Current Exhibits

What If Heroes Were Not Welcome Home?

November 11 to January 10

On Veteran’s Day the Lane County Historical Museum will host an opening for the Oregon Historical Society’s new traveling exhibit “What If Heroes Were Not Welcome Home?” This poignant exhibit examines the prejudice that Japanese American veterans from Hood River, Oregon experienced upon their return home from serving our country in World War II. These American citizens served heroically with the United States Armed Forces in the South Pacific and in Europe, yet many of their families were unjustly incarcerated in concentration camps on American soil.

Curated by Linda Tamura and Marsha Matthews, “What If Heroes Were Not Welcome Home?” was originally displayed at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland in conjunction with the Smithsonian traveling exhibition “American Heroes: Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal.” The Medal, awarded in 2011 to Japanese American World War II veterans in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), traveled across the country in 2013, visiting only six cities in the nation.

This exhibition uses first-hand accounts, photos, letters, and historical documents to show how wartime events brought national notoriety to the small community of Hood River. Visitors will be invited to make meaningful connections between the past and present—exploring the promise and reality of American democracy and equality. One soldier depicted in the exhibit, George Akiyama, wrote in his diary that after the war, still wearing his uniform with the Silver and Bronze Star, he stopped to get a haircut at a downtown barbershop. The barber waved his razor, exclaiming, “I ought to slit your throat.” Visitors are asked to put themselves into his shoes, and the shoes of the other returning soldiers, and consider how they would have reacted in that situation, and further, how they would handle similar situations of bullying or racism in the present day.

Free admission to active duty military personnel, veterans and their families on November 11th.

What If You Could Listen To Your Water Source?

“McKenzie River Stories,” an interactive multimedia exhibit, opened at the Lane County Historical Museum in Eugene, OR on June 7th and will be on display through mid-December 2014. The goal of the exhibit is to draw residents of the greater Eugene area into a closer relationship with their only water source, the McKenzie River, with the end goal of promoting stewardship of this unique and beautiful river.

The exhibit showcases the work of the River Stories team – a group of undergraduates participating in the Environmental Leadership Program at the University of Oregon, working in collaboration with Randy Dersham of the McKenzie River Drift Boat Museum and Lane County Historical Museum. Since January 2013, the River Stories team has interviewed, documented, and learned from residents living, working, and recreating in the McKenzie River watershed. The exhibit features stories of the original McKenzie River drift boat builders, stories and audio clips from current residents, vivid river photographs and video footage, and a white water drift boat made by Woodie Hindman for Prince Helfrich.

The team describes the many voices featured in the exhibit as similar to “one of the many springs and streams that converge in the McKenzie River; before we can hear the ripples echo, we must first step in.” In the exhibit, the River Stories team encourages visitors to think about their own connection to the McKenzie and how to sustain a conversation with their water source. Guests are also invited to share their own river story. The exhibit will be up through December 2014.

Supporting the main exhibit, the team will also install “River Stories” around town at water fountains and other locations where people interact with the McKenzie. These posters feature photography and quotes about the river and further the team’s goal of promoting awareness, connection, and stewardship of the McKenzie River. To hear these stories and for more information: https://sites.google.com/site/mckenzieriverstories2014/.

Exhibit Contacts:

Megan Lallier-Barron, Lane County Historical Museum

Kathryn Lynch, Co-Director, Environmental Leadership Program

Randy Dersham, Director, McKenzie River Drift Boat Museum

Online Photography Database

Covered wagon on display at the museum

The Museum's nitrate negative historical photography collection is now online. Click to browse our collection now. You can search to find ancestors, to aid research, or just to enjoy images of the past. The online database is a work in progress, so check back often for additional images.

Ongoing Exhibits

The Museum has on display an Oregon Trail Exhibition, Historic Vehicles, Period Rooms, a children's area, early crafts and historic photographs of Lane County. Be sure to see the Lane County Clerk's Building. This National Register Site is the oldest building in Lane County (1853) and is located outside on the south side of the museum building.

Online Exhibits

Our current exhibit is Oregon Trail Cutoff Fever

Weird & Wonderful Blog

Click here to learn more about Lane County Historical Society & Museum

Permanent Exhibits and Period Interiors:

Image of the Month

Lowell Region, Students pose outside Rush Island School, located up the Middle Fork of the Willamette River from Lowell, probably near the Southern Pacific Company’s railroad stop called Landax. (School has also been identified as Landax School.) . Exterior. View of 1-room schoolhouse with unpainted, vertical board siding. Dog in foreground, right; forested slope in background. One of the students pictured is donor Hallie Hills Huntington (not specified as to which child is her).

Photograph at the top of this page: Members of the first round-the-world flight team visit Eugene's Municipal Airport, 18th Avenue and Chambers, with their bi-planes. Six crewmembers and several aviation personnel pose with early automobile. - Catalog Number: GN4646

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