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Washington County Museum – 120 E. Main Street, Hillsboro, Oregon

Silicon Forest in Washington County

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 the emphasis on practical know-how — a catalyst that turns creativity into innovation — has long been a deeply held value in Washington County.


“Carolyn Cole: Messages”

CC71311-webPainting is a revelatory process that explores the artist’s intuitive relationship to his or her artwork. Caroyln Cole states that her work “hovers between consciousness and intuition, combining emotional content, observation, technical skill, exploration, and reinvention,” and also says that her “goal is to create surfaces that are visually intriguing with expressive colors and shapes.”

Each painting in this exhibit has several layers of paint and collage.Her media include acrylic paints, pencil, and charcoal. Cole says this series of paintings “reveals the introspective part of her personality, and says “I hope that they reflect my intense desire to paint.”


“James Minden: Light Drawings”

James Minden has been calling these works light drawings because the surface is literally “drawn” (incised) by hand. However, he suggests that that light drawing is only a partial definition. Some people have called them sculptures. He says they are a combination of the actual surface, very narrow grooves in a sheet of plastic that has been coated with a diluted matte medium, and the light reflected from the surface and grooves. This doesn’t sound very unusual for two-dimensional art. What is different is that they are interactive and appear three-dimensional. The light reflecting from the grooves is something that cannot accurately be described without referring to it as what it actually (really) is, an abrasion hologram; something that somehow makes the piece greater than the sum of its material parts. Come join us to see this unique and innovative art form by James Minden in our museum gallery.


“The Carnegie Library in Hillsboro: 100 Years of Change”

The Carnegie library was built in Hillsboro for $10,000 on land donated to the city, but the money donated did not cover books, only the building. The amount of money donated to most communities was based on U.S. Census figures and averaged approximately $2 per person. The design of the Carnegie libraries has been given credit for encouraging communication with the librarian and created an opportunity for people to browse and discover books on their own. Before Carnegie, patrons had to ask a clerk to retrieve books from closed stacks.



This Kalapuya Land

This 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.
Read more here


Americans All: The Bracero Program in Washington County

Washington County has the largest Latino population north of Sacramento, California. This exhibition explores the first recorded influx of Mexican and Latino immigrants into Washington County, made possible through the Bracero program.
Read more here.

Programs & Special Events


planting-seedlingsiiFree Family Day: Saturday May 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Spring has sprung! Join Museum staff and volunteers for a Free Family Day with crafts and activities related to spring. Participants will plant seeds, construct a kite, and make something special to gift on Mother’s Day. This event is free and open to the public.

Family Days at the Washington County Museum are sponsored in part by The William G. Gilmore Foundation and The Autzen Foundation.

Click here for more information.



April Crossroads Lecture

Wednesday April 16, 2014

“The Battle of Puebla and the True Story Behind Cinco de Mayo”

12 Noon – 1 P.M. (Brown Bag Lecture)
Every May, festivals and parties commemorating the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo, are held across the United States. But what exactly does Cinco de Mayo commemorate? And how are the French and Eqyptian military a part of this story? Learn more with the Museum’s Bilingual Educator Ilene O’Mally at this Crossroads Lecture.

Click here for more information.