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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Wayne Morse Political Cartoon Exhibit

September – October

Part of the Wayne Morse Legacy Series

University of Oregon Library, Eugene

Free & open to the public


Featuring Jack Ohman, political cartoonist, as keynote speaker on September 30. Wayne Morse collected over one hundred signed original editorial cartoons that were published about him in newspapers around the country. This exhibit will display a representative sample that illustrates his legacy not only during the Vietnam era but also his contributions and controversies with the Republican Party, disputes with several presidents, and conservation and labor issues. Cosponsors include the University of Oregon Libraries and the Wayne Morse Historical Park Board Corporation.

This event is part of the Wayne Morse Legacy Series presented by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Wayne Morse was known for many policies that he championed – labor rights, civil rights, aid to education and conservation. But his most enduring legacy is his consistent and courageous dissent against the Vietnam War. These programs highlight Morse’s prescient opposition to the war on constitutional and moral grounds and the continuing issues of war powers and military policy. All events are free and opened to the public and are cosponsored by The UO Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, Oregon Historical Society, World Affairs Council of Oregon, and The Constitution Project.


Worldwide Spin in Public Day

Saturday, September 20 from 10 AM – 3 PM

Free and open to the public


Oregon’s diverse climates and fertile environments made it a booming hub for textiles in the 19th century. American entrepreneurs saw an emerging textile market all across the western territories, and they went to Oregon to make their fortunes. Raising livestock and making fiber, these frontier craftsmen produced goods that rivaled the finest cloths of Europe. In celebration of this history, OHS will host the Portland Spinnerati for “Worldwide Spin in Public Day.” Come meet us in the plaza, where the spinners will be using wheels and spindles to honor the lost art of hand-made textiles.


Smithsonian Museum Day

Saturday, September 27 from 10 AM – 5 PM

Free admission with Museum Day Ticket


In the spirit of Smithsonian Museums who offer free admission every day, Museum Day is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket... for free! Visit the Oregon History Museum to see 2 Years, 1 Month: Lincoln’s Legacy before it closes October 6. Print your Museum Day ticket at


Brown Bag Lecture: Rabbi Wise

"Preaching Politics in the Progressive Era: Rabbi Stephen S. Wise in Portland, Oregon, 1900-1906"

Professor Mark Raider, History Department, University of Cincinnati

Co-hosted by the Oregon Historical Society and Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education

Monday, September 29 at Noon

Free and open to the public


Rabbi Stephen S. Wise (1874-1949) first attracted public attention at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as the outspoken minister of New York City's venerable Bnai Jeshurun Congregation. In 1900, at the invitation of a group of elite Jewish merchants, lawyers, and politicians in the Pacific Northwest, Wise left New York to assume the pulpit of Portland's Beth Israel Congregation. His move was a chance to strike out on his own and pursue a variety of liberal and Progressive causes. In Portland, Wise made common cause with a broad spectrum of citizen activists. In the space of just a few years, he garnered a reputation as a vociferous opponent of prostitution as well as forced prostitution, a champion of woman suffrage, an advocate of child labor protections and reforming the region's juvenile punishment system, and a defender of the rights of workers (including Chinese immigrants) in the shipyard, timber, fishing, and railway industries. He also stood out as the region's most prominent Jewish and Zionist spokesman. This talk with examine Wise's impact on the region and the way his Portland years shaped his rise as a significant American Jewish leader.


Line of Fire: Cartooning's Political Impact

Monday, September 29 at 6:30 PM

Jack Ohman, Political Cartoonist, Sacramento Bee 

Moderated by Kerry Tymchuk

Part of the Wayne Morse Legacy Series

At the Oregon Historical Society

Free & open to the public; registration required at


Join us for a lively conversation about political cartooning, politics, and history in Jack Ohman's first Portland public appearance since his departure from The Oregonian. This event is part of the Wayne Morse Legacy Series, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and Senator Wayne Morse's brave dissent against that resolution and the war. Sponsored by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics at the University of Oregon; cosponsored by the Oregon Historical Society and the World Affairs Council.


History Pub

"Behind the Curve: History, Science, and Politics of Global Warming"

Joshua P. Howe

Monday, September 29 at 7 PM

At McMenamins Kennedy School

Free and open to the public; canned food donations accepted for the Oregon Food Bank


In 1958, Charles David Keeling began measuring the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. His project kicked off a half century of research that has expanded our knowledge of climate change almost immeasurably. Nevertheless, our global society has yet to find real solutions to the problem of global warming. Why? Reed College professor of History and Environmental Studies shows how exploring the history of global warming from its roots as a scientific curiosity to its place at the center of modern environmentalism can help us to understand what has gone wrong in the national and international politics of global warming, and how Oregonians have begun to buck this trend to do things right.


History Pub is organized by McMenamins, Holy Names Heritage Center, and OHS, and is supported by a grant from the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition (funded via Oregon Cultural Trust).


Oregon Encyclopedia History Night

“Before the Show Began: Theaters of Oregon”

Joe Fitzgibbon and Darrell Jabin

Tuesday, September 30 at 6:30 PM

At McMenamins Edgefield Power Station Theater

Free and open to the public


From small towns to large metropolitan areas, movie theaters have been an integral part of Oregon’s cultural and social fabric for more than one hundred years. Who doesn’t recall those first trips to their neighborhood theater? That buttery popcorn and sweet candy, the gut-busting laughter from on-screen antics, those unexpected thrills, sighs, tears and frights as our fantasies took form in larger-than-life images and sounds in darkened auditoriums. In Oregon, innovators in the theater business worked behind the scenes designing, building, and managing our favorite movie houses. Why did some succeed and others fail? Join us for an evening to celebrate Oregon’s rich cinema history. Learn about some of the artists, entrepreneurs, and moguls who made it all possible. Find out, too, what happened to many of the neighborhood theaters, how some owners adjusted to changing public tastes—including a few hilarious and little-known stories—and what efforts have been made in recent years to save many of these architectural treasures.


Each month, The Oregon Encyclopedia hosts History Nights at McMenamins Pubs in Portland and Bend. The Oregon Encyclopedia is part of the Oregon Historical Society's Digital History Projects, in partnership with Portland State University and the Oregon Council of Teachers of English. The OE is also supported by the Oregon Cultural Trust through the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, Willamette University, and the Oregon State Library.


Oregon Encyclopedia History Night

“What If Heroes Were Not Welcome Home?”

Linda Tamura

Tuesday, September 30 at 7:00 PM

At McMenamins Old St. Francis

Free and open to the public


Post World War II, the community of Hood River garnered national attention for discrediting Japanese American war heroes and petitioning to block the return of Japanese American families after their incarceration in camps on American soil. In the face of this prejudice, ordinary citizens found the courage to rise up and demonstrate principals of justice and decency.


Each month, The Oregon Encyclopedia hosts History Nights at McMenamins Pubs in Portland and Bend. The Oregon Encyclopedia is part of the Oregon Historical Society's Digital History Projects, in partnership with Portland State University and the Oregon Council of Teachers of English. The OE is also supported by the Oregon Cultural Trust through the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, Willamette University, and the Oregon State Library.




Oregon History 101

Exploration and Fur Trade

Dr. William Lang, Emeritus Professor of History, Portland State University
Gregory Shine, Chief Ranger and Historian, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Monday, October 6 at 7:00 pm

At McMenamins Kennedy School
Free and open to the public; all ages welcome


Oregon History 101 is a nine-month public history program series designed to give Oregonians a basic understanding of the state’s significant people, places, and events. Each month, historians present a chapter of Oregon History, beginning with the earliest peoples and ending with the turn of the twenty-first century. The series emphasizes Oregon’s connection to historical themes in American History, including Native history, early exploration, western expansion, race, gender, and social justice, and the post-industrial economy. Each presentation will feature images from the Oregon Historical Society archives and will be filmed and made available on the World Wide Web, along with research guides and other digitized material from The Oregon Encyclopedia and the Oregon History Project. Learn more on The Oregon Encyclopedia.


Forum: Who Controls the Water? A Historical Perspective

Friday, October 10 from 2 to 5 PM

At the Deschutes Public Library

Free and open to the public


The Oregon Historical Society, Deschutes County Historical Society, and Deschutes Public Library invite the public to a conversation about the history of water rights in Oregon and beyond. Speakers include:


“Nitrate In My Back Yard: NIMBY, Groundwater, and The Urban-Rural Divide”

Dr. W. Todd Jarvis, Oregon State University


“Just Add Politics and Stir: Water in 20th Century Central Oregon”

Dr. William L. Lang, Portland State University emeritus


“ ‘The Masters of Infinity’: Climate Change, Western Water, and the Cold War”

Dr. Joshua P. Howe, Reed College

Second Sunday

“A Novel Look at Oregon’s African American History”

Jane Kirkpatrick and R. Gregory Nokes

Sunday, October 12 at 2 PM

At the Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public


Bestselling and award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick and former journalist and author R. Gregory Nokes share their stories of African Americans who settled in early Oregon. Kirkpatrick's latest novel, A Light in the Wilderness, is based on the life of Letitia Carson, an 1845 emigrant from Missouri who may or may not have been a slave when she left with her common law Irish husband Davey Carson. After his death in the Soap Creek Valley near Corvallis, Letitia Carson had occasion to bring a lawsuit during a turbulent time in Oregon for persons of color. Jane’s book is Letitia’s story. Nokes's latest title, Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory, which was a non-fiction finalist for a 2014 Oregon Book Award, sets the stage for understanding the hidden stories of black pioneers, both those who came voluntarily and those who came as slaves. Together these authors explore the weave of fact and fiction and how each brings novel ideas to advance our understanding of history and the men and women who went before us.


Living History Performance

"The Great Dissenters: An Evening with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice John Marshall Harlan"

Presented in costume by Bill Barton and Paul DeMuniz

Co-sponsored by the United State District Court of Oregon

Wednesday, October 15 at 7 PM

At the Oregon Historical Society

Free and open to the public; space is limited, please RSVP to


Join Oregon attorney Bill Barton and former Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz for a living history presentation on two prominent figures in American judicial history, Justice John Marshall Harlan and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. It was Harlan’s lone dissents in the “Civil Rights Cases” 109 U.S. 3 (1883) (in which Harlan maintained that discrimination in public accommodations was a “badge of slavery”) and Plessy v. Ferguson 163 U.S. 537 (1896) (in which Harlan argued that Louisiana’s law requiring whites and blacks to ride in “separate but equal” railroad cars violated the Fourteenth Amendment) that secured for Harlan his place as one of the Supreme Court’s greatest justices. In 1881 Holmes published The Common Law

in which he said that the only source of law is a judicial decision, and that judges decided cases on the facts, and the true basis for judicial decision are drawn from outside the law. During his tenure on the Supreme Court, Holmes advocated broad freedom of speech under the First Amendment, and his most famous dissent was Abrams v. U.S., 250 U.S. 630 (1919) which ultimately went on to become the bedrock of free speech protections in America.


Oregon Archives Crawl & Community Day

Saturday, October 18 from 10 AM – 3 PM

Access to archival institutions at OHS, Multnomah County Central Library, and City of Portland Archives and Records Center

Free and open to the public


The fourth annual Oregon Archives Crawl takes place in three locations — Multnomah County Central Library, Oregon Historical Society, and City of Portland Archives and Records Center — and features collections from dozens more. This celebration of Oregon Archives Month offers the opportunity to meet real, live archivists representing over thirty Oregon archives and cultural organizations and see fabulous examples from their varied collections! OHS will feature special library tours and activities for the whole family. Admission is free for everyone all day! Visit the Oregon Archives Crawl website for up to the date information.


NOTE: The Research Library will be closed on Saturday, October 18 for the Oregon Archives Crawl.


PDX Home Movie Day

Saturday, October 18 from 1 PM – 5 PM

At the Northwest Film Center

Free and open to the public


Home Movie Day is an international event put on locally by film folks interested in dusting off and projecting the home movies found in your basements and attics. Films to be projected include 16mm, 8 mm and super 8 mm. No video tapes will be screened. All movies will be inspected and repaired before projecting. Audience members are encouraged to watch others’ home movies and participate in the screenings while waiting for their own films. Information will also be available regarding transfer services in the Northwest, best practices for storing movies at home, and organizations that might be interested in accepting your films into their permanent collection. For more information on the history of Home Movie Day as well as other locations around the world visit the Center for Home Movies.


Get up to date event information on the PDX Home Movie Day Tumblr. Questions on if your film fits the event specifications? Contact OHS Archivist for Photography and Moving Images Matthew Cowan at


Panel Discussion: 100 Years of Women in the Legislature

Thursday, October 22 at 7 PM

Free and open to the public


This November marks the 100th anniversary of the election of State Representative Marian Towne, the first woman to serve in the Oregon State Legislature.  She would be joined in the 1915 legislative session by Kathryn Clarke, who was elected in a special election in January, 1915. To celebrate this centennial, OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk will moderate a program featuring a panel of former and current women state legislators, who will share stories of their challenges, experiences, and accomplishments. Panelists are:


Vicki Berger

Oregon State Representative 2003-present


Margaret Carter

Oregon State Representative 1985-1999

Oregon State Senator 2001-2009

First African-American woman to serve in the Oregon State Legislature


Bev Clarno

Oregon State Representative 1989-1997

Oregon State Senator 2001-2004

2nd woman to serve as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives


Darlene Hooley

Oregon State Representative 1981-1987

Clackamas County Commissioner 1987-1996

Member, United States House of Representatives 1997-2009


Deborah Kafoury

Oregon State Representative 1999-2005

Multnomah County Commissioner 2008-2014

Chair, Multnomah County Commission 2014-present


Betsy Johnson

Oregon State Representative 2001-2007

Oregon State Senator, 2007-present


Archives Overview Workshop

Friday, October 24 from 9 AM – 5 PM

Anne M. Ostendarp

At the Oregon Historical Society – Madison Room

Early Bird Cost (by September 24): SAA Member - $189, Employees of Member Institutions -$219, Nonmember - $249

Regular Cost: SAA Member - $249, Employees of Member Institutions - $279, Nonmember - $299


Are you working in a small public library, archives, or historical society? Do you have historical records that you don’t quite know what to do with? In this workshop you’ll get an overview of basic archival theory, functions, and practices that protect the integrity of historical records. The workshop will give you a basis for further learning.


In this workshop, you will:


  1. Learn archives and historical records terminology, and get an overview of the body of knowledge needed, ethical responsibilities, and resources for additional information;
  2. Hear about core policy statements, professional standards, and best practices;
  3. Get tools for control of your collections;
  4. Find out about basic preservation steps you can implement;
  5. Learn the basics of arrangement and description; and,
  6. Walk away knowing what your next steps should be.


Enrollment is limited, so register now if you’d like to attend.


History Pub

"Economic Phoenix: A. B. Hammond, the Panic of 1893, and the Astoria and Columbia River Railroad"

Monday, October 27 at 7 PM

At McMenamins Kennedy School

Free and open to the public; canned food donations accepted for the Oregon Food Bank


Greg Gordon is an assistant professor of Environmental Studies at Gonzaga University, having received his PhD in History from the University of Montana. His latest book, Money Does Grow on Trees: A. B. Hammond and the Age of the Timber Baron explores the ecological costs of frontier capitalism. Although reviled in his home state, Montana businessman and railroad builder, A. B. Hammond was regarded as a hero in Oregon upon his completion of the long-awaited Astoria and Columbia River Railroad. This presentation will focus on Hammond’s railroad and lumber enterprises activity in Oregon at the turn-of-the-century and how he turned one of the nation’s worst depressions to his advantage.


History Pub is organized by McMenamins, Holy Names Heritage Center, and OHS, and supported by a grant from the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition (funded via Oregon Cultural Trust).


Oregon Encyclopedia History Night

“Using Ancient DNA & Geochemistry to Determine Past Salmon & Trout Distribution in the Klamath Basin of Southeast Oregon”

Virginia Butler

Tuesday, October 28 at 6:30 PM

At McMenamins Edgefield

Free and open to the public


Each month, The Oregon Encyclopedia hosts History Nights at McMenamins Pubs in Portland and Bend. The Oregon Encyclopedia is part of the Oregon Historical Society's Digital History Projects, in partnership with Portland State University and the Oregon Council of Teachers of English. The OE is also supported by the Oregon Cultural Trust through the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, Willamette University, and the Oregon State Library.



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 logo

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 will engage and entertain you 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.


Upcoming Episodes:


Bill Bowerman

Bill Bowerman (1911-1999) is considered one of the greatest track and field coaches the world has ever known. In his 24 years at the University of Oregon, he won four NCAA team championships and coached 33 Olympians, 16 sub-four-minute milers and 64 All-Americans.


Air Dates: 

Monday, September 22, 9:00 PM

Wednesday, September 24, 2:00 AM


Sam Hill

Sam Hill had great dreams for the Pacific Northwest, and himself. Out of the hardscrabble, do-it-yourself communities of loggers, farmers and ranchers that typified 19th-century Oregon, Hill envisioned a new society built on progress and human ingenuity. He championed grand roadways, built monumental symbols for peace and dared to imagine a farming utopia on the Columbia River. His life was etched with hard fought triumphs and colossal failures, but his enduring devotion to progress made him one of the most important and legendary figures in Oregon’s history.


Air Dates: 

Monday, September 22, 9:30 PM

Wednesday, September 24, 2:30 AM


NEW! Oregon Historical Photo of the Week

Every week, Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state's diverse, exciting history. All photos are courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society. Click for today's photo.

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