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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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.




Early Closure Saturday, April 4

The Oregon Historical Society museum and research library will be closing at 3 p.m. for a private event. We apologize for the inconvenience!


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.


Research Library Closed Tuesday April 7 & Wednesday April 8

Due to building maintenance projects, the Oregon Historical Society research library will be closed to the public on April 7 & 8, re-opening on Thursday, April 9. Library staff will be available by phone or email to answer any research questions. We apologize for the inconvenience!


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.


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.




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

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

Slideshow Presentation
“A Pictorial History of Oregon”
Wednesday, April 15 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:


Tom McCall

Tom McCall, Oregon’s chief executive from 1967 to 1975, may go down in history as the state’s most productive governor. He was certainly the most interesting. Nearly forty years after he left office and thirty years after his death, Oregon Governor Tom McCall remains one of the state’s most renowned political figures. He envisioned a quality of environment and life unique to Oregon, and he worked relentlessly to protect those values.


Air Dates:

Monday, April 6, 9:00 PM

Wednesday, April 8, 2:00 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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