Research Library Renovation

The Oregon Historical Society’s research library reopened in October of 2021 following nearly two years of renovation. The new library space features a modernized reading room, with enhancements for researchers including a reconfigured reference desk, a new map and architecture viewing station, tech hub, and physical improvements that promote accessibility and inclusion for all users. A highlight of the new space is the Pietro Belluschi Architectural Resource Center, which will provide a focal point to highlight the library’s architectural collections and a well-equipped meeting space for instruction.

About the Renovation

The library has occupied the same home for over 50 years: the fourth floor of the Oregon Historical Society building on SW Park Avenue. In that time, the space has remained relatively untouched. Changes in library best practices and technological upgrades make this renovation a long overdue enhancement to our research library, which is the heart of everything we do at the Oregon Historical Society. Without our priceless collections, and the individuals who have preserved and stewarded these collections for over 120 years, our exhibitions, scholarship, educational programs, and public programs would not be possible.

Thanks to support from individuals 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 answer the thousands of research inquiries we receive by email and phone each year.

Researchers will notice many new enhancements on their next visit, including:

  • A refreshed reading room that highlights the library’s striking mid-century architecture and also serves as a flexible space for hosting workshops and programs;
  • A tech hub that allows several researchers at a time to explore OHS’s library collections in a variety of historical and contemporary media — from VHS to digital files;
  • A collaborative learning lab that serves as a creative, flexible space where small groups of students, educators, researchers, community members, and archives professionals can share knowledge, explore the library’s vast resources, and make new discoveries that expand our knowledge about Oregon’s complex history;
  • A reconfigured reference desk that gives staff a better vantage point to both serve researchers and safeguard the precious materials in our care;
  • A map and architecture viewing station that creates a central access point to digitized and original materials from our enormous collection of documents that have charted the Oregon we see today;
  • Twenty-first-century behind-the-scenes workspaces that give OHS staff the space and technology they need to preserve and make collections available for the next 120 years; and
  • The new Pietro Belluschi Architectural Resource Center, which provides a focal point to highlight the library’s architectural collections and a well-equipped meeting space for instruction.

The research library is now scheduling appointments for in person research; please contact libreference@ohs.org or call 503.306.5240 for scheduling. Learn more and plan your visit here.