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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Hatfield Historians Forum Lecture

Todd Purdum on the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Tuesday, March 3 at 7 PM

First Congregational Church

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

While The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is often remembered as the legacy of John F. Kennedy, Todd Purdum reveals in An Idea Whose Time Has Come that the real champions were the senators and representatives who worked behind the scenes to get the bill passed. Written with insight gained from years of political reporting, including working as White House correspondent for the New York Times, this work chronicles how Congress, and the country, rose to the challenge of defeating the forces of bigotry and started the nation on a fresh path.


Genealogy Workshop

"Sail the Seas: Navigating Genealogy Databases"

Saturday, March 7 at 10 AM

Hannah Z. Allan, Genealogist, Oregon Historical Society

Oregon Historical Society

$20, $15 for OHS members

Buy Tickets Now


While technology has made genealogy research easier, quicker, and more accessible, the Internet has created wave after wave of family history websites and databases. Come learn how to use the top genealogy websites and how to explore new ones so that you can be an effective and efficient captain of your own family research.


Second Sunday

The Art of War: Propaganda Posters of World Wars I and II

Discussion & gallery tour with Dr. Kimberly Jensen & Dr. Dan Tichenor
Sunday, March 8 at 2 PM
Oregon Historical Society
Free and open to the publi


Join scholars of the First and Second World Wars for an in-gallery discussion of the ways wartime propagandists employed ideas about gender, race, religion, and national unity to produce powerful images with impacts far beyond military recruitment and bond purchasing. Drs. Jensen and Tichenor will guide visitors in a discussion about the private collection of original posters on display for the first time at the Oregon Historical Society.


Kimberly Jensen's publications include Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War, and Dan Tichenor's publications include Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America and the forthcoming Presidential Prerogatives: Liberty, Security, and Wartime Leadership.


Film Screening

"Far From Home"

Pages of Death and other films that have very little to do with Oregon

Wednesday, March 11 at 7 PM

Hollywood Theatre

Tickets: $8, purchase in advance online


From the vaults of the Oregon Historical Society comes an evening of 16mm orphan films that have one thing in common: we aren’t exactly sure why we have them. Mission statements and collection policies can only get you so far; best intentions occasionally fall well short. In addition to Pages of Death, a pro-censorship gem from 1962, expect to see anything from safety and educational films to slide shows and groovy trailers. Come enjoy the few bits of far flung A/V material that have managed to sneak past the archivists over the years.


Pages of Death (27 minutes) was produced by the Citizens for Decent Literature and introduced by Tom Harmon – father of Mark Harmon (Summer School). To quote Jim Linderman in Vintage Sleaze, Pages of Death tells the story of a fellow named “Paul Halliday who hung out reading pornography at Baker’s Variety Store until he couldn’t stand it any longer and murdered a girl in a whipped up frenzy of smut inspired rage.” Why do we have a print of this film? Hard to say for sure.


History Pub

“Night Life: Clubs, Restaurants, and the Music”
Organized in partnership with Oregon Black Pioneers
Monday, March 30 at 7 PM
McMenamins Kennedy School Theater

Free and open to the public


Explore the vibrant music and night life in Portland's African American community during the 1940s and 1950s through first-person accounts of the life. Speakers include Ben Johnson, Bill Rutherford, and Jim Thompson. This program is presented in collaboration with a special exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society, A Community on the Move: Black Portland during the 1940s and '50s.




Oregon History 101

The 1960s Came to Oregon… and Never Left”

Dr. Steven Johnson and Dr. Marisa Chappell

Monday, April 6 at 7 PM

McMenamins Kennedy School Theater

Free and open to the publicc


The social movements of the 1960s and 1970s transformed Oregon, just as they transformed the nation. Joining together to protest racial, gender, and sexual discrimination and to address environmental degradation, Oregonians engaged in a “civic reconstruction” which succeeded in reshaping the state’s politics, economy, and society. Steven Johnson will chronicle the unprecedented civic activism around environmental issues, and Marisa Chappell will trace movements for social justice in this era of heightened political and civic engagement. Both stories offer lessons for confronting today’s challenges.


Hatfield Historians Forum Lecture

Richard Norton Smith on Nelson Rockefeller

Tuesday, April 7 at 7 PM

First Congregational Church

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

Richard Norton Smith is a nationally recognized presidential historian and former head of six presidential libraries. In On His Own Terms, Smith draws on thousands of newly available documents to re-create Nelson Rockefeller's improbable rise to the governor's mansion, his politically disastrous divorce and remarriage, and his often surprising relationships with presidents and political leaders from FDR to Henry Kissinger. Smith once said, "There's no excuse for a dull book, a dull museum, or a dull speech. Especially when dealing with history—the most fascinating subject I know."


House History Workshop

Jennifer Keyser, Consulting Historian

Saturday, April 11 at 10 AM

Oregon Historical Society

$20, $15 for OHS members

Buy Tickets Now


Do you want to know the stories behind your old home? Learn how to uncover the history of your house using the resources at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, on the web, and at other local institutions. This class will introduce you to a wide variety of primary and secondary materials, including maps, city directories, photographs, newspapers, books and database that will allow you to piece together the history of your home.


Second Sunday

Glimpses of Portland Theater History”
Presented in partnership with triangle productions
Sunday, April 12 at 2 P
Oregon Historical Society
Free and open to the public


Organized in honor of triangle production’s upcoming production of “Storefront Actors’ Revue,” which will showcase that Portland theater of the 1970s and 1980s, this panel discussion will bring together some of the most longstanding leaders in our local theater community to reflect on its history. Speakers include José Gonzales, Executive Director and founder of Milagro Theater; Don Horn, Executive Director and founder of triangle productions; and Julianne R. Johnson-Weiss, an actor with over thirty years’ experience performing throughout Oregon and Washington. Bob Hicks, formerly of the Oregonian and now Performance and Visual Arts writer for Oregon Artswatch, will moderate the panel. OHS archival material related to Portland theater history will also be on display.


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. 


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.


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.




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.


David Eisenhower Lecture

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!


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

Affiliate Spotlight: McLoughlin House

Now open for the 2015 season!
Hours: Fridays & Saturdays through mid-December, 10 AM – 4 PM
Admission: Free, guided tours required to visit the house
Location: 713 Center Street, Oregon City


The McLoughlin House stands today as a reminder of the great contribution Dr. John McLoughlin made to the settlement of the Oregon Country. In 1909, it was threatened with demolition, but a group of concerned local citizens formed the McLoughlin Memorial Association to preserve and protect the house and the legacy of Dr. McLoughlin. They moved the house from its original location by the river up to its present location atop the bluff, restored it, and turned the house into a museum. The McLoughlin Memorial Association continues to actively support the McLoughlin House, in partnership with the National Park Service.


In 1941, the McLoughlin House was designated by Congress as a National Historic Site (the first in the West). It was added to the National Park System in 2003, as a unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. To learn more about the McLoughlin House and its history, visit

Panel Discussion

“Perspectives on World War I a Century Later”
Organized by the OSU Citizenship and Crisis Initiative and co-sponsored by the OSU School of History, Philosophy, and Religion
Monday, March 9 at 7 PM
Oregon Historical Society
Free and open to the public


Join us for a panel discussion on WWI with MIT Professor Christopher Capozzola and OSU Professors Jacob Hamblin, Christopher Nichols, and Kara Ritzheimer to examine the global dimensions of the conflict, patriotism and nationalism, the legacy of chemical weapons, and the relationship between citizens and the state. Capozzola will explore the citizenship and nationalism in wartime America and their implications for the present. Nichols will focus on the global dimensions of the war and on new international, historical analyses of the conflict. Hamblin will deploy a science and environment angle to discuss the mobilization of scientists and new technologies with an emphasis on the legacy of chemical weapons, in light of contemporary discussions of war. Ritzheimer will discuss WWI’s role in reshaping the relationship between citizens and the state, especially in Germany and vis-a-vis social welfare.


Everybody Reads 2015 Lecture

Mitchell S. Jackson, author of The Residue Years
Organized by Literary Arts in collaboration with the Multnomah County Library
Tuesday, March 10 at 7:30 PM
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Tickets: $15, purchase online


As the Multnomah County Library's pick for Everybody Reads 2015, The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson focuses on issues of gentrification and race, making the book an important and timely read for our city. Literary Arts will host Jackson on March 10 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall for the culminating event of this community reading project. Join us by reserving a seat at this community event today. For more information, visit the Literary Arts website.


Slideshow Presentation

“A Pictorial History of Oregon”
Thursday, April 16 from 6:30 - 8 PM
Multnomah Athletic Club
Private event for MAC members & guests

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, the images are projected using a Victor Stereopticon projector (circa 1915) and we will use the original notes to narrate the slides.
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:


Lola G. Baldwin

On April 1, 1908 Lola G. Baldwin was sworn in “to perform police service” for Portland, Oregon and became the nation’s first policewoman. As Superintendent of the new Women’s Protective Division, Detective Baldwin crusaded for the moral and physical welfare of young, single working women. Her goal was to prevent them from being lured into lives of prostitution and crime by offering positive alternatives and by making the city safe.


Air Dates:

Monday, March 16, 9:00 PM

Wednesday, March 18, 2:00 AM


Sagebrush Symphony

The Portland Youth Philharmonic is America's first youth orchestra. But the story of the PYP begins in Burns where a violinist named Mary Dodge shared her love of music with the local children. As their talent emerged, Dodge formed a children's orchestra called the Sagebrush Symphony that captivated audiences statewide.


Air Dates: 

Monday, March 16, 9:30 PM

Wednesday, March 18, 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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