Oregon Historical Society is the name of the organization that operates the Oregon History Center in Downtown Portland. The main history museum in Portland is part of this center, and it is the place to go if you want to delve into the history of America's 33rd state. Permanent and temporary Oregon History Museum exhibits combine to give visitors a comprehensive understanding of things as they relate to the state and its people, with the Oregon My Oregon exhibit being the most renowned. Docents are often available to answer any questions that visitors might have at the museum, and a number of annual events encourage locals and tourists alike to keep the events schedule in mind.
The Oregon Historical Society was organized way back in 1898. The museum moved to its current site at 1200 SW Park Avenue in 1966. More room was needed to house the museum's growing collection, which these days contains more than 80,000 artifacts. Among the most interesting artifacts that is on display at this fantastic history museum in Portland is the Portland Penny. This penny, which dates back to 1835, was flipped to decide the city's name. The choices were Boston and Portland, and if it wasn't obvious enough, Portland won out. One of the other more interesting things that you can see at the Oregon Historical Society History Museum is found on the outside of the former Sovereign Hotel building. The front of this nine-story building, which is now part of the museum, features a large mural by artist Richard Haas that depicts Lewis and Clark on their famous early 1800s expedition across the West.
In addition to Oregon My Oregon, the permanent Oregon History Museum exhibits include Battleship Oregon: Bulldog of the Navy and Oregon Art. Oregon My Oregon is an award-winning exhibit that features the most prized pieces in the Oregon Historical Society collection. It occupies an entire floor and covers the complete history of the state. Among the most prized pieces in the Oregon My Oregon collection are a 9,000-year-old sandal found in the region and a lunch counter from a famous local store named Newberry's. As for Battleship Oregon: Bulldog of the Navy, it offers insight into a famous ship that played a significant role in 1898's Spanish-American War. You might be interested to know that the Battleship Oregon sailed from San Francisco to Florida in a record-breaking amount of days before the war. This feat was very significant at the time and even helped to inspire the eventual building of the Panama Canal.
For art enthusiasts, the Oregon Art exhibit is one of the permanent Oregon History Museum exhibits that is not to be missed. While this exhibit is permanent, it features rotating pieces, which helps to keep things interesting for repeat visitors. The pieces that you will see on display at any given time come from the collection of the Oregon Historical Society and from the collections of various lenders. As a side note, art enthusiasts might venture over to the Portland Art Museum when they're not enjoying the works that are on display at the history museum.
It is easy to spend at least a couple of hours at the Oregon Historical Society's history museum in Portland, as there are plenty of interesting things to see. In addition to checking out the permanent and traveling Oregon History Museum exhibits, those who are visiting the more comprehensive Oregon History Center can also check out the center's interesting photograph collection and do some research in the library. Shopping at the museum store is also an option should you be interested. Both the museum and the museum store are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. As for the research library, it is open between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Image: victorchapa (flickr)