The following are the current exhibits at the Washington County Museum. Many of the museum’s events, lectures, and educational programs are directly associated with current exhibits. Visit our events and lectures announcements and Program Calendar for information on other events and activities associated with these exhibits.
PCC Rock Creek Campus celebrates its 40th Birthday!
When Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus opened in 1976, the Bethany area was mostly open fields and farm land. Naysayers doubted the college would thrive or grow much past its expected enrollment capacity of 2,500 students. While many voiced their opposition to the purchase of the 250 acre-parcel valued at $584,955, PCC President Dr. Amo De. Bernardis saw what others did not.
He said, “You didn’t have to be a genius to see that Washington County was where the land was and deduce that is where people are going to build their homes. We should be there too.”
Today, the campus welcomes more than 20,000 students a year and offers a robust college transfer program and 13 career and technical programs. The campus also enjoys partnerships with key local profit and non-profit organizations that reflect both its curriculum and its commitment to community engagement.
The 40-year history of the Rock Creek Campus will be celebrated in an exhibit at the Washington County Museum Storage & Archive facility, beginning January 20, 2017. The facility is located on the east side of PCC Rock Creek campus at 17705 NW Springville Road, Portland.
Timber in the Tualatin Valley
We are proud to announce that “Timber in the Tualatin Valley” is our new permanent exhibit, sponsored by Stimson Lumber Company! With many original artifacts on loan from local collector Bill Racine, this display aims to teach visitors about the history of logging in Washington County, from the first pioneers to railroading to gas powered engines.
Much of the local ancestry here tracks back to the loggers of the old days, who carved out this area for homesteads and town sites beginning in the 1860s. Learn about the dangers of the job and what camp life was like for loggers through the tools they used in the woods! Feel what it is like to lay on a straw mattress in the bunkhouse, take a funny photo in our head-in-a-hole logger cutout, and learn about the area on our touch screen mapping program. Check out our calendar for upcoming talks about the industry as well!
Oregon’s Landmark Legislation
August 24- October 22
Oregon has repeatedly led the nation in creating, revising, and implementing laws shaping the quality of life of its citizens. While Oregon’s innovations have evoked controversy, they have charted the course for other states and nations.
This traveling exhibit highlights groundbreaking legislation that Oregon has passed since Statehood either by Politician, Legislative Action, or Public Initiative. Arranged chronologically, the panels present legislation that focuses on environmental, social, and land use issues, including the Bottle Bill, the Oregon Forest Practices Act and the Aerosol Spray Ban.
Put a Bird on It: Nature Photography of William L. Finley
July 13-October 22, 2016
The Washington County Museum provides a stunning and unique glimpse through the lens of William L. Finley, a nationally known naturalist and wildlife conservationist. Finley’s black-and-white bird photographs will be on display to celebrate his tireless advocacy for wildlife preservation. The original glass plates and lantern slides created by Finley between 1902 and 1920 were donated to the museum in 1980 by Dr. Amo DeBernardis, founding president of Portland Community College.
City of the Month Celebrations
Visit the Museum to celebrate the cities of Washington County, Oregon. Each month WCM will focus on a different municipality with special displays and programs. Residents for each honored community with receive special benefits during the selected month. For example, during the selected month, residents of the respective city with a valid ID will get discounts on regular admission and museum store purchases. Residents also get in FREE on the third saturday of their month.
On-to Hillsboro Centennial Celebration
In 1959, the State of Oregon celebrated its 100th anniversary. Part of the year-long celebration included the On-To-Oregon Cavalcade. The idea was to reenact a wagon train traveling the entire Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri, to Independence, Oregon. Seven wagons were sponsored by five towns and two counties in Oregon: Drain, Hillsboro, Independence, Jackson County, Lane County, Pendleton, and Roseburg.
There are only 4 wagons from the Cavalcade left in existence. This wagon, sponsored by Hillsboro, was built by then 66 year old Weaver “Pop” Clark, who had the distinction of being the oldest member of the Cavalcade. Clark along with his grandson, Robert Fineout, represented Hillsboro by driving the Hillsboro wagon.
Silicon Forest: Innovation in Washington County
Innovation is the core concept of this new exhibit at the Washington County Museum. The Silicon Forest in Washington County exhibit showcases the extraordinary infusion of invention and knowledge that made high tech a powerhouse in this region. After exploring some of the key innovations, this exhibit will also challenge visitors to think about Washington County’s future — and your own.
Washington County has been and continues to be a nurturing and supporting incubator providing the creative spark for individual and group invention and innovation. Using examples from a variety of innovators from this area, this exhibit demonstrates that practical know-how, as the catalyst that turns creativity into innovation, has long been a deeply held value in Washington County.
Washington County Goes to War
Washington County Goes to War is a salute to the brave men and women who served our country in the first two World Wars. A generous donation of local resident Bill Crandall’s father’s World War One uniform soon sparked a complete exhibit about both World Wars and the sacrifices made by those who fought and those who remained on the home front.
The first World War began in Europe 100 years ago this year. US troops did not join the fight for another two years. When they did arrive on the front, the soldiers engaged in a brutal trench war more savage than they could imagine. World War Two saw a wave of patriotism on two fronts, in Europe and the Pacific. On the homefront, the Braceros came up from Mexico to help keep the agriculture business running and Japanese Americans found themselves uprooted from their lives and sent to internment camps.
This Kalapuya Land
This Kalapuya Land exhibit celebrates the cultural history of Native Americans in this region from the Atfalati band of the Kalapuya Indians through today’s amalgamation of 130 tribes as the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. Many school age children who experience Oregon Native American history in person for the first time do so through Mobile Museum lessons our educators deliver to students in schools across Washington County. This exhibit expands on that history through words, pictures and artifacts from our collection. The Museum has also researched where to find the camas plant in Washington County and has created a local seasonal round map available for purchase through our Museum Store.
Americans All: The Bracero Program in Washington County
The Americans All: The Bracero Program in Washington County exhibit explores the first recorded influx of Mexican and Latino immigrants into Washington County, made possible through the Bracero program. Washington County has the largest Latino population north of Sacramento, California.
Past Exhibits and Collections
The Washington County Museum features exhibits and collections celebrating and honoring the history of Washington County, Oregon. Check out some highlights from Past Exhibits, and please enjoy the many unique collections on display.