What's Happening?

From our interactive museum exhibits to our Research Library to our premier meeting and event space, there's always something fun happening at the Oregon Historical Society. See below for upcoming events.

Unless otherwise noted, programs take place at the Oregon Historical Society building in downtown Portland (1200 SW Park Avenue) and are free of charge with museum admission. Click on links or call (503) 222-1741 for more information.



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Oregon History Day Competition

Saturday, April 18, 10 AM – 3 PM

Oregon Historical Society
Registration Fee: $20
Free admission for families of participants

The Oregon Historical Society is proud to host 2015 Oregon History Day, the regional competition for the National History Day program. The focus of History Day is to improve the teaching of history in schools, and teachers are encourages to support students as they research a topic and compile a final project, all with a focus on the annual theme. Projects can be in the form of a website, essay, documentary, performance, or exhibit, and students compete against students from private, public, and home schools in two age categories. Winners from Oregon History Day will qualify to compete at the national competition, which takes place June 14-18 in Washington, D.C. Visit to learn more.


Community Dialogue

Business & Academics: Portland State University’s Beginning”
Wednesday, April 22 at 5:30 PM
Native American Center
710 SW Jackson Street, Portland 97201

Free and open to the public


Please join the Oregon Black Pioneers and leaders and elders from Portland's African American community for a special dialogue, presented in conjunction with the Oregon Historical Society's A Community on the Move exhibition. The state's premier black heritage organization, the Oregon Black Pioneers is dedicated to illuminating African Americans' contributions to Oregon's history through research, publications, exhibits, and community outreach. 


History Pub

"A Short History of Coffee Roasting in Portland"

Martyn Leaper, McMenamins Coffee Roaster

Monday, April 27 at 7 PM

McMenamins Kennedy School

Free and open to the public

Join McMenamins Coffee Roaster and special guest speakers as they discuss the history and roasting process behind one of the world's most popular beverages. History Pub is presented on the last Monday of each month in partnership with McMenamins and Holy Names Heritage Center. Learn more about coffee roasting from Martyn on the McMenamins website.


History Night

"King of the Road: Glenn Jackson and the Building of the Oregon Highway System, 1959-1979"

William Stack

Tuesday, April 28 at 6:30 PM

McMenamins Edgefield

Free and open to the public

The Oregon Encyclopedia, a program of the Oregon Historical Society, hosts a series of History Nights in collaboration with McMenamins Pubs. This month, the presentation will be by William Stack, an educator and freelance writer and is author of "Glenn Jackson and the Building of Oregon's Highways, 1959-1979," published in the November 2014 issue of Journal of the West.


Hatfield Historians Forum Lecture

"An Evening with Teddy Roosevelt"

Tuesday, April 28 at 7 PM

First Congregational Church

Tickets start at $22.50, purchase online or at the door

Back by popular demand, famed Teddy Roosevelt recreator Joe Wiegand returns for an encore performance at the Hatfield Historians Forum. Watch as the Colonel comes to life at an exciting living history event, where you will be convinced you are in the presence of our twenty-sixth president. This special lecture is part of the 2015 Teddy Roosevelt Roadshow sponsored by Wells Fargo.


Reciprocal Membership Program

April 1 - 30, 2015

Free Admission to the Lan Su Chinese Garden for OHS Members


Local attractions are collaborating to offer expanded benefits to members in 2015. Members can show their proof of membership, along with a photo ID, to gain admission for up to four people at a different attraction each month, regardless of their level of membership.


Throughout the month of April, OHS Members can use their membership cards to access free admission to the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Lan Su Chinese Garden is the result of a collaboration between the cities of Portland and Suzhou, our sister city in China's Jiangsu province that's famous for its beautiful Ming Dynasty gardens. Lan Su was built by Chinese artisans from our Suzhou and is the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. Much more than just a beautiful botanical garden, Lan Su is a creative wonder -- a powerfully inspiring experience based on a 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition that melds art, architecture, design and nature in perfect harmony.




Genealogy Workshop

"Connecting to the Mother Country: British Family History"

Saturday, May 2 at 10 AM

Hannah Z. Allan, Genealogist, Oregon Historical Society

Oregon Historical Society

$20, $15 for OHS members

Buy Tickets Now


This lecture will help you connect your English immigrant ancestors to their homeland. We will start in the New World and follow the steps and records needed to launch you back to merry old England. We'll then set sail "across the pond" and dive into the world of British sources where you can learn more about the lives and the families brave ancestors left behind.


Book Talk and Signing

A Life in Judging: Ted Goodwin of Oregon by Professor Stephen Wasby

Monday, May 4 at 5:30 PM

Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public, please RSVP online


Join the Oregon Historical Society and the United States District Court of Oregon Historical Society for a book talking & signing with Professor Stephen Wasby. Judge Alfred T. (Ted) Goodwin, who has received many awards for his service to Oregon, has been called the most important judicial figure in Oregon since Matthew Deady. His stature would be warranted alone by his ruling preserving the ocean beaches for the people of Oregon, but his contribution encompasses far more. A Life in Judging: Ted Goodwin of Oregon begins with Judge Goodwin’s background through law school and his brief law practice, but it is not a standard biography. Instead, the work of a single judge is used as a lens through which to view the courts he served, making this book a judicial biography with a focus on the work of the courts on which Judge Goodwin sat as well as on the judge himself. Judge Goodwin will be in attendance, and books will be available for sale. If you would like to reserve a book ($30) for purchase, please note this in your RSVP.


Oral History Workshop

Jim Strassmaier & Michael O’Rourke, former OHS Oral Historians

Saturday, May 9 at 10 AM

Oregon Historical Society

$20, $15 for OHS members

Buy Tickets Now


If you have ever considered doing an oral history of a family member, friend, or members of your organization or company, this workshop will give you basic information on how to get started. Included will be interviewing techniques, effective procedures, and standards for recording, documentation, and preservation of your work. Workshop instructors are seasoned professionals who have worked for over two decades as oral historians. After this workshop, you can test out your new skills by taking an oral history of your mother for a special Mother’s Day gift!


This workshop is presented in association with the Oregon Labor Oral History Program of the Pacific NW Labor History Association & the Labor Education and Research Center (LERC), University of Oregon.


Hatfield Historians Forum Lecture

WWII-EventRick Atkinson on World War II

Tuesday, May 12 at 7 PM

First Congregational Church

Tickets start at $22.50, purchase online or at the door

Rick Atkinson is a best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Washington Post journalist. He is the author of the Liberation Trilogy, a narrative history of the liberation of Europe in World War II. The third volume of the series, The Guns at Last Light, quickly became a number one New York Times best-seller and was named one of Washington Post’s “Top 10 Books of 2013.”


Annual Meeting of the Membership

Saturday, May 16 at 2 PM

Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public

Please RSVP to if you plan to attend


Please join us for the Oregon Historical Society’s 2015 Annual Meeting of the Membership. The program will begin at 2 p.m., and coffee, tea, and cookies will be provided. The Annual Meeting is an opportunity for you to learn about accomplishments at OHS during 2014 and our plans for 2015 and beyond.


History Pub

WWII-Event“WWII Veterans Tell Their Stories”

Monday, May 18 at 7 PM

Panel of WWII Veterans: Paul Meyer, Art Sorensen, and Ellen Johnson Thronson

McMenamins Kennedy School Theater

Free and open to the public

Paul Meyer served in the US Army 70th Division “Trailblazers” unit from Oregon as a machine gunner. He fought in the “Operation Nordwind,” the southern part of the Battle of the Bulge, was injured and carried out on a stretcher, and eventually was taken to recover in a hospital in England. Art Sorenson fought with the 104th Infantry Division as part of the second Allied advance across France, Belgium, and into Germany. He experienced fixed bayonet combat and spent time as a prisoner of war.  Sorenson was awarded a Purple Heart, Silver Star Medal, and two Bronze Star Medals. Ellen Johnson Thronson, RN, served in the United States Navy Nurse Corps at the Puget Sound Navy Yard and the Naval Air Station in San Diego. After completing special training in psychiatric nursing, she worked in hospital psychiatric departments caring for combat veterans suffering from “battle fatigue.”





Preservation Workshop

“Navigating Visual Collections: Access and Preservation of Moving Image and Photographic Materials”
Matthew Cowan, OHS Archivist for Photography & Moving Images
Saturday, June 6 at 10 AM
Oregon Historical Society
$20, $15 for OHS members
Buy Tickets Now


Films, videos, photographs and certain digital materials are often the most cherished of our private collections but many questions arise from identification and access to best methods for long term care. This workshop will cover basic questions of identification, storage and legacy issues as well as what it means to “digitize” – both the pros and the cons. In addition we will speak broadly about the history of film and photography – with examples of both from the collections of the Oregon Historical Society.


Second Sunday

"Constituted Bodies: How Oregon's Racial and Gendered Exclusions Compared to Contemporary Constitutions"
Jacki Hedlund Tyler, PhD
Sunday, June 14 at 2 PM
Free and open to the public


Oregon's original constitution represented legal exclusions both reflective and contrary to other state and territorial laws on the eve of the Civil War. In significant ways, however, Oregon's exclusions challenged perceptions of American citizenship and established legal precedents for legislation to restrict specific groups from political and natural rights. The racial and gendered exclusions of Oregon's constitution, in particular, provoked national discussion about issues of slavery, immigration, property-ownership, naturalization, and suffrage, while also questioning the authority of Congress over states' rights. Jacki Hedlund Tyler, who recently earned her Ph.D. at Washington State University, was the 2014 Donald J. Sterling, Jr., Graduate Fellow in Pacific Northwest History at the Oregon Historical Society. Her dissertation is titled "Power of Political Chatter: Settler Colonialism and the Construction of Race, Gender, and Citizenship in Oregon.” She has presented at many conferences and has published an article in the journal Western Legal History and entries in two volumes of Icons of Black America: Breaking Barriers and Crossing Boundaries.


David Eisenhower Lecture

WWII-EventRick Atkinson on World War II

Thursday, June 25 at 7 PM

First Congregational Church

Tickets: GA: $20 | OHS Member: $10

Buy Tickets Now


Join us for a special lecture on World War II with David Eisenhower, the grandson of Dwight D. Eisenhower. A noted historian, Eisenhower is the author of Eisenhower: At War and Coming Home to Glory, and was a featured lecturer in OHS's 2013 Mark O. Hatfield Distinguished Historians Forum.


Special Member Event!

All OHS members are invited to an exclusive reception and preview of World War II: A World at War, A State Transformed at the Oregon Historical Society from 5-6:30 p.m. Please RSVP to by June 19 if you plan to attend.


Tickets on sale now through!




Second Sunday

WWII-Event“1942 was Oregon’s Most Exciting Year”

Dr. G. Thomas Edwards

Sunday, July 12 at 2 PM

Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public


Drawing on both memory and research, historian Dr. G. Thomas Edwards will tell the stories of how World War II immediately brought massive changes to Oregon. Dr. Edwards cites many events as creating excitement in Oregon during 1942, including, for example: Japanese attacks and civilian defense on the coast, including armed guerrillas and first aid classes; Oregonians moving from small towns across the state to shipyard jobs in Portland; removal of Japanese Americans to incarceration camps and arrival of Latinos and African Americans for wartime work in the state; construction of Camp Adair and Vanport; and enrollment of 9,000 into the Oregon State Guard.


Living in Taft (now part of Lincoln City) at the time, Dr. Edwards participated in the war effort by collecting paper and metal, and buying war stamps and a war bond. Since then, he earned a BA in history from Willamette University and an M.A. and PhD from the University of Oregon and has researched, written, and spoken on the Second World War numerous times. His publications on the subject include the photo essay, “Red Heads to War Dogs: Taft, 1941–1943,” Oregon Historical Quarterly, Fall 2011. (Available free to members through JSTOR.)This program is presented in association with OHS’ exhibit, WWII: A World at War, A State Transformed.


Slideshow Presentation

“A Pictorial History of Oregon”

Thursday, July 30 at 8 PM

At the Des Chutes Historical Museum, Bend

Free and open to the public


The Oregon Historical Society is pleased to present A Pictorial History of Oregon – from James Cook’s early coastal forays in 1778 to the construction of the St. Johns Bridge in Portland in 1931. Comprised of approximately 100 glass lantern slides, this show was originally put together as a public educational program by the Colonial Dames of America in approximately 1935. With the assistance of Doug Kenck-Crispin, of Kick Ass Oregon History, we will use the original handwritten notes to narrate the program and the slides are projected using a Victor Stereopticon projector (circa 1915). In addition we will have an addendum to the program with notable slides from Deschutes, Lane and Klamath Counties as well as others from around the state.




Second Sunday

WWII-EventGood Work, Sister! Women Shipyard Workers of WWII, an Oral History

An audio-visual production of the Northwest Women’s History Project

Sunday, August 9 at 2 PM

Free and open to the public


During World War II, American women were actively recruited into defense jobs for the war effort. They were encouraged to enter skilled trades that had formerly been exclusive to men. This documentary presentation tells the stories of women who went to work in the shipyards of Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, between 1942 and 1945. In their own words, Good Work, Sister! illustrates the women’s problems and successes and describes the context in which skilled shipbuilding jobs were opened, and later closed, to women.


Make Your Next Meeting Historic!


Are you a member of a group or organization that would like to learn more about the Oregon Historical Society? Invite an OHS volunteer docent to attend your next meeting to learn about the exciting programs and services YOUR Historical Society has to offer!


Please fill out the form below and return to Rachel Randles at or by mail to 1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97205. Once we receive your request, we will connect you with a volunteer docent to further discuss your event.


Event Request Form (PDF)


Partner Events & Programs

Partner Spotlight - Fishtrap

"From the Wallowa Mountains to You: A Fishtrap Sampler"

Saturday, April 18 at 7 PM

Ecotrust | 721 NW 9th Avenue #200, Portland

Tickets: $30 | Buy Tickets Now

Join Northeast Oregon literary non-profit Fishtrap for its second annual fundraising event in Portland. The Sampler, filled with culinary, literary, and artistic bites (and alcoholic ones!) features performances by Robert Michael Pyle, Karen Fisher, Kate Power, and Steve Einhorn, a not-to-be-missed silent auction, and a presentation of a new venture, Fishtrap Story Lab. Don't miss this entertaining and elegant opportunity to support Oregon literature and hear from a rural non-profit based in the state's farther corner, right in your own backyard! All proceeds from this event go to Fishtrap's programs, which support writers and writing communities.


fishtrap sampler banner


Partner Spotlight - Milagro

American Night: The Ballad of Juan José

April 30 – May 23

By Richard Montoya, Directed by Elizabeth Huffman

Milagro | 425 SE 6th Avenue, Portland

Tickets are $16-$24 | Buy Tickets Now

Determined to become completamente an American, Mexican immigrant Juan José studies fervently for his citizenship test. His dream transforms into obsession, launching him on a madcap odyssey through America's past and present. Nine actors portray dozens of characters ranging from Abe Lincoln to Joan Baez, exploring stereotypes and truth in this provocative and irreverent romp through U.S. history! Written by Richard Montoya of the acclaimed comedy troupe Culture Clash, and based on the controversial book A People's History of the United States by historian Howard Zinn, American Night: The Ballad of Juan José is a sharp-eyed and sharp-witted look at the land of the free.


OHS Member Discount!

OHS members are offered a $5 discount on adult, full-price, tickets for any performance between May 1 and May 10; use the code MilagroOHS at checkout!


Join OHS & Milagro for a post-performance discussion with Dr. Marc Simon Rodriguez

Sunday, May 3 at 2 PM

Milagro | 425 SE 6th Avenue, Portland


After the performance on May 3, Dr. Marc Rodriguez will offer commentary and take questions from the audience about the history of Mexico and America, with particular attention to Oregon and the history of immigration. Dr. Rodriguez is an associate professor of history at Portland State University and the managing editor of the Pacific Historical Review; his publications include the award-winning The Tejano Diaspora: Mexican Americanism and the Ethnic Politics in Texas and Wisconsin (2011), Rethinking the Chicano Movement (2014), and, as editor, Repositioning North American Migration History: New Directions in Modern Continental Migration, Citizenship, and Community (2004).


Partner Spotlight - Willamette Founding Families
Sunday, May 3 at 2 PM
Portland Art Museum
Tickets: $50 | Buy Tickets Now

Screening portion offered free of charge by OPB

Join the Willamette Founding Families for an exclusive event at the Portland Art Museum featuring Sokol Blosser, Adelsheim, Elk Cove, Eyrie & Ponzi. Fifty years ago, Oregon's lush Willamette Valley welcomed Pinot Noir to its fertile slopes and crests. A handful of ambitious families formed an enduring bond around their passion for growing and crafting cool-climate wines of immense quality. Each under the same family ownership today, these founding wineries celebrate their rich history in this incredible region.


Event Schedule:

2:30 PM: OPB's "Grapes of Place" Screening

3:30 PM: Family Stories

4:00 PM: Legacy Tasting


Willamette Founding Families Event

Oregon Experience


Oregon Experience logo

Oregon Experience is a respected and long-standing community partnership between The Oregon Historical Society and Oregon Public Broadcasting. The strengths and assets of each organization merge together to produce historical documentaries that illuminate the grand heritage of our state.


OHS preserves and provides a vast collection of archival film, photographs and images from its vaults. Librarians and archivists work with OPB producers to find and make available these materials for use in the documentaries. Indeed, some of the materials showcased on Oregon Experience have never before been seen by the public.


OPB producers and editors, in turn, have the expertise to weave the components together into award winning documentaries that bring Oregon’s history to life.


Oregon Experience will engage and entertain you with stories about people and places - both familiar and forgotten – while building awareness of issues that have shaped Oregon in the past and continue to define its future.


We invite you to explore Oregon’s rich history through this unique partnership.

Upcoming Episodes:


Portland Civil Rights: Lift Ev'ry Voice

Lift Ev’ry Voice explores Portland’s African American history with a focus on the turbulent 1960s, ’70s and early ’80s. At the time, issues surrounding urban renewal, school desegregation and brittle police relations were exploding both nationally and locally. By the mid-20th century, Portland was still considered the most segregated and prejudiced city on the West Coast.


Premieres April 21 at 8 p.m. on OPB TV, followed by a live discussion with community leaders at 9:20 p.m.


Air Dates:

Tuesday, April 21, 8:00 PM

Thursday, April 23, 1:00 AM


NEW! Oregon Historical Photo of the Week

Every week, Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state's diverse, exciting history. All photos are courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society. Click for today's photo.

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