Portland Japanese Garden and Lan Su Chinese Garden

Contributor: Amber D’Ambrosio is Processing Archivist & Records Manager at Willamette University, a small, urban liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon, where she manages the collections and wrangles ArchivesSpace and Archivematica. In her spare time she writes, reads about early modern London, hikes, travels, and obsessively visits the Oregon Coast.

Portland Japanese Garden

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The Portland Japanese Garden combines a variety of traditional Japanese garden styles into a beautiful haven on top of a hill overlooking downtown Portland. The hill is known for Washington Park, which has many other family-friendly attractions that make the Japanese Garden’s distance from the conference location well worth the trip. After a recent expansion, the gardens now include a Japanese cultural center with constantly rotating exhibitions of Japanese material culture, a gift shop, and a cafe.

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The garden itself is lush, extensive, and includes a wide variety of flowering plants, waterfalls, and Zen gardens known for their simpler aesthetic of carefully raked sand or gravel. There are traditional Japanese buildings, including a traditional tea room, and a hall with veranda that provides a great view over downtown Portland. On a clear day you can see Mount Hood in the distance. Guided tours are available at specified times for those who would like additional insight into the gardens and their history. This is one of my favorite places in Portland, and it’s worth a visit any season of the year.

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The Portland Japanese Garden is open until 7 pm every day during the summer months. Admission is $14.95 for an adult with discounted rates for other age ranges available.

 

The garden and surrounding Washington Park are accessible via the Blue and Red MAX light rail lines to Beaverton and Hillsboro. Get off at Washington Park stop (inside the tunnel). There is a free Washington Park shuttle that will take you from the MAX station to the garden, or you can enjoy a 1.5 mile walk through the arboretum in Washington Park (the trail is well marked with signs for the Japanese and Rose Gardens, but it winds through wooded areas with uneven terrain).

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There is parking available at the garden but also available at the Oregon Zoo and elsewhere in Washington Park if you’d like to walk to the garden. Additional travel information is available at the link provided.

 

Other attractions of interest in Washington Park include the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Children’s Museum, the World Forestry Center, the Hoyt Arboretum, miles of walking/hiking trails, and the International Rose Test Garden (celebrating its 100th anniversary).

 

Lan Su Chinese Garden

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For those who would love to experience a garden a little closer to the conference action, Lan Su Chinese Garden comprises a full city block walled off from the noise of downtown Portland in the historic Old Town Chinatown district. It’s within walking distance (less than 1 mile) of the downtown conference hotel and the convention center. It’s also accessible via bus or the Blue or Red MAX light rail lines (with a short walk).

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The garden is partitioned into various areas with stonework that allows views into the alcoves through elaborately carved windows. You can take advantage of a free guided tour at certain hours of the day or wander with the aid of printed guides. Shallow, reflective water, lush plant life, and traditional Chinese structures are the main features of the garden. Within the buildings are examples of traditional Chinese material culture and a Chinese Teahouse with light dining options (vegetarian and possibly vegan options are available). The Lan Su Chinese Garden is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and concrete of downtown Portland and enjoy a moment of tranquility among beautiful surroundings. They have regular cultural events, so it’s worth checking their schedule to see what you might find during your visit.

 

Admission to the garden is $10 for an adult with discounts available to other age ranges. A family pass is available for $28. The garden is open until 7 pm every day during the summer months.

 

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Oregon Museums Making Collections Accessible

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

http://www.oregonnikkei.org

mus1Preserving 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

http://ohs.org

Mus2OHS 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

http://www.worldforestry.org

mus3The 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

http://www.imogap.org

mus4Housing 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

http://www.worldofspeed.org

mus5Besides 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

https://www.wellsfargohistory.com/

mus6Wells 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

http://portlandartmuseum.org

mus7Founded 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

http://www.ojmche.org/

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The Wonderful World of Powell’s Books

Contributed by: Cris Paschild

Cris Paschild is the head of special collections and the university archivist at Portland State University Library.  As a local high school student, she cut class on a regular basis to roam the aisles of Powell’s.  

Powell’s Books: “the largest used and new bookstore in the world”

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A visit to Portland would not be complete for any book lover without a visit to Powell’s. In a city that has undergone great changes, Powell’s Books remains a constant.  Founded in 1971 by Walter Powell and later purchased by his son, Michael Powell, its flagship store has been at its current location since 1979.   Dubbed Powell’s City of Books, it fills an entire downtown block.  The labyrinth of its color-coded rooms and its three levels, home to 3,500 subject sections, are best navigated with a map, available in print at all entrances.  

The shelves of Powell’s hold almost as many used books as new.  Locals still sweep their home for books to bring to the buying counter, only to find themselves walking out with bags full again, unable to resist picking up another round of titles immediately after.  There are seemingly endless temptations for all, whatever the interest.  The Orange Room hosts rows and rows of cookbooks of every cuisine and for every technique.  The Yellow Room, home to the Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Horror, Thrillers and Manga sections, may be the best for book cover eye candy, rivaled only by the immediately adjacent Graphic Novel section.  For those looking for an extra special souvenir, the Pearl Room on the third floor is home to the rare book room.  

As online shopping boomed and corporate entities rose to dominance, the always independent Powell’s had to respond accordingly, establishing a retail website.  Nonetheless, as larger bookstore chains like Borders fell, the long-term fate of Powell’s appeared uncertain too.  However, as the market stabilized, so did Powell’s and today the store is busier than ever.  And while it has recently added more gifts and tourist-focused bling to its inventory, books are still its heart and soul.  The space itself has also managed to retain much of its old school Portland feel.  The main aisles may become congested with out of town visitors but quiet spaces for browsing and on-the-spot reading still abound.  

If you find yourself wanting to linger, there’s a coffee shop onsite.  Or you can take a break at one of the nearby restaurants, bars or bakeries.  McMenamins’ Zeus Café, two blocks up Burnside, is a good choice for a relaxed brunch or lunch in a building that holds its own share of Portland history.  

And as July gets closer, be sure to check out Powell’s calendar for visiting authors and other book-related events.   

Portland with Kids and Families

Contributor: Rachel Thomas.  Rachel manages the archives of George Fox University and the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends.  She is a Pacific Northwest native and loves sharing the beauty of her region with others.  

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Portland is a great place to spend a day with your family.  Whether exploring the zoo, picnicking in a park, or enjoying quality time at a children’s show, your family is sure to enjoy their time in Oregon’s largest city.  Here are a couple of my family’s favorites:

The Oregon Zoo:

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Spread over 64 acres in the hills of Portland, the Oregon zoo can easily keep your family busy for an entire day.  Active in conservation efforts, the zoo not only provides a fun family outing but is a wonderful educational opportunity.  Recent changes include a redesigned elephant habitat,  a new baby polar bear, and advances in Condor conservation efforts.  The main lawn of the zoo is the perfect place for a summer picnic under the gaze of the nearby elephants.  

The Portland Children’s Museum:

Portland Children's Museum

The Portland Children’s museum offers a chance for interactive play and learning.  With a dozen permanent exhibits and more rotating in and out, there are many great opportunities for creative fun.  Exhibits are both inside and out, making this a prime location no matter the weather.

Olive Rootbeer and Dingo Dizmal:

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What’s Portland without some clowns?  Olive Rootbeer and Dingo Dizmal perform in cafes and restaurants around the city and are loved by the children of Portland.  Their shows include music, stories, comedy, tall bikes, face painting, balloon twisting, and more!  A great place to get those wiggles out, Olive and Dingo’s storytimes are fun for the whole family! Please note: Olive and Dingo support themselves through their career as clowns.  Give what you will to support their artistry.  

Fountains:

On hot days the children of Portland gather around fountains for refreshing play.  Teacher’s Fountain along the waterfront is especially fun to splash in! Grab a suit and join in the laughter as you run through the fountains.

Oaks Amusement Park:

Spend a day or an evening at a good old fashioned amusement park.   Oaks amusement park has traditional rides, carnival games, miniature golf, and a roller skate rink.  Whether you love fast rides or enjoy trying your luck with games, you are sure to have a good time.  

In addition days can be spent exploring one of Portland’s many parks, hiking through green spaces.  Many of the museums in Portland offer family or children’s tours.  Check out OMSI, the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon Historical Society Museum and many more!  The city is full of sights and sounds that are sure to make a memorable trip for your family.

No matter where your family’s interests lie, Portland is sure to have something to delight and amuse you.