Research Library Renovation

Scheduled to Begin Spring 2020

Preparations are already underway to transform the OHS Research Library into a welcoming and fully accessible twenty-first-century space for research, learning, and collaboration. Home to millions of original and published materials, including books and serials, maps, photographs, sound recordings, manuscripts, and moving images, our library is truly the heart of everything we do at the Oregon Historical Society. Our compelling exhibits, the scholarship you read in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, our online Digital History Projects, and the many free public programs we offer would not be possible without the invaluable librarians and archivists who safeguard and make accessible the largest collection of Oregon history available anywhere in the world.

Thanks to support from donors and foundations through the FORWARD! campaign, this critical renovation will allow library staff to better serve researchers who visit OHS in person as well as more efficiently facilitate the thousands of remote reference requests we receive each year.

Staff will begin packing and moving collections from our downtown facility in Fall 2019, and the research library is currently slated to close to the public in January of 2020. Construction is estimated to take up to ten months. During the closure, in-person research will be available at an alternate location by appointment only, and library staff will continue to handle remote reference requests; service will be limited during the final move out and move in phases (precise dates to be announced). We appreciate your patience during this period, and we look forward to unveiling our new research space by the end of 2020.

Learn more about how you can support these exciting enhancements to our research library through a donation to the FORWARD! campaign.

Reference desk

The reconfigured reference desk will provide staff with a vantage point to every place researchers are working — allowing us to both better serve the public and safeguard the precious materials in our care.

Grant High School football players, Oregon Journal Photographic Negative Collection, 371N0650

The Collaborative Learning Lab will be a creative space where small groups of students, educators, researchers, community members, and archives professionals can share knowledge, explore the library’s vast resources, and make discoveries that expand our knowledge about Oregon’s complex history.

Grant High School football players, Oregon Journal Photographic Negative Collection, 371N0650

Reading Room

The Reading Room will be refreshed and uplifted to highlight the elegance of its mid-century architecture and add flexibility for an expanding array of library programs. The remodel will create an inviting space for all researchers to explore original and tangible historical documents, with technological enhancements to draw from the library’s growing virtual reading room, OHS Digital Collections.

Tsuboi Family Moving Image Collection, Visiting Mt. Hood, MI 10699

The Tech Hub will allow several researchers at a time to explore OHS collections in a variety of historical and contemporary media — from VHS to digital files.

Tsuboi Family Moving Image Collection, Visiting Mt. Hood, MI 10699

Pietro Belluschi Resource Center

The Pietro Belluschi Resource Center will provide a focal point for the study of architecture and a well-equipped meeting space for instruction and collaboration.

Mouth of the Columbia River, Oregon Territory. Surveyed by the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1842); Charles Wilkes, commander. Published 1841. 58 x 86 cm., OrHi 99417

The Map and Architecture Viewing station will dramatically increase access to OHS’ enormous collection of the many documents that have charted the Oregon we see today — tracing the routes of railroad lines to highways to irrigation routes, and drawing plans for businesses, gathering places, residences, and landscapes that shape the built environment.

Mouth of the Columbia River, Oregon Territory. Surveyed by the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1842); Charles Wilkes, commander. Published 1841. 58 x 86 cm., OrHi 99417

Columbia River Highway, Org. Lot 7, Box 15, no. 28

We will install Americans with Disabilities Act–compliant bathroom facilities and amenities as well as private gender-neutral restroom options.  

Columbia River Highway, Org. Lot 7, Box 15, no. 28

Passed draft of the Oregon State Constitution, Article I - Preamble and Bill of Rights
Oregon Constitutional Convention records, 1857-1859; Mss 1227; Box 1; Folder 1a

Twenty-first-century behind-the-scenes processing and work spaces will give OHS professional staff the space and technology they need to preserve and provide access to collections for the next 120 years.  

Passed draft of the Oregon State Constitution, Article I - Preamble and Bill of Rights Oregon Constitutional Convention records, 1857-1859; Mss 1227; Box 1; Folder 1a