Mobile Museum for Community Groups

Grandfather, grandmother and grandchild sitting in Crossroads lecture space.Touching History Mobile Museum brings the Washington County Museum to your community group. The Museum offers presentations on topics of local history, taught by professional educators. Using a kit of artifacts from the museum’s collection, presenters demonstrate how the objects were used in the context of the lives of the people who used them.

The following Mobile Museum presentations are available for community groups with adult audiences.

Atfalati-Kalapuya: First People of Washington County

cowlitzbasketExplore the lives of the indigenous people of the Tualatin Valley, the Atfalati branch of the Kalapuya tribe. Learn how the Atfalati dressed, their customs, what they ate, where they lived and how they used their natural resources. Furs, stone tools, baskets, and additional artifacts will be displayed and discussed.

Braceros: The Men of Migrant Labor

In 1942, faced with a labor crisis, the United States turned to Mexico for help. The Bracero Program was born. While American men were fighting in WWII, the Braceros traveled to Oregon and other states, under a treaty with Mexico, to help farmers bring in their crops. Trace the migration of a Bracero, examine historic photographs and investigate artifacts.

Chinook: Master Traders of the Northwest

canoe_2The “Wapato Lowlands” – the region on the lower Columbia River with Sauvie Island at its heart – was once one of the richest, most densely populated areas north of Mexico and the home of the Chinook people. Learn how the area’s natural resources, including salmon, provided the Chinook with great wealth and how trading activities throughout the area provided opportunities to increase this wealth.

Lewis and Clark: The Science of Discovery

When Lewis and Clark pushed their boats into the Missouri River in May of 1804, the Corps of Discovery was launched. Take a deeper look at the people that made it possible, the methods of travel, and the tools of navigation. Learn about the flora, fauna and physical features they discovered along the way, the Native Americans they interacted with and the impact of this historic trek on the history of our area.

On the Oregon Trail

5WMBF00Z_optFrom the mid 1840s through the late 1860s over 400,000 people spent about 6 months on the Oregon Trail in search of a new life, many of whom settled in Washington County, Oregon. Learn about decisions emigrants faced before their journey began, how their views changed as the trip progressed, and what they settled down to do once they reached the “promised land.”

Preservation 101: Preserving Your Family Archives

Preserving Your Family Archives at Washington County Museum, Oregon.Many families have important and unique collections of photos or archives (papers) stored in the back of the closet or in the attic. Would you like to know how to store them correctly? A museum educator will describe the problems that can arise from poor storage and handling and give alternative and inexpensive suggestions on how to better care for your family’s photos and archival collections.

The Centennial Wagon

Image of covered wagon with Hillsboro Oregon written on it.The Centennial wagon train traveled, in 1959, the entire length of the Oregon Trail as part of a reenactment journey for Oregon’s 100th centennial celebration.  Learn about the 4-month journey that had the nation reminiscing and yearning for the good ole’ days of the wild wild West.

How Mobile Museum Works

To create a highly successful visit, there are a few organizational items to consider before contacting the Education Registrar.

  1. Each presentation is one hour long.
  2. The cost is $115 per community presentation in Washington County. An additional $25 will be added for presentations in the Portland Metro Area outside of Washington County. Mileage will be added for presentations outside of the Portland Metro area.
  3. For community groups, the presentation will be a 45 minute interactive talk (PowerPoint images are available for every talk, except Kalapuya and Chinook programs) lead by one of our Outreach Educators. Depending on the size of the group, Q&A and the opportunity to handle the artifacts will occur during the presentation or time will be reserved at the end.
  4. Set-up takes approx. 30 minutes before the first presentation.
  5. Outreach Educators request access for a large 6-8ft table in the presentation area, as well as a projector and computer with PowerPoint.

Photo Policy: Photographs may be taken during presentations; however, we request that our presentations (and stations) not be videotaped.

Schedule a Mobile Museum Presentation

To schedule a Mobile Museum presentation, please fill out the contact form below. Our Education Registrar will respond to you within 24 hours.


Community groups will be invoiced when their registration is completed. Payment is due prior to the Mobile Museum presentation. Groups are welcome to pay by check or online by using the Donate button below.

To pay by check, please make check payable to Washington County Museum (or WCM) and send payments to the mailing address:
Washington County Museum
3300 NW 185th Ave, Ste. 260
Portland, OR 97229