What's Happening?

From our interactive museum exhibits to our Research Library to our premier meeting

and event space, there's always something fun happening at the Oregon Historical

Society. See below for upcoming events.

Unless otherwise noted, programs take place at the Oregon Historical Society building in downtown Portland (1200 SW Park Avenue) and are free of charge with museum 

admission. Click on links or call (503) 222-1741 for more information.


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August Events

Special Event

Celebrity Chocolate Cake Smack-down

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

12pm – 1pm

Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public


Friday, August 28 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Oregon State Fair, and, for over 50 years, the sole judge of the Fair's Chocolate Cake Contest has been the one and only Gerry Frank—public servant, businessman, and cheerleader for all things Oregon. To celebrate the Fair's historic sesquicentennial, the Oregon Historical Society is hosting a Celebrity Chocolate Cake Smack-down in Portland with Gerry as the judge. Come and watch as local community leaders and media personalities present their best recipes for judgment, and join in the tasting once Gerry declares a winner!


Contestants Include:

Sally Bany (Co-owner, Moonstruck Chocolates)

Steve Bass (CEO, Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Shane Bemis (Mayor of Gresham)

Margaret Carter (Former Oregon State Senator)

Gale Castilllo (President, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce)

Marilyn Deutsch (Reporter, KPTV)

Brian Ferriso (Executive Director, Portland Art Museum)

Mark Ganz (CEO, Cambia Health Solutions)

Jeff Gianola (Anchor, KOIN)

Nancy Hales (First Lady of Portland)

Margie Hunt (CEO, Special Olympics Oregon)

Mark Katches (Editor, The Oregonian / OregonLive)

Deb Knapp (Anchor, KATU)

Lois Leveen (Author of Juliet's Nurse and The Secrets of Mary Bowser)

Judge Judy Matarazzo (Multnomah County Circuit Court)

Sandra McDonough (CEO, Portland Business Alliance)

Ellen Rosenblum (Oregon Attorney General)

Nancy Stueber (CEO, OMSI)

Keith Thomajan (President / CEO, United Way Columbia-Willamette)

Wim Wiewel (President, Portland State University)

Matt Zaffino (Chief Meteorologist, KGW)


Education Event

Teacher Tour & Reception

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

5:30pm – 7pm

Oregon Historical Society

RSVP to if you plan to attend


Social studies, history, and civics teachers are all invited to a special reception and tour of the Oregon Historical Society's latest exhibition WWII: A World at War, A State Transformed. Enjoy refreshments and learn about the educational services offered at the Oregon Historical Society, including free admission for school tours, traveling trunks, and more. Learn more


Series: History Pub

Home Front Stories of World War II

Monday, August 31, 2015

7pm – 9pm

McMenamins Kennedy School Theater

Free and open to the public

*World War II Event*


Join us for beer and history, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society, Holy Names Heritage Center, and McMenamins, in which you'll hear lively local or regional history while you enjoy a frosty pint or two of handcrafted ale. This month, listen to stories from individuals who worked on the Oregon home front during World War II. The panel will include: Harry Hendricks, who worked the graveyard shift at Vancouver's Kaiser Shipyard as a teenager; Ellen McFadden, who served as one of the nation's youngest certified Red Cross volunteers at Portland's Union Station canteen; Jean Matsumoto, who was sent with her family to Idaho's Minidoka Relocation Center where she was interned for three years; and Sharon Williams, who experienced wartime conditions as a young child growing up in North Portland.

September Events


Panel Discussion

UNEARTHED: Portland Garden Club Lantern Slides

Thursday, September 10, 2015

6:30pm – 8pm

Newspace Center for Photography

1632 SE 10th Ave., Portland 97214

Free and open to the public


Join us for a panel discussion in conjunction with our current exhibition UNEARTHED: Hand Colored Slides of Early Twentieth-Century Portland Gardens from the Oregon Historical Society. We will discuss the collaborative process that went into the production of this exhibition, from the discovery of the slide collection in the OHS archive to the research conducted by current Portland Garden Club members.

Panelists Include:

Yaelle Amir (Curator, Newspace Center for Photography)
Suzanne Bishop (Chair of the Garden History Committee, Portland Garden Club)
Matthew Cowan (Archivist for Moving Images and Photography, Oregon Historical Society)

Book Talk

Jewish Resistance against the Nazis

By Patrick Henry, Editor

Thursday, September 10, 2015

7pm - 9pm

Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public


This volume puts to rest the myth that Jews went passively to the slaughter like sheep. Indeed, Jews resisted in every Nazi-occupied country - in the forests, the ghettos, and the concentration camps. Resistance could be armed revolt; flight; the rescue of targeted individuals by concealment in non-Jewish homes, farms, and institutions; or by the smuggling of Jews into countries where Jews were not objects of Nazi persecution. Other forms of resistance include every act that Jewish people carried out to fight against the dehumanizing agenda of the Nazis - acts such as smuggling food, clothing, and medicine into the ghettos, putting on plays, reading poetry, organizing orchestras and art exhibits, forming schools, leaving diaries, and praying.


Contributors to this volume are among the most renowned Holocaust authorities around the world. Patrick Henry is the Cushing Eells Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Literature and Foreign Languages at Whitman College. This event is presented in partnership with the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education and the World Affairs Council of Oregon.


Series: Second Sunday

Pacifism in World War II and Beyond

By Steve McQuiddy

Sunday, September 13, 2015

2pm - 3:30pm

Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public


Oregon author Steve McQuiddy presents the story of how a small group of World War II conscientious objectors on the Oregon Coast plowed the ground for the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s. Twenty years in the making and packed with original research and more than eighty photographs, this definitive history of the Civilian Public Service Camp #56 and the Fine Arts at Waldport tells how artists and writers from across the country chose to take a condition of penance (compulsive labor for refusing to serve in the military) and put it to constructive ends. After the war, camp members participated in the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance of the 1950s with Beat Generation writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg - who in turn inspired Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, leading the way to the radical upheavals of the 1960s.


Steve McQuiddy writes and lectures on the eccentric margins of our history and culture. His books include Here on the Edge, a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and The Fantastic Tale of Opal Whiteley, featured on the TV series Oregon Experience. The program will also welcome special guest Will Pool, a WWII veteran who is active with Veterans for Peace 72, the Portland Chapter. Additional Veterans for Peace members will be present with information about the group.


Book Launch

Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions

By Michael Helquist

Monday, September 14, 2015

7pm – 8:30pm

Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public


Marie Equi explores the fiercely independent life of an extraordinary woman. Born of Italian-Irish parents in 1872, Marie Equi endured childhood labor in a gritty Massachusetts textile mill before fleeing to an Oregon homestead with her first longtime woman companion, who described her as impulsive, earnest, and kind-hearted. These traits, along with courage, stubborn resolve, and a passion for justice, propelled Equi through an unparalleled life journey.


Marie Equi is a finely written, rigorously researched account of a woman of consequence, who one fellow-activist considered "the most interesting woman that ever lived in this state, certainly the most fascinating, colorful, and flamboyant." This much-anticipated biography will engage anyone interested in Pacific Northwest history, women's studies, the history of lesbian and gay rights, and the personal demands of political activism.


Michael Helquist is an historian, journalist, and editor and has written for several publications, including the Oregon Historical Quarterly, the Journal of Homosexuality, the American Medical News, MS Magazine, The Advocate, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and authored the entry on Marie Equi on the Oregon Encyclopedia. He directed a global AIDS and health communication program and worked on campaigns for safe streets and alternative transportation, development of GLBT history archives, and community resilience and sustainability.


This program is presented in partnership with Oregon State University Press.


Book Launch

A Man for All Seasons: Monroe Sweetland and the Liberal Paradox

By Dr. William G. Robbins

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

7pm – 8:30pm

Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public

The life of prominent Oregon political leader Monroe Sweetland — a nationally prominent figure whose fights bequeathed to modern America important legislation that shaped its political landscape — spans the spectrum of twentieth-century America. Racial and economic inequalities motivated much of Sweetland's civic life, including his lifelong memberships in the American Civil Liberties Committee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Urban League, the Japanese American Citizens League, and the Red Cross, where Sweetland worked repatriating American prisoners of war after Japan's surrender.


Historian William G. Robbins illuminates the wrenching transformation of American political culture in A Man for All Seasons. Robbins's portrait is holistic, exploring Sweetland's socialist beginnings, inconsistencies in his politics—especially during the Cold War—and his regional legacy. He was the most important person in the resurgence of the modern, liberal Oregon Democratic Party from the late 1940s to the 1960s.

William G. Robbins is emeritus distinguished professor at Oregon State University, where he was professor of history from 1971 until 2002. He is the author and editor of books on Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, including Landscapes of Promise: The Oregon Story, 1800-1940 and Oregon, This Storied Land.


Women, Gardens, and Modern Landscape Architecture
By Professor Thaisa Way
Thursday, September 17, 2015
7pm – 8pm
Newspace Center for Photography
1632 SE 10th Avenue, Portland
Free and open to the public

Join us for a public lecture by Thaisa Way, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington, on the history of women landscape designers from the early twentieth century. This lecture will be given in conjunction with our current exhibitions Women in the Landscape & UNEARTHED: Hand Colored Slides of Early Twentieth-Century Portland Gardens from the Oregon Historical Society.

Thaisa Way is a landscape historian teaching history, theory, and design. She has published and lectured on feminist histories of design and in particular the role of women as professionals and practitioners, and her book, Unbounded Practices: Women, Landscape Architecture, and Early Twentieth Century Design (2009, University of Virginia Press) was supported by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation and the Landscape Studies Foundation’s David Coffin Award. In 2010 it was awarded the J.B. Jackson Book Award.


Dr. Way’s research considers how diverse approaches have shaped and informed relationships between people and landscape, cultures and nature, and practices and professions, Her teaching and scholarship seek to challenge our thinking about the history of landscape architecture by considering the active engagement of marginalized groups and individuals simultaneously as agents of change and signifiers of culture. Her research has asked how gender has served as a lens through which design is practiced and the landscape is created and formed.


Lecture: Conversation Project

Keeping Tabs on America: Surveillance and You

By Kristian Williams

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

6pm – 7:30pm

Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public


Recent revelations about government surveillance, including Edward Snowden’s leak of NSA documents, have renewed worldwide attention to questions around privacy.  Why is privacy important?  What are the uses of surveillance?  What are the dangers?  Independent scholar and writer Kristian Williams will lead participants in a conversation about the scope and consequences of government surveillance, as well as ethical and legal limits of surveillance practices.


Kristian Williams has studied state surveillance for almost twenty years, writing as both a scholar and a journalist. He is the author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in AmericaAmerican Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination, and Hurt: Notes on Torture in a Modern Democracy. He is one of the editors of Life During Wartime: Resisting Counterinsurgency, as well as an occasional contributor to Counterpunch, Toward Freedom, and In These Times.


This event is sponsored by Oregon Humanities and hosted by the Oregon Historical Society and the Rotary Club of Portland.


Oregon Transformed Series

WWII Legacies in Southern Oregon

Dr. Linda Tamura, Dr. Jeff LaLande, & Dr. Laura Jane Gifford

Thursday, September 24, 2015

7pm – 8:30pm

Ross Ragland Theater Cultural Center

218 N Seventh St., Klamath Falls

Free and open to the public

*World War II Event*


The “Oregon Transformed” series considers long-term impacts of World War II in local regions around the state within broad thematic frameworks. Presenters in Klamath Falls will address the themes of “consent and dissent,” “revisions to the landscape,” and “human migrations” by discussing subjects including wartime and post-war transformation of the woods caused by WWII and the way it set up the region for the Timber Wars of the 1990s, treatment of the Bly balloon bombing by policymakers and media, and Japanese American internment at Tule Lake and the remembrance (or not) of that history during the decades since. Panelists will offer carefully prepared presentations, leaving plenty of time for audience questions and discussions.


This program is presented in association with the Oregon Historical Society’s exhibit WWII: A World at War, A State Transformed and in partnership with the Klamath County Museum. Laura Jane Gifford is a historian of modern American politics with a special interest in the unique dynamics of Oregon's political landscape. Questions about her family heritage led Linda Tamura, author and Professor of Education Emerita at Willamette University, to write about Japanese Americans during World War II and how her community responded. Jeff LaLande is a historian who has lived in southern Oregon for over 45 years and has written on a range of topics about the region.


Smithsonian Museum Day

Saturday, September 26, 2015

10am – 5pm

Oregon Historical Society

Free admission with Museum Day ticket


In the spirit of the Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission every day, Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket… for free. The Museum Day Live! ticket provides free admission for two people. See a list of participating museums and download your Museum Day ticket here.


Special Event: What’s It Worth?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

12pm – 4pm

Oregon Historical Society

Regular OHS Admission plus $10 per item


Ever wondered if you had a hidden treasure buried in your closet? Then join the Oregon Historical Society for “What’s It Worth?,” an annual event where local experts estimate the value of your collectibles. Items that can be evaluated include books, coins, stamps, fine art, jewelry, military items (no firearms or weapons), sporting goods and memorabilia, toys, and more! 


The local specialists who will be joining us include:


John Henley, John V. Henley, LLC

Specialty: Books, General


Shirley Sanders, Red Sign Sales & Appraisals, LLC

Specialty: Decorative Arts, General


Michael Parsons & Scott Withers, Michael Parsons Fine Art

Specialty: Fine Art


Elizabeth Simpson, EMS Estates

Specialty: Fine Jewelry, Vintage Jewelry, Gemstones


Roger Anthony, Communication That Counts

Specialty: Sports Memorabilia


Richard Richter

Specialty: Toys, Military Items, Sporting Goods


Robert A. Beall, Robert A. Beall: Stamp Appraisal NW

Specialty: Stamps, Coins


Ticket sales end at 3:30pm and there is a 5 item limit per person. All items presented for evaluation must be able to be carried by hand and weapons are prohibited.


History Pub

“Portland Communists, A Longshoreman Strike, and The United States Supreme Court: Oregon v. DeJonge and the Right to Freedom of Assembly”

Marc Brown

Monday, September 28 at 7 PM

McMenamins Kennedy School Theater

Free and open to the public


On July 27, 1934, the Portland Police “Red Squad” arrested Dirk De Jonge, a World War I veteran, longshoreman, former Portland mayoral candidate, and Portland communist. The State charged him with criminal syndicalism for speaking at a meeting sponsored by the local Communist Party. The meeting was called in response to a police crackdown on striking longshoremen, who had shut down every West Coast port from southern California to northern Washington. De Jonge’s crime was speaking about jail conditions experienced by the arrested strikers. A jury found him guilty, and the judge sentenced him to seven years in prison.  Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the conviction, holding that the criminal syndicalism statute, as applied to De Jonge, unconstitutionally infringed on his right to assembly as protected by the First Amendment.


Marc Brown, an appellate public defender with the Oregon Office of Public Defense Services, will talk about the history behind the case as well as its long-term significance. Marc has taught political science, criminal justice, and history at Washington State University-Vancouver and recently received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach about the U.S. Constitution at the South China University of Technology College of Law in Guangzhou, China. 

Make Your Next Meeting Historic!
Are you a member of a group or organization that would like to learn more about the Oregon Historical Society? Invite an OHS volunteer docent to attend your next meeting to learn about the exciting programs and services YOUR Historical Society has to offer!


Please fill out the form below and return to Rachel Randles at or by mail to 1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97205. Once we receive your request, we will connect you with a volunteer docent to further discuss your event.


Event Request Form (PDF)

Partner Events & Programs

Oregon Experience


Oregon Experience is a respected and long-standing community partnership between the Oregon Historical Society and Oregon Public Broadcasting. The strengths and assets of each organization merge together to produce historical documentaries that illuminate the grand heritage of our state.


OHS preserves and provides a vast collection of archival film, photographs and images from its vaults. Librarians and archivists work with OPB producers to find and make available these materials for use in the documentaries. Indeed, some of the materials showcased on Oregon Experience have never before been seen by the public.


OPB producers and editors, in turn, have the expertise to weave the components together into award winning documentaries that bring Oregon’s history to life.


Oregon Experience episodes engage and entertain with stories about people and places – both familiar and forgotten – while building awareness of issues that have shaped Oregon in the past and continue to define its future. We invite you to explore Oregon’s rich history through this unique partnership.


Oregon Historical Photo of the Week


OHS also proudly partners with OPB on a weekly web series showcasing some of the photographs that were digitized for use in Oregon Experience episodes. Click here to see the latest posts featuring photos from our collection as well as collections around the state!

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