Oregon Historical Society Re-Launches “Historians and the News” Virtual Series with Kathleen Belew on September 8
September 4, 2021
The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) is excited to re-launch its popular “Historians and the News” series with a conversation between University of Chicago professor Dr. Kathleen Belew and Oregon State University professor Dr. Christopher McKnight Nichols on Wednesday, September 8. This free virtual program series, which has previously hosted historians Heather Cox Richardson, Erika Lee, Joanne Freeman, and Kevin Kruse, provides a space for some of the nation’s most renowned historians to discuss their insights about current events, informed by years of scholarly analysis of the past. As the House select committee investigating the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 has begun to hold hearings and new reporting reveals the seriousness of the attempt to overturn the 2020 election, militaristic white-supremacist organizations such as the Proud Boys continue to hold rallies in cities including Portland, Salem, and Los Angeles. In this installment of “Historians and the News,” Dr. Belew and Dr. Nichols will discuss how these events have historical roots in mid-twentieth century white supremacist movements. Dr. Belew’s research explores how white power activists created a social movement through a common narrative about betrayal by the government and the weapons, uniforms, and technologies of war. By uniting Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, and other groups, the movement mobilized and carried out escalating acts of violence that reached a crescendo in the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City. Professor Belew’s conclusion that this movement was never adequately confronted, and remains a presence in American life, is all too clear today.
July 8, 2021
On Monday, July 12 — what would have been Senator Mark O. Hatfield’s 99th birthday — the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) is proud to kick-off a yearlong series of programs and activities honoring the life and legacy of Senator Hatfield. All are invited to the first event in this series: a free public exhibit opening celebrating OHS’s original traveling exhibit, The Call of Public Service: The Life and Legacy of Mark O. Hatfield. In honor of the Senator’s birthday, admission to the museum will be free all day on July 12. A brief program will begin at 11am in the Oregon Historical Society’s pavilion (1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland) and will include remarks from State Senator Betsy Johnson, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. Antoinette Hatfield, wife of the late Senator, will officially open the exhibit with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. The exhibit will remain on view in the OHS pavilion through August 2 before traveling to museums, libraries, and civic centers around the state, returning to OHS for the 100th anniversary of the Senator’s birth on July 12, 2022.
June 23, 2021
Despite the historically challenging 2020–2021 school year, 50 middle and high school students across the state of Oregon participated in this year's National History Day (NHD) contest, presenting individual or group projects in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Four Oregon entries made it to the Finals Round and placed in the top 10 in the nation, with three entries earning special awards and nominations. These high-quality entries advanced to the national contest after placing first or second in the virtual Oregon History Day contest, competing against more than 2,700 students with over 1,500 unique entries from across the country.
The Pedal Powered Talk Show Bike Donated to the Oregon Historical Society; Takes Final Joy Ride on June 10
June 8, 2021
The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) is excited to share the most recent addition to its collections: the one-of-a-kind cargo bike from “The Pedal Powered Talk Show.” The bike, which has pedaled to rooftops, canyon rims, shoe factories, roller skating rinks, and goat fields, will take its final joy ride through downtown Portland at 4:30pm on Thursday, June 10. A decade ago, Boaz Frankel and Phillip Ross embarked on a mission to combine two of their favorite things: talk shows and cargo bikes. Hailing from a state where bicycling is beloved, cargo bike builder Ross accepted the challenge of designing a mobile talk show — and a few months later, the Pedal Powered Talk Show was born. Built from aircraft grade steel, locally sourced bamboo, and custom wheels, the eight foot, seventy-five pound bike has transported host Frankel to interviews with unicycling bagpipers, best-selling authors, 80-year old drag queens, famous musicians, and the Baldwin brothers. After recording 64 episodes over five seasons, concluding in 2016, Frankel and Ross decided that the bike deserved its own place in Oregon history, and contacted OHS Deputy Museum Director Nicole Yasuhara, who oversees the museum’s vast collections. The over 75,000 objects safeguarded in the OHS museum collection include costumes and textiles, Native American belongings, artworks, and both notable and everyday items. While the OHS collections contain various vehicles from the Benson automobile to a horse drawn hearse, a mobile talk show bike is a unique addition to the collection.
Oregon Historical Society joins Digital Public Library of America as inaugural member of Northwest Digital Heritage Hub
May 25, 2021
The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) is pleased to announce its participation in Northwest Digital Heritage (NWDH, northwestdigitalheritage.org). This collaborative effort by the Washington State Library, State Library of Oregon, and the Oregon Heritage Commission provides free, public access to materials in Oregon and Washington libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA, dp.la) — a discovery portal for millions of cultural heritage items from across the United States. “Participating in the Northwest Digital Heritage hub of the Digital Public Library of America means that thousands of the unique historical items OHS cares for — including important documents and brilliant photographs of Oregon places and people — will now be even more discoverable by Oregonians and students, teachers, and researchers across the globe,” said OHS Research Library Director Shawna Gandy.
September 7, 2021
By Gabby Urenda, KOIN. It can be difficult to process all of the historical events we live through, but the Oregon Historical Society is re-launching a virtual series to talk about how the past fits in with the present. “Historians in the News” is a series that officers critical historical perspectives to shine light on contemporary issues. The next event will feature a conversation between University of Chicago professor Dr. Kathleen Belew and Oregon State University professor Dr. Christopher McKnight Nichols. As the U.S. House select committee investigates the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Belew and Nichols will discuss the event along with extreme far-right groups — such as the Proud Boys – holding or attending rallies in Portland and other cities. Both of the professors will discuss how these events have historical roots in mid-20th century white supremacist movements, according to OHS.
May 20, 2021
By Sage Van Wing, OPB. The United States has been willing to lead the world in large-scale strategic planning in the past. The creation of the United Nations, or the fight against HIV/AIDs are good examples. A new book edited by Oregon State University’s Christopher McKnight Nichols makes the case that “grand strategies” do not have to be military in nature. In fact, Nichols argues that global strategic planning, led by powerful nations like the U.S., will be necessary to forestall future pandemics. Christopher McKnight Nichols and Elizabeth Bradley, president of Vassar College and contributor to the new book, join us to discuss the history and future of grand strategy.
January 27, 2021
The Jefferson Exchange, Jefferson Public Radio. The scene at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is one of the most famous in movie history: a great historical artifact is packed away in a huge warehouse, unlikely to be seen again. The story of the banner from the Navy battleship U.S.S. Oregon reminds us of that scene. With one key difference: the banner was found, in storage at the Oregon Historical Society. This is not just a banner that hangs on a wall; it was made to fly from the top of the ship in a stiff breeze. It is 215 feet long when completely unfurled. Silvie Andrews at OHS found that out when she discovered the banner rolled up at OHS. She is our guest in this month's edition of Underground History, our joint venture with the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology.
Moving forward by turning to the past: Oregon Historical Quarterly takes a deep dive into Oregon’s white supremacist roots
June 28, 2020
By Brittany Falkers, KGW-TV. To move forward, we must first understand our past. That was the goal of the Oregon Historical Society’s 2019 winter issue of Oregon Historical Quarterly (OHQ). “We’re a scholarly journal we do academic history,” OHQ Editor Eliza Canty-Jones said. “And so being able to get into those complexities and those subtleties in a way that helps surface that structure overall, that’s our sweet spot. That’s what we’re able to do.” The scholarly journal’s special winter 2019 issue: 'White Supremacy and Resistance’ digs deep into Oregon’s white supremacist roots from glaring to subtle chapters from the past. The scholar examines a vast range of prolonged white supremacy; from violence against tribal peoples as white pioneers made their way west, to the discriminatory practices in the Labor Movement, and the murder of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian college student killed by White supremacists in Portland in 1988.
June 24, 2020
The Jefferson Exchange, Jefferson Public Radio. We are witnessing a prolonged period of attention on race relations, following the death of George Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of police. Oregon is one of the whitest states in the union, but one of the most outspoken on civil rights. The history of the state's attitudes is explored in last winter's issue of Oregon Historical Quarterly, focused on White supremacy and resistance to it. This month's edition of Underground History invites editor Eliza Canty-Jones, Director of Community Engagement at the Oregon Historical Society, onto the air. She is joined by our regular partner, Chelsea Rose of the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA).
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