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News Releases
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Long-Running Oregon History Exhibit Closes for Renovation at Oregon Historical Society; New State-of-the-Art Experience Oregon Exhibit to Open February 2019 (Photo) - 06/15/18

Portland, OR – The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) has closed its popular Oregon My Oregon exhibition after fourteen years. Construction broke ground on May 1 on a brand new state-of the art permanent exhibition, Experience Oregon, which is set to debut on Oregon’s 160th birthday on February 14, 2019.

“One of the many privileges of serving as Executive Director has been the opportunity to tag along on guided tours of Oregon My Oregon,” said Kerry Tymchuk. “While I will miss Oregon My Oregon, I know that it is being replaced by an even more fascinating and relevant narrative.”

A project that has been in development for two years, Experience Oregon will provide an epic, inclusive overview of the state’s history. From a 180-degree intro theater to an immersive build that will let visitors walk through a covered wagon, the 7,000 square foot exhibit will provide a portal to Oregon for all visitors, from sixth generation Oregonians to recent arrivals to our state to tourists from across the world.

Central themes like water, land, and home span the exhibition’s timeline, inviting viewers to think about how the many people who have lived here have defined our state. By displaying new and much-loved artifacts, along with diverse voices representing Oregon’s many cultures and geographies, this reimagined exhibition will engage visitors in the experience of Oregon and its history.

Sample renderings of Experience Oregon are available for press at http://bit.ly/2HtYMb2

While the museum’s third floor is under construction, the Oregon Historical Society still has two permanent Oregon history exhibits available for visitors:

Oregon Voices examines some of the important actions and ideas that have shaped Oregon from the end of World War II to the present. From a discussion of Tom McCall’s environmental work to tribal termination and restoration to landmark legislation on gay rights and women’s rights, Oregon Voices employs artifacts, documents, and video interviews to spark conversations about modern day Oregon and what the future may hold for the state.

History Hub is the museum’s newest permanent exhibit made for kids, by kids. In History Hub, youth and families can explore the topic of diversity through fun, hands-on interactives and pictures. View historic artifacts like suffragist Abigail Scott Duniway’s typewriter, learn about different cultures by reading books in the “Book Nook,” and discover how Oregonians have stood up for fairness throughout history.

Other current and upcoming exhibits include:

The Oregon Historical Society museum (1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland) is open seven days a week, Monday – Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from 12pm – 5pm. Starting June 25, admission to the Oregon Historical Society will be temporarily reduced to $5 until Experience Oregon opens on February 14, 2019. Admission is always free for OHS members and Multnomah County residents.

Funds for Experience Oregon are being raised through contributions to the Oregon Historical Society’s FORWARD! capital campaign. The creation of Experience Oregon, along with the development of OHS Digital Collections, the upcoming renovation of the OHS Research Library, and the establishment of key endowments, make up the four initiatives of this multi-year campaign.

 

About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.

Visit the Oregon Historical Society after the Grand Floral Parade to Learn about the Rose that Made Portland Famous - 06/05/18

Images with captions can be downloaded through Dropbox at http://bit.ly/2LpLgqq

Portland, OR – June 5, 2018 – Visit the Oregon Historical Society this Saturday after the Grand Floral Parade to learn the history behind the city’s famous moniker, the City of Roses. Admission to the museum is free on Saturday, June 9, and all are invited to explore the original exhibit Madame Caroline Testout: The Rose that Made Portland Famous, on view through June 17.

Portland’s love of roses unofficially began at a backyard rose show hosted by Georgiana Pittock in 1888. In 1889, attorney Frederick V. Holman formed the Portland Rose Society and organized the first official rose show in the country at Bishop Scott Academy (now Trinity Episcopal Cathedral) in Northwest Portland. The Portland Rose Society was instrumental in making Portland the Rose City, with its club constitution expounding the goal “to beautify the city by endeavoring to have roses planted before all residences of the city… and to make Portland noted as a rose city in preparation for the Lewis & Clark Centennial.”

The committee charged with planning the world fair-esque 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition contacted Holman for ideas on how to spruce up the city in preparation for this massive event. His suggestion: to plant the Madame Caroline Testout, a hybrid pink tea rose named after a French dressmaker first introduced to America in 1892. According to the December 8, 1901 issue of the Sunday Oregonian, Holman remarked, “If there is space for but one variety of roses, I urge the planting of Madame Caroline Testout: it lacks the perfume of the La France, but maintains its exquisite pink color, even in the hottest days of August… Portland has not yet a distinct name like San Francisco… but we can if we will give to Portland the name of the ‘Rose City’ during and after the Exposition of 1905.”

The rose-lined streets of Portland astonished visitors when they arrived in 1905. Rose mania was well underway as nearly 1.6 million paying visitors passed through the gates to the 400-acre fairgrounds on the northwest edge of the town that was now being recognized as the Rose City.

The year 1907 saw the beginning of the Portland Rose Festival, with hedges and home gardens providing millions of roses for floats, women's hats, and anything else that roses could adorn. A few years later, Portland was home to 200 miles of rose hedges lining curbs – an estimated one quarter of the city’s streets.

Rose fervor was dying down by the 1920s, but dedicated citizens issued passionate pleas to keep the streets lined with roses and to keep Portland the Rose City. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that Portland officially adopted the “City of Roses” as its nickname.

Rose historian and exhibit curator Laura King urges visitors to help keep Portland the Rose City by attending Rose Festival events and by planting roses in home gardens.

The Oregon Historical Society museum (1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland) is open seven days a week, Monday – Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from 12pm – 5pm. General admission is $10 and admission is always free for OHS members and Multnomah County residents.


About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.

Memorial Day Marks the 70th Anniversary of the Vanport Flood; Commemorate this Historic Event at Local Programs and by Exploring Digital Content - 05/23/18

PORTLAND, OR – May 23, 2018 – Once the second largest city in Oregon, Vanport was, during its short existence from 1942 to 1948, the nation’s largest wartime housing development, a site for social innovation, and a lightning rod for racial prejudice. On Memorial Day in 1948, the Columbia River, swirling fifteen feet above normal, punched a hole in a railroad embankment that served as a dike, starting a flood that would leave 18,000 people homeless and alter race relations in Portland forever.

On the 70th anniversary of this catastrophic flood, programs throughout Portland as well as a variety of rich digital content will give the community an opportunity to remember Vanport, once the second largest city in Oregon.

PUBLIC PROGRAMS

History Pub: “Memories of the Vanport Flood: A Panel Discussion”

May 28 at 7pm | McMenamins Kennedy School

Join the Oregon Historical Society, McMenamins, and Holy Names Heritage Center for a free panel discussion with former Vanport residents Luanne Barnes, Belva Jean Griffin, Carolyn Hinton, and Janice Okamoto. This event is free and open to the public and space is limited; doors open at 6pm.

Vanport Mosaic Festival

May 23 – May 28

Join the Vanport Mosaic for six days of memory activism opportunities commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Vanport Flood including live performances, tours, exhibits, and community engagement initiatives. This multi-disciplinary event was awarded the Oregon Heritage Excellence Award 2017 and the Spirit of Portland Award by City Commissioner Nick Fish.

DIGITAL CONTENT

Just added to the Oregon Historical Society’s Digital Collections are two collections of photographs of Vanport. This first features photographs taken by Vanport resident Dale Skovgaard and his family before and after the flood of 1948. These images are also in an article written by Skovgaard for the Oregon Historical Quarterly in 2007 on his memories of the flood, which is currently available to read at ohs.org

The second features aerial shots of the flood, ten of which were included in a commemorative postcard book, "Vanport City, Ore. Destroyed by the Mighty Columbia River.” They sold for fifty cents in a small white pocket envelope, which is also included on OHS Digital Collections.

For more information on the history of Vanport and the Vanport Flood, visit the Oregon Historical Society’s digital history projects the Oregon Encyclopedia and the Oregon History Project, or watch the OPB and OHS co-produced Oregon Experience documentary, “Vanport”, which is available to view online.

 

About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.