Any history buffs out there? Any history buffs out there tired of the “History” Channel not showing history but focusing instead on Ice Road Truckers, Rednecks, hunters, and unscrupulous pawn shops? Turn the television off and experience real history at the Oregon Historical Society.

    “As the steward of Oregon’s history, the Oregon Historical Society educates, informs, and engages the public through collecting, preserving, and interpreting the past . . . in other words, Oregon history matters.” Visiting this superb educational tool and exploring the rotating exhibits really gives you a great understanding of the magnificent state we call home.

    There is currently a fascinating exhibit on the natural history of Oregon. Using graphic models, photographs and videos, this exhibit shows just how this beautiful state came to be so… well, beautiful. The exhibit explores the unique climate of Oregon—why the people are so rugged, how the climate has changed, and even why our beer is so flavorful. And, it’s not some dry geology talk. It’s fresh, exciting and gripping, and keeps an eye toward the future while looking at the past.

    OHS demonstrates this look at the future by being fully sustainable. The museum itself is energy efficient, practicing water and energy conservation and having many recycling receptacles on site. What’s the point of enjoying our fabulous and interesting history if the great state of Oregon is not around for future generations to enjoy?

    OHS also offers online and traveling exhibits. If you find yourself in Salem, head to the State Capital and check out the latest rotating exhibit. Learn about the landmark legislation that has helped shape this state. Discover our rich Indian history (which lives on in names like Willamette, Tillamook, Molalla, Clatsop, Klamath), and even some of our more shameful moments, such as our treatment of Japanese Americans during World War 2. It’s important to truly understand the history of the place we live. It deepens our appreciation and, in many cases, helps us to learn from past mistakes.

    While the history of Oregon is the primary focus at OHS, national and international histories are also featured prominently. Check out the current displays on US Presidential history as collected by a local history buff.

    OHS provides a fun and educational experience for the whole family. And, with rotating exhibits and a reasonable admission fee (FREE if you become a member) OHS can be visited and enjoyed over and over again.

    OHS is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am- 5 pm and on Sundays from noon to five. It is located in the heart of downtown Portland, very close to PSU and Powell’s Books at 1200 SW Park Avenue. Stop in for a visit and gain a deeper appreciation for this wonderful state. Contact the Oregon Historical Society at OHS.ORG.

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