Administration hosted by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the American Association for State and Local History and the American Association of Museums.
Mr. Ostermiller is a “Fellow of Maritime History” and was awarded both the “Meritorious Public Service Silver Medal” and the prestigious “Distinguished Public Service Gold Medal” by the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard for his contributions to maritime history, and elected president of the National Coast Guard Museum Association in Stonington, Connecticut.
Mr. Ostermiller serves as a State Commissioner for the Oregon State Heritage Commission, the Governor’s Oregon 150 Committee and a voting member of the Selection Committee for the National Maritime Hall of Fame in Long Island, New York. In 2009, Mr. Ostermiller was knighted by the Royal Rosarians for his lifelong contributions to the arts and humanities. In 2013, he was elected a “National Fellow” of the internationally prestigious Explorer’s Club where he currently serves as a Policy Advisor on international issues for the preservation of cultural resources.