Historical & Government Museums & Outings
Check your local library for their "Cultural Pass to Adventure" which provides free or discounted entrance to many museums and cultural locations.
Baker Cabin historic site ls a historic 1856 cabin, 1895 pioneer church (used for wedding rentals), and coach house with mud wagon. The grounds are open to visitors year round, the cabin and structures are open for organized tours only as well as scheduled events. To arrange a tour or event, contact the Baker Historical Society secretary firstname.lastname@example.org. (Clackamas-Estacada area)
Canby Depot Museum is housed in Oregon's oldest railroad station and houses displays of photos, artifacts and exhibits of historic significance, which afford a glimpse of 19th century life in this community. (Canby)
Champoeg Historical Site. Once the location of the Northwest Region's first provisional government, and wiped out by floods in 1861 and 1890, Champoeg is now a historical site, nature park, and campground. It has long been a traditional field trip destination for grade school students in Oregon and provides a visitor center, historical re-enactment events, and a pioneer school. (Newberg area).
Children's Museum is a hands on museum for the younger set providing exploration in sound, gravity, and medicine by promoting experimentation and fun. Kids can toy with light and shadow, manipulate water-powered machinery, play dress-up, and work on art projects too. A grocery store and cafe provide them the opportunity to experience the world of adults and expand their boundaries even further. (Eastide Portland) Sadly the museum will close permanently June 2021.
Christian Heritage Ministry Tours of the NW provides tours, speaking engagements, short courses, and self study materials to promote the little known but rich Christian Heritage of the Northwest. Tours of local historical sites, including the Salem-Willamette area, are scheduled each summer with individual and family rates. Group tours are available by reservation. Presentations, courses and classes are available by arrangement. For further information contact Vaughn Longanecker, 503-709-0779, or email@example.com (Salem-Portland meto)
Dickens Carolers are quartet of singers dressed in beautiful, Victorian costumes dated approximately who bring Dickensonian Christmas to life. See their website for appearances throughout the metro area during the holiday season.
End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center provides a glimpse into life on the Oregon trail and pioneer life. Museum, interpretative events, and re-enactments. See website for hours, admission fees, and events. (Oregon City)
Evergreen Aviation Museum houses Howard Hughes' famous "Spruce Goose" and is home to a variety of planes and aircraft on display as well as interactive educational displays and an IMAX theater. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, retreats and resources supporting the field of aviation and aeronautic engineering. (McMinnville)
Fort Vancouver historical site provides a step back into the time of the British Hudson’s Bay Company. Fort Vancouver served as the hub of an extensive fur trading network and quickly became a center of activity and influence. Many historical re-enactment days are provided at the Fort as well as volunteer opportunities for youth. (Vancouver, WA)
Grays Harbor Historical Seaport oversees the renowned Lady Washington and Hawaiin Chiefton. These tall masted ships provide weekend sail trips, harbor tours, and hands-on activities for kids of all ages. These ships travel from various ports on a circuit, so check their online calendar for a port of call near you.
Knights of Veritas is a non-profit organization specializing in interactive educational demonstrations of medieval arms, armour, combat, knighthood and chivalry. They bring the museum to you. Home-based in Moses Lake, Washington (near Seattle) the group travels throughout the nation giving live demonstrations.Their website also provides historical material, equipment, and some training videos. Update September 2022. When I tried, I kept getting security errors on their main website, however this organization is still functional. You can see there facebook page here.
Lavender's Green is a home-based business in Hillsboro that creates authentic reproduction clothing and accessories for various vintage styles from 1770 to the 1930s. They also offer various talks and fashion shows on the history of period fashion. See their website for examples of their work or to arrange a fashion talk or show. (Hillsboro)
McLoughlin House was the home to Hudson Bay Company's Dr. John McLoughlin, known as the “Father of Oregon” for his aid to American immigrants arriving over the Oregon Trail. The McLoughlin House provides cultural displays, re-enactments and seasonal demonstrations. The adjacent Barclay house provides a gift store and library of hard to find historical books. (Oregon City)
Northwest Civil War Council (NCWC) is a non-profit living history organization dedicated to educating the public about the American Civil War. See the website for events calendar and links for civil war re-enactment clubs and historical information. Several annual events are the Civil War re-enactment held the weekend of July 4th at Willamette State Park in Brooks and the re-enactment held Labor Day weekend at Fort Stevens.
Old Aurora Colony Museum exhibits the crafts and history of the German and Swiss emigrants who established the Aurora Colony, a Christian communal society, from 1856 to 1883. Tours are offered of the buildings that house collections of artifacts that have been passed down over the generations. Special events feature quilts, craft demonstrations, and hands-on activities for adults and children. (Aurora, OR)
Oregon Historical Society's mission states "preserving and interpreting Oregon's past in thoughtful, illuminating, and provocative ways." The OHS provides a museum in downtown Portland, traveling trunks to check out for educational use, discounted group tours, and an interactive website of Oregon history.(Portland)
Oregon National Guard's (Historical) Educational Outreach Program currently provides living-history presentations for the Lewis and Clark Expedition and WWII. Both programs have received heritage awards for their historical presentation (and raves from fellow homeschoolers). The presentations are given FREE of charge. (Traveling Presentation)
Oregon Regency Society is a collection of diverse souls who all share a common obsession with the English Regency (1780 to 1830). The Society provides events, workshops, functions, educational classes, and more. Functions are held in various locations. (Portland Metro and throughout Oregon)
Oregon State Capital Building in Salem has self guided tours as well as government guided tours. The Christian homeschool organization OCEANetwork provides an "Apple Pie Day" once a year, during TeenPact week (see below) for homeschoolers to meet and greet their legislators. (Salem)
Oregon TeenPact is part of the Christian organization for youth leaders, TeenPact Schools, which provides annual programs that allow teens to tour their local capital, meet legislators, and take part in day long and week long workshops. TeenPact of Oregon usually occurs the first part of April in Salem. Spots fill fast. Register early! (Salem)
Phillip Foster Farm was the end of the road for the Oregon Trail. At the farm, visit an historic house and site marking an important time period in American history. Tours available. See events for special times at the farm. Museum attendants have been friendly, informative, and usually period dressed. (Estacada)
Pittock Mansion was home to Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock. During the late 1800s and the early 1900s, their lives and work paralleled the growth of Portland from a small Northwest town site to a thriving city. With its eclectic architectural design and richly decorated interior, including family artifacts, the Pittock Mansion stands today as a living memorial of this family’s contributions to the blossoming of Portland and its people. Tours and events available. (NW Portland)
Rose Farm aka The Holmes House was built 1847 and is the oldest American home in Oregon City. It was the scene of early government meetings and many social events. Tours, craft fairs, and exhibits are available. (Oregon City)
Washington County 4H Wagon Train Trek. For the adventurous, you can join an annual wagon train which is open to participants from the general public. On this working vacation, you actually walk/ride the wagon train for about a week, living just like those many pioneers who came to Oregon via wagon train. Contact the Washington County 4H Extension office for more information. (Oregon Trail)
WyEastExpeditions provide field trips to students including their Talapas, a 42-passenger replica of a Native American dugout canoe. Their trips "move your students' education outdoors where they can connect activities in math, natural history, data gathering, and history of the development of Oregon in a real life setting." Trips include the Talapas indian war canoe trip, a Lewis and Clark dugout canoe expedition, as well as white-water rafting. Phone: (541) 352-6457 (Willamette River, John Day River, Deschutes River areas) When we checked 9.23.22, their website had been suspended and no one answered the phone. We will leave the posting until we know if they have truly gone out of business.