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The Columbia Press

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State Historical Society offers a way to Experience Oregon

A photo from the exhibit shows the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition's Bridge of Nations over Guild Lake in Portland. The lake was filled in by the 1920s. (Courtesy Oregon Historical Society)
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Oregon Historical Society recently unveiled its new 7,000-square-foot exhibit “Experience Oregon,” which allows visitors to learn about the people, places, and events that have shaped the state.

The Feb. 14 unveiling was also the state’s 160th birthday.

“Experience Oregon is very aptly named,” said Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society. “It is a state-of-the-art immersive experience that brings to life the remarkable and dramatic history of Oregon and those who have called it home.”

There are priceless artifacts and breathtaking images, she said, along with unforgettable stories of the individuals who have made and changed history.

Visitors enter Experience Oregon through a panoramic theater that introduces major themes and sets the stage for the exhibit. Land and water are two of the most pervasive topics covered, displaying the diversity of Oregon’s landscape, as well as people’s historical and ongoing relationships with its resources.

Visitors follow a “river” along the floor to reinforce the importance of water to Oregon’s history, and to the many people who call the state home.

“The design process for Experience Oregon was truly cutting-edge, and is one of the aspects that makes this exhibition so unique,” Museum Director Helen B. Louise said. “Rather than having one single curator, the content and conceptualization for Experience Oregon has been a collaboration of stakeholders, making this such a rich exhibition, both in content and design.”

All artifacts on display are from the Oregon Historical Society museum collection.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $10. The museum is at 1200 S.W. Park Ave., Portland.

The Portland Commercial Iron Works' ladies lunch room. (Courtesy Oregon Historical Society)


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