The Oregon Historical Society's Artifact Collections comprise some 85,000 objects preserving the broadest and most in-depth material culture representation of Oregon history in the state. Early collecting activities focused on exploration, the Oregon Trail, and the pioneer experience. Currently, collecting activities have evolved to reflect, document, and illustrate the history and development of the Oregon Country before 1859 and the State of Oregon since.

Although material culture includes any object made by humans, the broad scope of the Artifact Collection includes:

  • Clothing and other items of personal use
  • Textiles such as quilts, blankets and wall hangings
  • Artwork
  • Household furnishings, furniture
  • Tools & equipment used in agriculture, fishing and trapping, food processing and service, forestry, mining, textile working and woodworking
  • Tools and equipment used in science and technology, such as armament, medical and psychological, merchandising, surveying and navigational, timekeeping, weights and measures
  • Tools and equipment used for communication such as music, photographic, sound, telecommunications, visual and written
  • American Indian objects
  • Advertising, promotional and documentary items
  • Recreational artifacts such as games, toys, recreational devices, public entertainment devices and sports equipment
  • Military uniforms, personal gear and equipment
The artifact program solicits and accepts donations according to the guidelines stated in the Collection Policy.
Research Assistance and Examining Artifacts
When departmental policy and staff availability permits, research assistance is available.

The Research Assistance Fee is $60 per hour.
Photographs of artifacts are available for research or publication, with permission. To order a photograph, contact the Photo Services department, Artifact photographs are subject to the same fees and permissions as other photograph reproduction orders. In addition a minimum of $60 is added for staff assistance.

Artifact photographs are taken only by OHS staff photographers.
Research Library
Collections Online Catalog