the CHOC Board
a Christian Home School Resource Directory for the extended Portland Oregon metro area
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Museums and History
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Museums and History

Museums and Historical Outings
A Cultural Pass  The Cultural Pass to Adventure program offers library users the opportunity to expand their experience of the library beyond the walls of our buildings into the community and beyond. Your library card is your passport to visiting nine different and exciting locations in Oregon (many of which are listed below). Please click on the link for complete information on the Cultural Pass program, which is coordinated by WCCLS (Washington County Cooperative Library System).
Alpenrose Dairy Park  Pasturelands once stretched west of Portland between Hillsdale and Beaverton. Due to population growth and commercial production, times have changed. Alpenrose Dairy, Inc. stands as a reminder of quieter days. Of this once thriving pastoral dairy community, Alpenrose is the only survivor, and it has developed into much more than a dairy and today is shown on Portland maps as Alpenrose park.  The park has facilities to accommodate a variety of public entertainment:  Alpenrose Stadium where little league baseball games are held; a 600 seat Opera House for theater events (which holds a majestic 4,000 pipe organ from the old Portland Civic Auditorium); an olympic size Velodrome for bicycle races; a Midgit-car race track; a small museum; and Dairyville for free family summer fun.  Be sure to check out the calendar of events!  (Unfortunately, Christmas Storybook Lane has been discontinued.) Located at 6149 SW Shattuck Road (SW Portland)
Baker Cabin historic site is located in Carver (about 4 miles east of I-205 and off of Hwy. 224 on the way to Estacada) provides an historic 1856 cabin, 1895 pioneer church (used for wedding rentals), and coach house with mud wagon.  The grounds are open to visitors year round, the cabin and structures are open for organized tours only as well as scheduled events. To arrange a tour or event, contact the Baker Historical Society secretary area)

Barclay House is located adjacent to the McLoughlin House in Oregon City.  The Barclay House was the home of Dr. Barclay who came from Scotland to Fort Vancouver as a Hudson's Bay Company physician in 1840. In 1850, he and his wife Maria Pambrun Barclay and their seven children moved to Oregon City, where they became prominent in community affairs. Their home was relocated to its current location adjacent to Dr. McLoughlin's house in the 1930's. The Barclay House currently houses offices for the National Park Service and the McLoughlin Memorial Association. Its gift shop offers many hard to find books on northwest history and pioneers, traditional toys, handcrafted goods, and other gift items. The McLoughlin House tours begin at the Barclay House.

Canby Depot Museum is housed in Oregon's oldest railroad station. Canby Historical Society has now had a museum for over 20 years and our members continue the work of organizing and displaying photos, artifacts and exhibits of historic significance, which afford a glimpse of 19th century life in this community. The Canby Depot Museum is located at 888 NE 4th Avenue, Canby, Oregon, adjacent to the Clackamas County Fairgrounds. Contact the Canby Depot Museum at 503-266-6712  (Canby)

Champoeg State Park, Pioneer School and Museums.  Located just 7 miles east of Newberg, along the Willamette River, Champoeg was the location of the Northwest Region's first provisional government as decided by vote of the settlers in 1843 and a small but bustling pioneer town until wiped out by floods in 1861 and 1890 after which the town was abandoned.  Champoeg is now a historical site, nature park, and campground.  It has long been a traditional field trip destination for grade school students in Oregon (including homeschool groups).

Champoeg Promise's Pioneer School  provides opportunity for students take part in a typical pioneer school day, learning what it was like to be a student in 1861. What better way to study history than to become part of it? Students work outdoors with instructors making hand dipped candles and a button spinner toy. And of course, they enjoy good old-fashioned pioneer recess. In addition to Pioneer School, Champoeg offers several other educational programs for school groups and individuals supported by the Friends of Historic Champoeg including numerous living history days where pioneer skills are demonstrated, usually on weekends spring through fall (see the Friends website for more information). The Visitor Center has displays, videos and an interpretive museum store, and should be the first stop at the park to see any events scheduled. The Pioneer Mother’s Log Cabin Museum (503) 633-2237, and Robert Newell House Museum (503) 678-5537, operated and maintained by the Daughters of the American Revolution, also offer group tours by appointment, and are open to the public every weekend, spring through fall.  To schedule educational programs, call the park at (503) 678-1251 ext. 221 for an information packet and mail-in request form. (Newberg area)

Children's Museum  "This interactive museum seeks to stimulate children's interest in the natural world and in society. Exhibits foster an understanding of such concepts as sound, gravity, and medicine by promoting experimentation and fun. Kids can toy with light and shadow, manipulate water-powered machinery, play dress-up, and work on art projects too. A grocery store and cafe provide them the opportunity to experience the world of adults and expand their boundaries even further."  (Eastide Portland)

Dickens Carolers are a group of four -- two men and two women-- singers dressed in beautiful, Old English costumes dated approximately 1843 (the year that Charles Dickens published his famous story 'A Christmas Carol"). In the true spirit of the day, all our music is unaccompanied, yet sung in four-part harmony. Our two hour repertoire is comprised of favorite carols, both traditional and contemporary, including "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "O Come All Ye Faithful", "O Christmas Tree", "Jingle Bells", "White Christmas", "Winter Wonderland", "Rudolph", and many, many more.  Currently, our quartets perform only during the Christmas season, sometimes beginning in October and extending into late January.  Please go to the website (as linked) to see a calender of free public performances.  Notable is the free performance on the first Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving at Temple Baptist Church wherein all the quartets are featured (most private or public venues feature only one of their quartets.)  Though not all singers are Christian nor all songs sacred, the owner of the Portland Dickens Carolers is a Christian who delights in bringing the love of Christ and the true message of Christmas to public forum through a ministry of song. (Portland Metro)

UPDATED! End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center now known as the Mt. Hood Territorial Visitor Center is a pioneer museum with exhibits protraying life on the Oregon Trail. Closed to the general public in March 2009, it has been re-opened for scheduled guided tours, with activities, for groups numbering 30 and below. Visitor Hours are still listed on the website as Thursday-Monday 11am-4pm. For more information and to schedule a group time, see the webpage and call Gail at 503-657-9336 ext. 107. (Oregon City)

Evergreen Aviation Museum
  This museum houses Howard Hughes' famous "Spruce Goose."  It also is home to a variety of planes and aircraft on display as well as interactive educational displays and an IMAX theater.  The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, retreats and resources supporting the field of aviation and aeronautic engineering. (McMinnville)

Fort Vancouver historic site, located in Vancouver, Washington, provides a step back into the time of the British Hudson’s Bay Company’s vast "Columbia Department" and development of the Pacific Northwest.  Fort Vancouver served as the hub of an extensive fur trading network and quickly became a center of activity and influence, supported by a multicultural village with inhabitants from over 35 different ethnic and tribal groups. The first hospital, school, library, grist mill, saw mill, dairy, shipbuilding, and orchard in the region were all centered at Fort Vancouver. The fort also served as the early end of the Oregon Trail for American immigrants, and later became a U.S. Army post.  NOTE: Many historical re-enactment days are provided at the Fort as well as volunteer opportunities including a Dame School (girls) and Young Engagé School  (boys) for children 9-18 years of age (applications submitted mid-September).  Go to the website's Calendar of Events for re-enactment days.  Contact the Volunteer Coordinator for the Dame School and Engage School offerings. (Vancouver, WA)
Historic Elsinore Theatre On May 28, 1926, on a former livery stable site, the magnificent Elsinore Theatre first opened its doors to the public. Developed by George Guthrie, an entrepreneur and lover of art, the theatre was designed to resemble the castle in “Hamlet,” Shakespeare’s greatest drama. Restored in 2004, it is truly a place of grandeur and is the last remaining example of a Tudor Gothic atmospheric theatre in North America. With its 30 foot high Gothic lobby, exquisite stained glass windows, 24 foot tall murals of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth’s Witches along with the 1,300 seat auditorium it is truly a Theatre to experience. Each season the Theatre offers our community a variety of wonderful shows that delight and entertain including Wednesday night Classic film festivals and Silent film festivals (which are historically accompanied by live music on the theater's "Mighty Wurlitzer" pipe organ just as in the time of the silent originals). See the website for the theater calendar.  Group Tours for $3.00 per person can be arranged by calling 503-375-3574.  The theater is located at 170 High Street SE (Salem)
NEW! Knights of Veritas is a non-profit organization specializing in interactive educational demonstrations of medieval arms, armour, combat, knighthood and chivalry. They bring the museum to you. Home-based in Moses Lake, Washington (near Seattle) the gorup travels throughout the nation (and world) giving live demonstrations. Starting at $100 for single presenter, $300 for group battle display, plus approximately $75 in travel expenses (depending upon location), they will come and perform for your group.  Many libraries are willing to host an event, and expenses go down when they can book several events in a single area, so contact your local librarian to recommend the presentation. Their website also provides historical material, equipment, and some training videos.
Lavender's Green is a home-based business in Hillsboro that creates authentic reproduction clothing and accessories for various vintage styles from 1770 to the 1930s.  They also offer various talks and fashion shows on the history of period fashion.  See their website for examples of their work or to arrange a fashion talk or show. (Hillsboro)
McLoughlin House  was the home to Dr. John McLoughlin, who was the Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver, Washington, during the days of British trade expansion. Dr. McLoughlin is known as the “Father of Oregon” for his aid to American immigrants arriving over the Oregon Trail. His compassion, however, was viewed as contrary to British politics of the time, thus the doctor was forced into retirement and took residence in Oregon City where he became an American citizen. His home, there is a unit of the national park system administered by Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The McLoughlin House provides cultural displays, re-enactments and seasonal demonstrations. The adjacent Barclay house provides a gift store and library of hard to find historical books. (Oregon City) 
Mount St. Helens Creation Information Center (the 7 Wonders Museum) is a non-profit, privately owned museum dedicated to upholding biblical creation. (Find more on 7Wonders and other NW Creation groups at Scroll to the bottom bar for NW Info.)  The 7 Wonders Museum is located in Washington state on the drive up to the Mt. St. Helens national park (Take I-5 Exit #49, go East on SR 504, the Spirit Lake Highway heading towards Toutle, WA.)  This small but developing information center provides displays, a few hands on activities for the kids, and a powerpoint presentation relating how the rapidly formed features following the Mt. St. Helens 1980 eruption give evidence of a young earth creation.  Over 405 creation book titles are sold in their store.  Admittance is free, donations accepted. 7 Wonders Museum 4749 Spirit Lake Highway, Silverlake, WA. 98645.  Phone/Fax:  1-360-274-5737.  Open most days from 9am - 7pm, call ahead to confirm hours or to arrange a group visitation.  After visiting this information center, enjoy the Mt.St. Helen's national monument park to see and personally witness the devastation and restoration of the land after the incredible 1980 eruption. (Silverlake, WA)
Northwest Civil War Council (NCWC) "is a non-profit living history organization dedicated to educating the public and our members about the American Civil War. Through membership in the NCWC one has the opportunity to recreate portions of the past in educational drama at reenactments, through which the spectator, as well as the participant, discover and learn more about their history and the people who lived during the year 1863 in Virginia and Pennsylvania." Go to their website for membership information, events calendar, and links for civil war re-enactment clubs and information. A local annual event is their Civil War re-enactment held the weekend of the 4th of July at Willamette State Park in Brooks, Oregon.
NEW!  Old Aurora Colony Museum exhibits focus on Colony families, crafts and history. Nearly 600 people, almost all German and Swiss emigrants, established and lived in the Aurora Colony, a Christian communal society, from 1856 to 1883. Tours are offered of the buildings that house the collections of artifacts that have been passed down over the generations.  Throughout the year there are several special events that feature quilts, craft demonstrations and hands-on activities for adults and children, check their events calendar on their website for times.  Located about 25 miles south of Portland at 15018 Second Street NE, Aurora (503) 678-5754. (Aurora, OR) 
Oregon Historical Society's  mission states "preserving and interpreting Oregon's past in thoughtful, illuminating, and provocative ways."  The OHS provides a museum in downtown Portland, traveling trunks to check out for educational use, discounted group tours, and an interactive website of Oregon history.(Portland)
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) One of Oregon's premier museums with ample opportunity for fun learning. Spendy, but check their info page, often they offer a 1/2 price Thursday once a month during the school year. They also offer hands-on classes (secular). The tour of the Blueback Submarine is wonderful and economically priced (and outside the cost of museum entrance). OMSI's web page says: "This outstanding technology museum offers hundreds of exhibits related to computers, space, and earth sciences. Kids especially love the interactive, make-believe village. If you have ever wanted to know what an earthquake is like, you'll find out at this museum, which has a special room that re-creates the experience. There's also an Omnimax theater, a planetarium, laser show, motion simulator and an outdoor river walk that teaches youngsters about the Willamette River.  (Eastside Portland)
Oregon National Guard's (Historical) Educational Outreach Program currently provides living-history presentaions for the Lewis and Clark Expedition and WWII.  Both programs have received heritage awards for their historical presentation (and raves from fellow homeschoolers).  Presentations include discussion and interaction with historical replicas of the time period.  The National Guard plans to add Oregon history and WWI to its presentations by the 2008-2009 school year. Their goal with these presentations is "To help enrich the lives of those in our communities by providing a free educational service that immerses those who participate in the rich history that made this country great." Contact them for a currently scheduled presentation or schedule one for your own organization.  The presentations are given FREE of charge.  For more information contact the Oregon Army National Guard Educational Outreach Program,  503-584-2272  or email: (Traveling Presentation)


Oregon Regency Society is a collection of diverse souls who all share a common obsession with the English Regency (1780 to 1830). Our group consists of Jane Austen fanatics, English Country and Regency dancers, historic reenactors, costumers, artisans and craftsfolk, Regency fans and so much more. Our activities include regency balls, parties, teas, craft and art workshops, and readings. We do Regency movie marathons, costume sewing classes, English Country Dance classes, and all manner of other diversions that are regency themed. We are all ages, all walks of life. Our balls and parties are festive and civilized. We hold them around the state of Oregon. Our members are from Oregon, Washington and even California and Arizona!  Please see our website for our calendar of events and what is available for the general public. Functions are held in various locations in (Portland Metro and throughout Oregon)

Phillip Foster Farm The end of the road for the Oregon Trail. Historic house and site marking an important time period in American history. Tours available. See events for special times at the farm. We've always had a lot of fun when we've toured. The museum attendants have been friendly, informative, and usually period dressed. (Clackamas County)
Pittock Mansion   The Pittock Mansion was home to Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock from 1914 to 1919. During the late 1800s and the early 1900s, their lives and work paralleled the growth of Portland from a small Northwest town site to a thriving city with a quarter million population. With its eclectic architectural design and richly decorated interior, including family artifacts, the Pittock Mansion stands today as a living memorial of this family’s contributions to the blossoming of Portland and its people. Discounted educational Discovery Tours are available with one month advance reservation. (NW Portland)
Portland Art Museum  Rotating and permanent exhibits make something for everyone. (Downtown Portland)
Rose Farm in Oregon City was completed in 1847 and is the oldest American home in Oregon City. It was the scene of early government meetings and many social events. The first territorial governor, Joseph Lane, gave his 1849 inaugural address from the balcony of the Rose Farm, and the celebrants gathered on the lawn below. The claim was nicknamed the ‘Rose Farm’ by friends and neighbors because of the many roses Louisa planted in the garden.  The Rose Farm is located 536 Holmes Lane, at the corner of Holmes Lane & Rilance Lane in Oregon City. It is open to the public on Saturday afternoons (noon to 4pm) during the summer (June to September). To schedule group tours or for further information, please call (503) 656-5146.

Washington County Museum  A small but fun museum of early Washington County life from indians to pioneers. Offered on "The Cultural Pass" See above.  Located by PCC Rock Creek Campus (NW Beaverton).
Washington County Museum's Mobile Museum   The Mobile Museum brings the Washington County Museum right to your classroom, community center, or neighborhood group. Choose from seven informative, educational and entertaining presentations on major topics of local history, all taught by experienced professional educators. Bringing a kit of artifacts from the Museum’s collection, presenters demonstrate how the objects were used and explain them in the context of the lives of the people who used them. In 2008, the charge was $55 per session for the community mobile.  (Traveling Presentation)

Washington County 4H Wagon Train Trek.  Every year for the past 26 or so years, Washington County 4H has sponsored an annual wagon train which is open to participants from the general public.  On this working vacation, you actually walk/ride the wagon train for about a week, living just like those many pioneers who came to Oregon via wagon train. Cost (from 2008) is $150 for children and $175 for adults.  The Wagon Train Trek takes place in the summer (usually July), and there are monthly preparation/informational meetings usually starting in January and going through May.  Contact the Washington County 4H Extension office for more information at 503-725-2110.  (Oregon Trail)