OREGON MUSEUMS

/OREGON MUSEUMS

Our Top 20 Museums To Visit In Oregon

One of our favorite things about Museums is their ability to showcase, educate, and engage visitors in the history that they display. Here in Oregon, we have endless history to share with residents and visitors alike. One of the best ways to showcase what makes our state so great is through museums – and we sure do have a lot of them. With over 150 museums scattered across the state, there is never a shortage to experience and see. Spanning from the iconic coastline, to the desert lands – you won’t want to miss our top 20 must-visit museums across the state of Oregon.

OMSI

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is one of our personal favorite museums to visit in the state. Fun For both kids, and adults, OMSI has some of the best permanent, and rotating exhibits in the country. Located directly on the Willamette River in Portland, OMSI excels in engaging, educating and creating fun for everyone.

Columbia River Maritime Museum

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is one of our personal favorite museums to visit in the state. Fun For both kids, and adults, OMSI has some of the best permanent, and rotating exhibits in the country. Located directly on the Willamette River in Portland, OMSI excels in engaging, educating and creating fun for everyone.

High Desert Museum

Located near Bend, the High Desert Museum is a unique blend of historical artifacts, art, and animals. Described as “where the wild meets west” this is a fun stop when in Central Oregon.

Portland Children’s Museum

While this one is primarily for the kids in your life, it can be fun for adults as well. Aiming to engage kids through fun, interactive exhibits the Portland Children’s Museum primarily builds and executes all of their own exhibits.

Fort Clatsop and Visitor Center

Fort Clatsop was once a stopping place for the Lewis and Clark expedition near the mouth of the Columbia River. While the site is technically a State Park, we consider it one of the funnest museums in the State as there is a replica of Fort Clatsop on-site! During select times throughout the year you can even catch reenactments guiding you through the rich history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, or check out the artifacts, videos, and more in the visitors center.

Stark’s Vacuum Museum

Located inside of the Stark’s Vacuum store in Portland, this museum is small but fun! Check out a timeline of vacuum history and evolutions, as well as old models of vacuums. If you have the time and are in the area, we recommend checking out this free attraction.

Portland Police Museum

Established to help preserve the history of public safety in Portland, this museum takes you back in time through permanent, and rotating exhibits. Check out old arrest records, historic photos, badges, uniforms and more! Free to all, this is a fun stop when in Portland.

Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

This museum goes above and beyond what you would expect. The large campus features a vineyard, air museum, space museum, and aviation themed waterpark! There’s so much to do here we’ll leave it at this – check it out. You won’t be disappointed!

Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Unlike other museums depictions of the Oregon Trail, the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center aims to show the true pain and misery many suffered along their journey.

Oregon Historical Society

Showcasing Oregon’s history as a whole, the Oregon Historical Society showcases some of our favorite permanent, and rotating exhibits. Here you will find anything from WWII artifacts, all the way to the original Nike shoes, and other things originating in, or relating to the great state of Oregon.

Museum of Mental Health

Housed in what was once the Oregon State Hospital, the Museum of Mental Health takes a step back in time and educates visitors on practices that once took place within the museum walls. While the museum mostly showcases the outdated practices the hospital once used, and the torture patients suffered because of them, it is one of the most interesting stops that we suggest.

Kam Wah Chung and Co.

First established as a Chinese trading post in the late 1800’s, the building has gone through many hands before becoming the Kam Wah Chung and Co. home. Oregon State Parks bought the building in 1960 and restored the space along with all of the artifacts left in it.

Portland Art Museum

The oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Art Museum was founded in 1892 with the goal to be a first-class art museum that is accessible to all citizens. Often dubbed as the biggest and best art museum in Oregon, the P.A.M rotates exhibits highlighting everything from stop-motion displays, modern art, historical art, and more.

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center

Named the official interpretive center for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center was established to inspire appreciation of the Wasco and Gorge counties. The exhibits focus on the volcanic activity, and raging floods that created the Gorge and surrounding areas.

Baker Heritage Museum

Located inside of the historic Natatorium building, the Baker Heritage Museum was originally established as the Oregon Trail Regional Museum and displays information and artifacts relating to the rich history of Oregon. Some displays are permanent while others are rotating and generally showcase pieces related to the chinese culture, wildlife, mining, timber, ranching, and agricultural aspects of the region.

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals

Located inside of the Stark’s Vacuum store in Portland, this museum is small but fun! Check out a timeline of vacuum history and evolutions, as well as old models of vacuums. If you have the time and are in the area, we recommend checking out this free attraction.

Oregon Rail Heritage Center

Despite the long history of trains in the West, the Oregon Rail Heritage Center is a unique find in Oregon. The museum preserves and displays historic steam trains, railroad equipment and an extensive selection of artifacts.

Oregon Jewish Museum

Located in Northwest Portland, the Oregon Jewis Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is home to three core exhibits – The Oregon-Centric Examinations of Jewish History, Discrimination and The Holocaust in addition to seasonal exhibits.

Eugene Science Center

A branch of OMSI, the Eugene Science Center is a hub for kids and parents to engage in scientific exploration. Founded in 1961, the museum is home to rotating exhibits, a planetarium and is one of the most unique buildings we’ve seen.

Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum

Showcasing a large selection of antique airplanes and antique automobiles, the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River is the perfect stop for aviation and car lovers.

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