Oregon Voices on the Road: New and Updated Traveling Exhibits

February 23, 2021

By Tara Cole

The Oregon Historical Society’s “Oregon Voices” traveling exhibit has five, three-sided pop-up kiosks that cover different topics in the state’s history.

The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) traveling exhibit program helps fulfill our mission to “preserve our state’s history and make is accessible to everyone in ways that advance knowledge and inspire curiosity about all the people, places, and events that have shaped Oregon.” Currently, OHS has eight traveling exhibits available to rent, including a new Oregon Voices traveling exhibit completed in 2021!

Traveling exhibits have been part of OHS’s offerings for decades, and when I began managing the program in 2019, I had the opportunity to review and inventory the exhibits — a few of which had been in storage for a number of years. I was excited to find two older exhibits that were still very relevant, Deep Blue and Places by the Sea, which we updated and are now on display.  

Rectangular black and white images from the traveling exhibit, Places by the Sea, above blue airport seats. Photograph courtesy of Wendy Given.

“Places by the Sea,” one of the Oregon Historical Society’s eight currently active traveling exhibits, is on display at the Portland International Airport through August 2021. Photograph courtesy of Wendy Given.

Deep Blue: From National Wonder to National Park, a historic photographic exhibit about Crater Lake, is on display at the Oregon Historical Society until April 25, 2021. Although OHS is currently closed to the public to slow the spread of COVID-19, Deep Blue is ready for visitors to enjoy once our museum is able to safely reopen. Places by the Sea features images and replica postcards of the Oregon coast from 1906 to 1920. It is on loan and is on display inside the Portland International Airport car rental lobby until August 14, 2021.

In addition to updating existing traveling exhibits, I was also tasked with creating a new one. To help determine which exhibit would be most beneficial to our statewide affiliates and partner organizations, OHS sent a traveling exhibit interest survey in early January 2020. The survey asked participants to rank five possible topics in order of preference and answer opened-ended questions based on their rankings. Fifty-seven people responded to the survey and the winning topic was Oregon Voices. Twenty respondents ranked Oregon Voices as their number one choice, and another fourteen said it was their second choice. One respondent said they chose Oregon Voices because “we are looking to engage our community in the conversation around diversity, inclusion, access, and equality; and how our local history impacts our present perceptions, and cultural values.”

Oregon Voices may sound familiar to museum visitors because it is based on OHS’s permanent exhibit by the same name. The Oregon Voices traveling exhibit examines some of the important people, industries, organizations, and laws that have shaped the state from the end of World War II to 2020. Each kiosk covers a different topic on Oregon history, including Oregon’s industry and economy, equal rights and social justice, migration and immigration, the environment and energy, and Indigenous nations in Oregon. Visitors can learn about the people of Oregon and the laws that shape the Oregon we know today. 

Rectangular panel with rounded corners that features photographs and displays bold title “Oregon Voices.”
The “Oregon Voices” kiosk is one of five pop-up towers that are lightweight and portable. The exhibit is based on the permanent exhibit of the same name at the Oregon Historical Society’s downtown location.
A folded “Oregon Voices” kiosk, in the shape of a Ccircle resembling a folded sunshade with stakes and rope.
An “Oregon Voices” kiosk is shown here folded with stakes and ropes that can be used to secure it outdoors. Like a sunshade, the kiosks fold down into a circle.

Although the Oregon Voices exhibit may be familiar to some of our visitors, the three-sided pop-up kiosk format is new to OHS! This lightweight, easily portable format allows for more flexibility for displaying the exhibit. Since they are made from similar materials as a sunshade, they can be displayed outside, too. 

OHS is thrilled to have this new traveling exhibit available to rent, and the best news is that OHS has waived the rental fee for all our traveling exhibits in 2021! See all of our traveling exhibits to learn more about Oregon Voices and our traveling exhibit program.

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