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 Archives Crawl & Community Day

Saturday, October 18 from 10 AM – 3 PM

Access to archival institutions at OHS, Multnomah County Central Library, and City of Portland Archives and Records Center

Free and open to the public


The fourth annual Oregon Archives Crawl takes place in three locations — Multnomah County Central Library, Oregon Historical Society, and City of Portland Archives and Records Center — and features collections from dozens more. This celebration of Oregon Archives Month offers the opportunity to meet real, live archivists representing over thirty Oregon archives and cultural organizations and see fabulous examples from their varied collections! OHS will feature special library tours and activities for the whole family. Admission is free for everyone all day! Visit the Oregon Archives Crawl website for up to the date information.


NOTE: The Research Library will be closed on Saturday, October 18 for the Oregon Archives Crawl.


PDX Home Movie Day

Saturday, October 18 from 1 PM – 5 PM

At the Northwest Film Center

Free and open to the public


Home Movie Day is an international event put on locally by film folks interested in dusting off and projecting the home movies found in your basements and attics. Films to be projected include 16mm, 8 mm and super 8 mm. No video tapes will be screened. All movies will be inspected and repaired before projecting. Audience members are encouraged to watch others’ home movies and participate in the screenings while waiting for their own films. Information will also be available regarding transfer services in the Northwest, best practices for storing movies at home, and organizations that might be interested in accepting your films into their permanent collection. For more information on the history of Home Movie Day as well as other locations around the world visit the Center for Home Movies.


Get up to date event information on the PDX Home Movie Day Tumblr. Questions on if your film fits the event specifications? Contact OHS Archivist for Photography and Moving Images Matthew Cowan at


Panel Discussion: 100 Years of Women in the Legislature

Wednesday, October 22 at 7 PM

Free and open to the public

Space is limited! Please RSVP to


This November marks the 100th anniversary of the election of State Representative Marian Towne, the first woman to serve in the Oregon State Legislature.  She would be joined in the 1915 legislative session by Kathryn Clarke, who was elected in a special election in January, 1915. To celebrate this centennial, OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk will moderate a program featuring a panel of former and current women state legislators, who will share stories of their challenges, experiences, and accomplishments. Panelists are:


Vicki Berger

Oregon State Representative 2003-present


Margaret Carter

Oregon State Representative 1985-1999

Oregon State Senator 2001-2009

First African-American woman to serve in the Oregon State Legislature


Bev Clarno

Oregon State Representative 1989-1997

Oregon State Senator 2001-2004

2nd woman to serve as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives


Darlene Hooley

Oregon State Representative 1981-1987

Clackamas County Commissioner 1987-1996

Member, United States House of Representatives 1997-2009


Deborah Kafoury

Oregon State Representative 1999-2004

Multnomah County Commissioner 2009-2013

Chair, Multnomah County Commission 2014-present


Betsy Johnson

Oregon State Representative 2001-2007

Oregon State Senator, 2007-present


Genealogy Workshop

History for the Genealogist & How to Use Historical Societies 

Thursday, October 23, 1 PM 3 PM

At the Oregon Historical Society

Cost: $15 for members, $20 for non members

Buy tickets now!

Space is limited to so sign up soon!

Is the disappearance of your ancestor in 1850 causing you stress at night? Or perhaps you want to know what it was like to live in the time and place of your great grandmother. General history may be the key to solving your mysteries! This lecture will demonstrate how to overcome genealogical road blocks and flesh out an ancestor’s story through general history. You will also learn the value of historical societies and how to use their resources to find records, answer questions, and write biographies. Let’s put the “History” in Family History!


Archives Overview Workshop

Friday, October 24 from 9 AM – 5 PM

Anne M. Ostendarp

At the Oregon Historical Society – Madison Room

Early Bird Cost (by September 24): SAA Member - $189, Employees of Member Institutions -$219, Nonmember - $249

Regular Cost: SAA Member - $249, Employees of Member Institutions - $279, Nonmember - $299


Are you working in a small public library, archives, or historical society? Do you have historical records that you don’t quite know what to do with? In this workshop you’ll get an overview of basic archival theory, functions, and practices that protect the integrity of historical records. The workshop will give you a basis for further learning.


In this workshop, you will:


  1. Learn archives and historical records terminology, and get an overview of the body of knowledge needed, ethical responsibilities, and resources for additional information;
  2. Hear about core policy statements, professional standards, and best practices;
  3. Get tools for control of your collections;
  4. Find out about basic preservation steps you can implement;
  5. Learn the basics of arrangement and description; and,
  6. Walk away knowing what your next steps should be.


Enrollment is limited, so register now if you’d like to attend.


NOTE: The Research Library will be closed on Friday, October 24 for the Archives Workshop.


History Pub

"Economic Phoenix: A. B. Hammond, the Panic of 1893, and the Astoria and Columbia River Railroad"

Monday, October 27 at 7 PM

At McMenamins Kennedy School

Free and open to the public; canned food donations accepted for the Oregon Food Bank


Greg Gordon is an assistant professor of Environmental Studies at Gonzaga University, having received his PhD in History from the University of Montana. His latest book, Money Does Grow on Trees: A. B. Hammond and the Age of the Timber Baron explores the ecological costs of frontier capitalism. Although reviled in his home state, Montana businessman and railroad builder, A. B. Hammond was regarded as a hero in Oregon upon his completion of the long-awaited Astoria and Columbia River Railroad. This presentation will focus on Hammond’s railroad and lumber enterprises activity in Oregon at the turn-of-the-century and how he turned one of the nation’s worst depressions to his advantage.


History Pub is organized by McMenamins, Holy Names Heritage Center, and OHS, and supported by a grant from the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition (funded via Oregon Cultural Trust).


Oregon Encyclopedia History Night

“Using Ancient DNA & Geochemistry to Determine Past Salmon & Trout Distribution in the Klamath Basin of Southeast Oregon”

Virginia Butler

Tuesday, October 28 at 6:30 PM

At McMenamins Edgefield

Free and open to the public


Each month, The Oregon Encyclopedia hosts History Nights at McMenamins Pubs in Portland and Bend. The Oregon Encyclopedia is part of the Oregon Historical Society's Digital History Projects, in partnership with Portland State University and the Oregon Council of Teachers of English. The OE is also supported by the Oregon Cultural Trust through the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, Willamette University, and the Oregon State Library.


Film Screening – “Strange Tales”

Part of OHS Film Archivist Matthew Cowan’s PICA Resource Room Residency

Thursday, October 30 at 7:30 PM

At Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)

415 SW 10th Ave. Ste. 300

Free and open to the public


Matthew Cowan and PICA are pleased to present an evening of haunted (and not so haunted) projections – including 35mm filmstrips, 16mm motion pictures and glass lantern slides. The program may include civil rights news footage from Portland in the 1970s, a Czech interpretation of a L. Carroll poem, a how-to on identifying whether your house is haunted, and an educational slide show from the Portland school system. Eye surgery footage – in color – will not be screened but 1920s goiter surgery – in B&W – might make an appearance. *Children strongly cautioned. Adults forewarned.


Films and slides are generously provided by the Oregon Historical Society as well as private donors. Total running time approximately 70 minutes. This is the second public program of None of Your Funeral, a 2014 Resource Room Residency at PICA. These programs hope to explore both personal and shared histories through public exhibition of original materials.


Wayne Morse Political Cartoon Exhibit

September – October

Part of the Wayne Morse Legacy Series

University of Oregon Library, Eugene

Free & open to the public


Featuring Jack Ohman, political cartoonist, as keynote speaker on September 30. Wayne Morse collected over one hundred signed original editorial cartoons that were published about him in newspapers around the country. This exhibit will display a representative sample that illustrates his legacy not only during the Vietnam era but also his contributions and controversies with the Republican Party, disputes with several presidents, and conservation and labor issues. Cosponsors include the University of Oregon Libraries and the Wayne Morse Historical Park Board Corporation.

This event is part of the Wayne Morse Legacy Series presented by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Wayne Morse was known for many policies that he championed – labor rights, civil rights, aid to education and conservation. But his most enduring legacy is his consistent and courageous dissent against the Vietnam War. These programs highlight Morse’s prescient opposition to the war on constitutional and moral grounds and the continuing issues of war powers and military policy. All events are free and opened to the public and are cosponsored by The UO Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, Oregon Historical Society, World Affairs Council of Oregon, and The Constitution Project.




Oregon History 101

How the Donation Land Act Created the State of Oregon and Influenced its History

Dr. David Johnson, Professor of History, Portland State University  

Monday, November 3 at 7 pm

At McMenamins Kennedy School
Free and open to the public; all ages welcome


The Oregon Donation Land Law, passed by Congress in 1850, divided land into square plots that are still visible on the western Oregon landscape. The law allowed for white males and married women to claim 320 acres of free land, which helped spur the westward resettlement of European Americans to the Oregon territory and had lasting impact on the economic, political, and cultural development of the state. Professor Johnson will discuss how the Donation Land Act of 1850 initiated a land rush to Oregon, hastened the European American conquest of the territory, and—by virtue of the sheer size of the Donation Land claimant population—influenced almost every aspect of the region’s subsequent transformation into a U.S. territory and state.


David A. Johnson is a professor of history at Portland State University. His field of expertise is United States social and intellectual history. Johnson is the managing editor of the Pacific Historical Review.


Oregon History 101 is a nine-month public history program series designed to give Oregonians a basic understanding of the state’s significant people, places, and events. Each month, historians present a chapter of Oregon History, beginning with the earliest peoples and ending with the turn of the twenty-first century. The series emphasizes Oregon’s connection to historical themes in American History, including Native history, early exploration, western expansion, race, gender, and social justice, and the post-industrial economy. Each presentation will feature images from the Oregon Historical Society archives and will be filmed and made available on the World Wide Web, along with research guides and other digitized material from The Oregon Encyclopedia and the Oregon History Project. Learn more on

The Oregon Encyclopedia.


Lecture: How Could this Happen: Explaining the Holocaust

Dr. Dan McMillan

Wednesday, November 6 at 7 PM

Co-hosted by the Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, and World Affairs Council of Oregon

Admission: $10; $5 for OHS, OJMCHE, and WAC members

Registration required at


While there is no shortage of excellent scholarship and historical research on the Holocaust, there has been little that has adequately answered the vital question: How was such a nightmare possible in the heart of Western civilization? Historian Dan McMillan distills the vast body of Holocaust research into a compelling analysis that looks at a combination of factors—from Germany's failure to become a democracy until 1918 to the widespread acceptance of anti-Semitism and scientific racism, aftermath of World War I, and the class and political divisions it produced. Putting the Holocaust into context with other tragic genocides including Rwanda, Cambodia, and Armenia, McMillian offers a compelling argument for how the perfect storm of bleak circumstances, malevolent ideas, and damaged personalities unleashed such terrifying atrocity and asking the question: Could this ever happen again?


Dan McMillan holds a PhD in German history from Columbia University and a law degree from Fordham University, and has worked as a history professor and a prosecuting attorney. He lives in New York City.


Second Sunday

“Imagining the Other: Cannibalism, Early Maps, and European Creation of Amerindian Civility”

Dr. James V. Walker

Sunday, November 9 at 2 PM

At the Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public


Cannibalism was a central theme in European discourse about the New World in the sixteenth century, when Europeans associated the practice with an uncivilized, savage lifestyle and pagan ideology. With text, toponyms, and images, early maps provided and sustained a spatial understanding of the alleged practice and location of cannibalism from specific regions to the entirety of the New World. Dr. Walker, an avid map collector of over thirty years, offers a fully illustrated talk that explores the ways maps helped foster European ideas of Native Americans in the early centuries after sustained contact.


Book Talk and Signing

The Life and Legends of Calamity Jane

Dr. Richard W. Etulain

Wednesday, November 12 at 6 PM

Free and open to the public


Everyone knows the name Calamity Jane. Scores of dime novels and movie and TV Westerns have portrayed this original Wild West woman as an adventuresome, gun-toting hellion. Although Calamity Jane has probably been written about more than any other woman of the nineteenth-century American West, fiction and legend has largely obscured the facts of her life. This lively, concise, and exhaustively researched biography traces the real person from the Missouri farm where she was born in 1856 through the development of her notorious persona as a Wild West heroine.


Richard W. Etulain is Professor Emeritus of History and former director of the Center for the American West at the University of New Mexico. Former editor of the New Mexico Historical Review, he is the author or editor of more than 50 books. He lives in Clackamas, Oregon.


Film Screening

"Made in Oregon: 16mm Industrial Films from the Pacific Northwest"

Wednesday, November 12 at 7:30 PM (running time approx. 70 min)

At the Hollywood Theatre

Regular Hollywood Theatre admission required; tickets on sale soon!


From the vaults of the Oregon Historical Society comes an evening of 16mm films produced by local area businesses. Primarily from the 1960s through the early 1980s, these films were created as public service announcements, training films, and as plain old goofy advertisements. Learn why it might make sense to open an Organ Grinder franchise, how Son of Hibachi makes the party, or why Homer Groening thinks we can make the world a better place. Some of the local institutions that will grace the big screen with their weirdness include: The Organ Grinder, the Oregon Zoo, Tektronix, Jantzen Swimwear, Blitz Beer, and more.


Genealogy Workshop

Mastering the Basics: Starting Your Family Tree and Improving Your Searches 

Saturday, November 15, 10am-Noon

At the Oregon Historical Society

Cost: $15 for members, $20 for non members

Buy tickets now!

Space is limited to so sign up soon!


Whether you are somewhat experienced at family history or if you are just learning how to spell "g-e-n-e-a-l-o-g-y," mastering research basics is vital to achieving your goals. Come learn how to access basic genealogy records, draw clues from the information you have, and navigate online search engines. You will be well on your way to becoming a skilled genealogist.


History Pub

"The Journey of the Pickathon Music Festival: Past, Present, and Future"

Zale Schoenborn

NOTE EARLY DATE: Monday, November 17 at 7 PM

At McMenamins Kennedy School

Free and open to the public; canned food donations accepted for the Oregon Food Bank


Join us as Pickathon founder Zale Schoenborn describes how exploring the nexus of art, design, sustainability, community, and media came together to create something wholly unique in the world of contemporary Music Festivals. History Pub is organized by McMenamins, Holy Names Heritage Center, and OHS, and supported by a grant from the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition (funded via Oregon Cultural Trust).


Note: There will be no History Pub in December. We will see you back at McMenamins Kennedy School in 2015!


Screening: The Gentleman of the Senate: Oregon’s Mark Hatfield

Thursday, November 20, 7 PM

At the Oregon Historical Society

$10 | Buy Tickets Now


During his service as Governor of Oregon from 1959-67 and as United States Senator from 1967-97, Mark Hatfield earned a reputation for independence and integrity. Documentarians Kevin Curry, Devon Lyon, and Rick Dancer recently completed The Gentleman of the Senate: Oregon’s Mark Hatfield, a ninety-minute documentary on Hatfield’s life and legacy. The documentary features interviews with many of Hatfield’s former colleagues and staff members who reflect on subjects ranging from Hatfield’s opposition to the Vietnam War, his fight for the restoration of Oregon’s Native American tribes, and his efforts to direct additional federal resources to health research. The Oregon Historical Society is proud to have provided archival footage and photographs to support the creation of this documentary. Following the movie, OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk will moderate a question and answer session with documentarian Kevin Curry.




Oregon History 101

Immigration and Ethnicity

Dr. Jacqueline Peterson-Loomis, Emeritus Professor of History, Washington State University 

Monday, December 1 at 7 pm

At McMenamins Kennedy School
Free and open to the public; all ages welcome


Oregon History 101 is a nine-month public history program series designed to give Oregonians a basic understanding of the state’s significant people, places, and events. Each month, historians present a chapter of Oregon History, beginning with the earliest peoples and ending with the turn of the twenty-first century. The series emphasizes Oregon’s connection to historical themes in American History, including Native history, early exploration, western expansion, race, gender, and social justice, and the post-industrial economy. Each presentation will feature images from the Oregon Historical Society archives and will be filmed and made available on the World Wide Web, along with research guides and other digitized material from The Oregon Encyclopedia and the Oregon History Project. Learn more on The Oregon Encyclopedia.


Holiday Cheer: A Celebration of Oregon Authors

Sunday, December 7 from Noon – 4 PM


For nearly 50 years, the Oregon Historical Society has celebrated the literary talents of Oregonians at this annual holiday book sale and signing. Meet your favorite author, and take home a personally signed book for the perfect local holiday gift. All authors who are invited to participate have published in the current year, and many will have multiple books available for sale. Enjoy holiday treats, music, and more as we kick off the holiday season at the Oregon Historical Society!


Community Day

Fisherpoets presentation and workshop

Saturday, December 13 from 11 AM – 3 PM

Free and open to the public


The Oregon Folklife Network and OHS are pleased to present an afternoon with some of Oregon’s fisherpoets, many of whom are best known for their annual winter gathering in Astoria each February. Commercial fishermen, which include men and women, have long composed songs and written verse and prose about the drama, dangers, and funny side their work. A variety of our state’s finest, including Cary Jones (Eugene), Moe Bowstern, Jon Broderick, and Jay Speakman, will perform from 1-3 PM. There will also be opportunities to participate in a writing workshop preceding the performance (first come, first served). There will also be children’s activities including knot tying lessons.


Learn more about the fisherpoets attending the event on their websites:


Mo Bowstern:

Jon Broderick and Jay Speakman:

Cary Jones:


Second Sunday

“The Wake of Vanport”

Oral history screening presented by The Vanport Multimedia Project

Sunday, December 14 at 2 PM

Free and open to the public


“The Wake of Vanport” is so named to honor the death of a city and the viewing of its history through the collection of Vanport stories told by the voices of those who lived there. It is also a celebration of life after loss. Vanport is a lost city of Oregon with a rich history for all Oregonians. Join us for this screening of multimedia works produced during the 2014 Vanport Multimedia Project dedicated to collecting and preserving Vanport survivors’ stories. Community members, local historians, artists, media makers, and educators collaborated to turn oral history interviews into short and powerful pieces of digital audio and visual narrative. Immediately following the screening there will be an opportunity for discussion with survivors and producers. Refreshments will be served.


The Vanport Multimedia Project is an ongoing project of North Portland Multimedia Training Center (NPMTC) to collect and archive oral history from individuals in the Portland African American community. The 2014 Vanport Multimedia Project is generously supported by the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Oregon Community Foundation, the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, and The Skanner Newsgroup. NPMTC is a project of The Skanner Foundation.


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


Opening Reception - Zena Zezza


Sunday, October 19, 2-5 PM

At the Hallock & McMillan building

237 SW Naito Parkway, Portland 97204

Free and open to the public


Zena master small


Zena Zezza, a project directed by Sandra Percival, has the fortuitous use of a new space and invites you to the opening of the first projects at the Hallock & McMillan—Portland's oldest commercial structure built in 1857, predating Oregon's statehood (1859). The Hallock & McMillan stands as testimony to Portland's history and is located across from Waterfront Park in the heart of Old Town. Zena's use of the space is through the generosity of John Russell and Russell Fellows Properties. Special thanks to Geoff Wexler, Library Director, and the Oregon Historical Society for their partnership in realizing the "1857 Project."


Anthony McCall: Artist Project Season

New York-based British artist Anthony McCall's solid light installation, "You and I, Horizontal" fills part of the upper floor with immaterial sculptural forms which create a new spatial experience of the Hallock & McMillan. Since the early '70s, McCall has redefined the boundaries between sculpture, film, performance and drawing, and between the viewer and the work. Coincident with his work in Portland, McCall's work is being shown in Amsterdam, Auckland, Metz, France, and Santiago de Compostela.  


Laura Heit: 1857 Project

Zena introduces the "1857 Projects" which this season look back to the mid-to-late 1800s. Portland artist Laura Heit re-imagines Portland's history and the Great Flood of 1894 in a two-part installation using animation, projection and photographs from the archive and collection of the Oregon Historical Society's Davies Family Research Library. Heit's films and performances often deal with subjects from the mundane to the cataclysmic. 


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.


State of Jefferson: Pre-broadcast Screenings

Wednesday, November 12, 6:30 PM & 8:00 PM

Ross Ragland Theater, Cultural Center

218 N. 7th Street, Klamath Falls


Friday, November 14, 7:00 PM

Meese Auditorium, Southern Oregon University

1250 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland

Free and open to the public


Anyone living in Southern Oregon or Northern California is probably also a resident of the State of Jefferson. The mythical Jefferson is the product of local lore, regional identity, and pride for its residents. It remains a symbol of an enduring rural-urban divide. Now, some are working to make it the 51st official state.


State of Jefferson premieres Monday, November 17 at 9 p.m. on OPB TV.


Upcoming Episodes:


Searching for York

The Lewis & Clark Expedition was a pivotal moment in American history. But the story of York, a slave to William Clark and comrade on this journey, has been obscured by omission and stereotype. Searching for York paints a portrait of this unofficial member of the Corps of Discovery as it discusses the ways in which history is written.


Air Dates: 

Monday, October 20, 9:00 PM 

Wednesday, October 22, 2:00 AM


The Logger's Daughter

In 1923, a Missouri lumber company built a town in northeastern Oregon named Maxville. Hundreds of loggers left Arkansas and Mississippi to live and work there. Many brought their families, and many were African Americans. While the town has long since disappeared, the Maxville story is still unfolding. The Logger’s Daughter follows Gwen Trice, an African-American woman who was born and raised in Eastern Oregon, as she sets out to explore her family’s past.


Air Dates: 

Monday, October 20, 9:30 PM 

Wednesday, October 22, 2:30 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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