Oregon Historical Society Launches New Online Museum Collections Portal

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Oregon Historical Society said it was thrilled to announce the launch of its Museum Collections Portal on Tuesday (museumcollection.ohs.org) — a public online database highlighting the incredible objects entrusted to the museum.

The OHS Museum houses more than 75,000 objects that document the history of the region, including clothing and textiles, Native American objects, works of art, vehicles, equipment and everyday objects . At launch, the portal provides access to records for over 10,000 of these objects, with new records being added regularly.

Users can connect to these historical objects by searching by name, description, manufacturer, or date(s). Pre-filtered searches are another great way to explore the portal, and users can discover OHS collections across broad topics such as Oregon Trail, the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exhibition, Where quilts. Users can also browse recent acquisitions to the museum’s collection and learn more about the more than 350 objects displayed in the permanent exhibition of the OHS, Discover Oregon. Each item record includes an image of the item as well as where it came from – the item’s ownership history.

Collections featured at launch include:

  • Merchandising materials and other items related to Yasui Bros grocery store, a pre-World War II Japanese general store in Hood River, Oregon. Masuo Yasui and his brother Renichi owned the store for over thirty years. The collection also includes a small group of artefacts from World War II incarceration camps as well as memorabilia in the artefact archive of Masuo Yasui’s son, Homer Yasui.
  • Over 80 quilts recently relocated and photographed for the portal. Highlights include OSH Museum, 2018-31.1.1,.2, a quilt made by Dora Boles Frink that won a blue ribbon for her centennial-themed design at the 1959 Oregon State Fair; and OHS Museum, 62-377, a feathered star variation quilt made by Rebecca Davis Layton circa 1815 and brought on the Oregon Trail by her sons.
  • Miniature vehicles and associated scenery built by Ivan Collins. Collins was an accomplished model maker who created historically accurate models of horse-drawn vehicles using painstaking research to ensure every detail was authentic. Built in 1/8 scale, these models represent those used when the Euro-Americans arrived in the western United States, particularly in Oregon.
  • Pro and antiMemories of Rajneeshpuram. The Oregon Rajneesh Commune, Rancho Rajneesh, located on the former Big Muddy Ranch near Antelope, Oregon, operated between 1981 and 1985. The commune quickly established control of the school, police, and Municipal Services of Antelope (renamed Rajneeshpuram) and converted them into Rajneesh Oriented Operations.

The launch of this exciting new tool aligns with OHS’ mission to make history accessible to all and marks the culmination of a decade of preparation and hard work. The launch of the portal required improved cataloging of many objects, including taking photographs, documenting object dimensions, and conducting provenance research for each object.

“The portal is an important tool for researchers, students and curious people around the world,” said OHS Deputy Museum Director Nicole Yasuhara. “We hope users will experience the amazing objects that OHS stewards and in the process learn something new about Oregon’s history. Every day that museum collection staff handle or catalog an object, we learn something new and hope to bring that knowledge to our community and beyond.

OHS hopes that by making its museum collections accessible through the portal, users will discover more stories from Oregon’s past, whether it’s someone researching their family’s history, from a teacher looking for ways to engage students with primary sources or a museum professional looking for objects to borrow for an exhibition.

Start exploring the OHS Museum collection at museumcollection.ohs.org.

About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the collective memory of the state, preserving an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscripts, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms and website (ohs.org), educational programming and a historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to everyone. We exist because history is powerful and because a history as deep and rich as that of Oregon cannot be contained in a single story or a single point of view.

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