Contributed by SAA Host Committee Member, Katrina O’Brien, World of Speed Collection Manager & Archivist
Oregon has a wide array of museums covering everything from Japanese and Jewish history to environment science, gaming and motorsports, local and national art and heritage, and corporate history. While this is only a small snapshot of Oregon’s museums, each of these museums are utilizing artifact and archival collections as part of their museum experience, special programs, and online resources.
OREGON NIKKEI LEGACY CENTER
Preserving the stories of the Nikkei—Japanese emigrants and their descendants—of the Pacific Northwest, the Center offers both traveling and onsite exhibits, as well as a research library. It also offers onsite and walking tour apps that provide multiple avenues to experience the Center’s archival collection. As part of its Oregon Nikkei Endowment’s Visual History Collection, over 50 recorded video interviews are accessible online through the Densho Digital Archive.
OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
OHS looks to “explore the people, places, and events that have shaped the history of Oregon and America.” Besides its digital history websites, The Oregon Encyclopedia, Oregon History Project, and Oregon History Wayfinder, its new OHS Digital Collections website opens a wider window into the OHS Research Library’s collections. At the same time, the OHS Museum provides equally thought-provoking, interactive museum exhibits that make history visible and accessible.
WORLD FORESTRY CENTER DISCOVERY MUSEUM
The WFC Discovery Museum offers an interactive experience for visitors to be “both educated and entertained as they learn about the importance of forests and trees in our lives, as well as environmental sustainability.” Visitors find exhibits that pique curiosity and encourage active learning about the forests of the Pacific Northwest and the interconnectedness of global forests, along with the Leadership Hall that celebrates contributors in forestry.
THE INTERACTIVE MUSEUM OF GAMING AND PUZZLERY
Housing one of the largest publicly accessible game and puzzle collections in the world, IMOGAP seeks to “document and celebrate all aspects of gaming culture” with more than 4,000 games to play. While most of the collection are tabletop games, the collection also includes construction, knowledge, electronic, skill games, and more. The museum offers visitors hands-on tables for gaming along with historical and interpretive displays, and shelves featuring select picks from the collection.
WORLD OF SPEED
Besides supporting the World of Speed motorsports museum’s exhibits and education programs, the Archive offers “points of access while preserving the rich history of motorsports” with the museum’s complete collection catalog, collection highlights, and digital video collection available online. Besides being open to the public, the Archive Room hosts Open Archive Days each month, offering visitors gloved interaction with select items in the archive collection not currently on display.
WELLS FARGO MUSEUM, PORTLAND
Wells Fargo has eleven museums throughout the country, including Portland. Besides artifacts specific to the Pacific Northwest, the museum utilizes the Wells Fargo Corporate Archive to produce local museum exhibits with materials that “range from historical images and objects to modern day marketing samples and digital records.” A select group of its archives are also available online including a photography and advertisement collection documenting the company’s origins, development, operations, and impact.
PORTLAND ART MUSEUM
Founded in 1892, PAM is the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest with a collection of 42,000 objects reflecting the history of art from ancient times to today, including North America native peoples’ arts, modern and contemporary art, and Asian and American art. PAM’s Crumpacker Family Library, the region’s most comprehensive visual art resource, holds a collection of over 35,000 volumes originated in 1895 and includes current and historical periodicals, and art archives.
OREGON JEWISH MUSEUM & CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST EDUCATION
OJMCHE’s artifact and archive collections “document the experiences of Oregon Jews from our earliest history through today.” It acquired the holdings of the Jewish Historical Society of Oregon in 1995, including 150 oral history interviews. In 2014, the Oregon Jewish Museum merged with the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center, taking on the care of the center’s records, artifacts, and oral history interviews of Holocaust survivors and liberators.