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Latino/a/x and Hispanic Heritage Preservation in Oregon: Building a Network Summit Event – Connections Made and Lessons Learned

August 16, 2021

by Oregon Heritage staff

Last April, Oregon Heritage hosted an online event to bring people together who want to work on increasing the research, documentation, designation, and interpretation of Latinx and Hispanic history in Oregon. The idea of the event was to connect people who have this shared goal, share some existing resources about this history, and explore how to go about expanding this effort.

In connecting people, the intention was to bring people together for a conversation and build a network by showing models of networking. The event was facilitated be two members of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, a national, grassroots organization of Latinx people doing preservation work. Despite being a young organization, they are a good example of a network and were able to share other examples from around the country. Other networking examples included the Oregon Women’s History Consortium and the Oregon Folklife Network models.

Existing resources for finding Latinx and Hispanic history include Oregon State University Oregon Multicultural Archives, University of Oregon Latino Roots, and the Oregon Historical Society. Hearing from these resources was a highlight to the day by showing work people are already doing and information accessible to all. It was informative and inspiration.

The discussion provided useful conversation that was used by the facilitators to summarize and provide recommendations for moving forward.

  1. Center the Latinx community. Compile an inventory of existing Latinx community organizations and heritage/history-related initiatives. Include present-day organizations and initiatives, as well as any resources for Latinx heritage. The purpose for this exercise is to identify potential partners, build relationships, and identify what is already being done related to Latinx heritage in Oregon.
  1. Focus on building interest and relationships. As a follow-up to the April 2021 event, host a limited series of virtual events (3-4) centered on Latinx community organizations in Oregon (perhaps identified in the inventory above). Many attendees enjoyed learning and sharing information about existing Latinx heritage work being done in Oregon. Additionally, attendees noted interest in hearing from present-day community leaders representing long-standing Latinx community institutions. Invite representatives from such organizations to share their stories. This programming could be formatted as a speaker series focused on a different theme each time (e.g. Community Organizations, Historic Sites, Labor, Visual & Performing Arts, etc.).
  1. Foster continued dialogue. Create an online mechanism for networking and resource-sharing. This might take the form of a listserv, Facebook group, or other online platform. This can help lay the groundwork for any potential statewide network and allows it to happen organically.
  1. Invest in Latinx community and bolster heritage conservation. Build a foundational effort around Latinx heritage in Oregon. While Oregon’s story is different, a relevant example is the creation of the Latinos in 20th Century California MPDF. This document laid the groundwork for several nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.
  1. Center and engage youth. Invite young people (high school through graduate school) to future events, programs, and initiatives related to Latinx heritage in Oregon.

The event brought together people who want to increase Latinx and Hispanic heritage in Oregon. The participants included librarians, archivists, archaeologists and people who with museums, historic properties and downtowns, cemeteries, and more. Many attendees identified as Latinx or Hispanic. People who intend to work on the recommendations above have been connected. It started meaningful dialogue.

The event itself did not meet the above recommendations, the primary one being centering the Latinx/Hispanic community. People from that community were invited and participated and presented. Centering is more than an invitation. It is building relationships, offering resources, adjusting cultural practice, and doing the work on the terms of the community we are working with. And, in the case of the Latinx and Hispanic community, language is involved in centering. This lesson became more and more apparent in planning for the event, during the event, and from the event evaluation.

Oregon Heritage is committed to continuing this work, supporting those who what to move this effort, sharing our resources with more organizations, and changing our practices and materials to better serve more people. A big thanks to those that participated and those who gave us critical feedback to consider. We look forward encouraging this work into the future.

For upcoming Oregon Heritage Conferences and Summits, visit here.

The story of Henry Dosch, born June 17, 1841

June 17, 2021

Written by Jim Carmin, John Wilson Special Collections Librarian, Multnomah County Library

Although little known today, Henry Ernest Dosch had a lasting impact as one of the leading promoters of Oregon in the first years of the 20th century. Born on June 17, 1841 in Kastel, Germany, he emigrated to the United States in 1860, first to St. Louis where he fought on the side of the Union Army led by John C. Fremont; after his discharge he signed up as a bullwhacker and drove oxen from Omaha to Salt Lake City, and then joined the Pony Express in Virginia City, Nevada. After a brief interlude in Northern California Henry ultimately landed in Oregon in 1864, initially in The Dalles, then Canyon City, and finally in Portland in 1875.

His interests and knowledge of horticulture was widespread and influential; most notably he introduced a hardier English Walnut into the state, and served as Oregon Superintendent of Horticulture for multiple terms. It also was the focus of much of his work promoting the state at world’s fairs and expositions during this time. He directed Oregon’s efforts at the Pan-American Exposition (Buffalo, New York, where he was present when President William McKinney was assassinated); Inter-State and West Indian Exposition (Charleston, South Carolina); Trans-Mississippi Exposition (Omaha, Nebraska); National Industrial Exposition (Osaka, Japan); and Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, Missouri). He served as Commissioner General and Director of Exhibits at the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition and Oriental Fair in Portland  (which was open from June 1-October 15, 1905); and in 1909 he served as Director of Exhibits at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle.

He and his wife, nee Marie Louise Fleurot, had many children including Roswell, who was a successful sculptor and art professor at the University of Oregon before he died in 1918 during the influenza pandemic; Camille, who became the Society Editor at The Oregonian; and Arno, who was recognized as an important international news correspondent covering wars and revolutions in the first half of the 20th century. The papers of the family are part of the John Wilson Special Collections of Multnomah County Library.

Henry Dosch lived a long, productive life, dying at age 81 in 1925, and is interred at River View Cemetery in Portland.

This story was provided to the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries by the Multnomah County Library. More information about Henry Dosch and the history of the Lewis and Clark Exposition can be found at the Library’s Gallery.

Cemetery Connections: Fannie Fairchild Arbogast

June 4, 2021

By Sarah Silbernage, Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries

While some people prefer spending their lunch breaks at a nice restaurant, my favorite lunch break is spent wandering through a historic cemetery, if there is one in the vicinity. On this overcast fall day in 2018, I was driving by the Ritter cemetery and decided to take my lunch break and spend some time visiting this well-kept cemetery. The small community of Ritter, Oregon is located south of Pendleton and North of Mt. Vernon along the Middle Fork of the John Day River, and is known for the Ritter Hot Springs. Walking around the cemetery and wondering about the lives of those who now rested there, I was drawn to this beautiful stone. Upon closer inspection I read “Fannie Arbogast Beloved Wife of H. H. Arbogast Born Jan. 25, 1863 Died Aug. 7, 1916.” On the lower inscription it wrote “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would not have told you I go to prepare a place for you.” I thought to myself, I will have to do a little research and see what I can find out about Fannie, whose family clearly loved her so much.

On my way home I was also drawn to an older white house further south from the cemetery that looked like it must have been quite stately in its day.  I took some photos of it to capture the architectural features.  It wasn’t until a year later, when I finally sat down to research Fannie, that I learned the house I admired on my drive had actually belonged to her, and was the home she and her husband built when they moved to Ritter! 

The Arbogast home as it appeared in 2018
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Arbogast Family on the porch of their home.  Photo taken from the Blue Mountain Eagle 20

Fannie and H. H. Arbogast.  Photo taken from

According to Fannie’s obituary, published on August 8, 1916 in the East Oregonian, she was a “prominent Umatilla County pioneer.”  Fannie Fairchild was born on January 25, 1853 in Hancock County, Illinois (East Oregonian 1916).  She was 14 when her family moved to Kansas, and at the age of 16 she married Henry Herman Arbogast on October 28, 1869 in Linn County, Kansas (Kansas Marriages 1840-1935).  Henry Harmon Arbogast joined the 116th Volunteer Illinois Infantry, F Company, of the Union Army in 1862, fought at Vicksburg, was wounded at Kennesaw Mountain and was discharged in June 1865 (Blue Mountain Eagle 2020).  Fannie’s first nine children were born in Kansas; Eva, Ira, Ora, Era, Asa, Marie (who died young), Henry, John Lewis, Roy (United States Census 1880).  The family moved to Oregon via railroad in 1888 and their last child, also named Fannie, was born in Oregon in 1891 (Family Search 2021).  Fannie and her husband farmed, ranched and operated a sawmill in Ritter.  They were issued a homestead patent for the property on June 11, 1896 and the home was built around that time as well (Blue Mountain Eagle 2020 and BLM GLO Records 2021).  It was clear while searching through old East Oregonian newspapers that the Arbogast family was well known and respected in the Ritter area as well as Umatilla and Grant counties.  Fannie and Henry moved to Pendleton when she started getting ill in April of 1916 (Blue Mountain Eagle 2020).  Fannie was seriously ill for many months and passed on August 7, 1916.  Multiple news articles mentioned that the family and multiple friends were accompanying the body of Fannie to her final resting place at the Ritter Cemetery.  For so many friends to also travel with her for the funeral, she clearly touched many lives.  It is interesting what stories can unfold during a quick lunch stop in a historic cemetery!


Blue Mountain Eagle

2020      A Civil War Veteran’s Legacy, written by Jason Arbogast

BLM GLO Records

2021 Land Patent Search,

East Oregonian

1916      Mrs. H. H. Arbogast Called by Death, East Oregonian, August 8, 1916.

Family Search

2021  Fannie Fairchild Family Tree

Kansas Marriages

1840-1935 database, FamilySearch ( : 14 January 2020), Henry H. Arbogast, 1869.

United States Census

1880 database with images,  FamilySearch ( : 19 February 2021), H H Arbogast, Lincoln, Linn, Kansas, United States; citing enumeration district ED 127, sheet 41A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,254,386.

Collaborations During a Pandemic

April 7, 2021

In March we released the results of the first of three COVID-19 Impact to Heritage Organizations Survey results. Some of the stories we gathered from that survey give us some insight into how local organizations partnered together during these extraordinary times.

Just a few of the stories from the survey include:

  • A heritage organization partnered with their local library to offer an online book club.
  • A heritage organization partnered with a community access television station to produce programming.
  • Nine museums in the same region teamed up to offer a shared admission pass. This program helps offset some of the financial impact of the EO 20-12 closures, encourages visitors to return to museums, and offers admission at a significant discount. The participating museums split the revenue evenly.
  • Genealogical societies in Oregon have been developing cross-promotion of online events in order to boost attendance and support each other.

Pre-pandemic, partnering with other organizations was a way to maximize capacity and money to have a greater community impact. The pandemic has brought out how it’s even more important than ever to connect with other organizations in your region in order to survive and continue to provide a valuable service to your local communities.

The COVID-19 survey #1 results showed that during the period of March 2020-November 2020 respondents partnered with the following types of community organizations:

  • Other heritage organizations
  • Other nonprofits
  • DMO/Tourism organizations
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Main Street organization
  • City Council
  • Schools
  • Local Health Authority
  • Social Service organizations
  • Local Tribal Governments
  • Neighborhood Groups
  • Tenants
  • Ports
  • For profit businesses
  • Libraries

At the state level, these challenging times have helped us realize the importance of a statewide heritage network and we witnessed a lot of positive interactions during several COVID-19 Commiseration Calls we did starting in March of 2020. It’s our hope that we can continue strengthening this network so that it can benefit heritage organizations during the recovery from the pandemic. We really are stronger together.

Volunteer Appreciation – More Important Than Ever!

March 26, 2021

We know that volunteers have a huge impact on our heritage organizations (no really, we do know because we did a study of it last year. Check out the results here). Due to social distancing, state guidelines, and risk of infection, engaging volunteers has been incredibly hard for many heritage organizations this year. With 2021 National Volunteer Week approaching April 18-24 we have got you covered on ways to appreciate your awesome volunteers!

Volunteer Appreciation Language Template – Direct Thank You to Volunteers:

Dear (name of awesome volunteer):

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week and we can’t say enough how much the time and effort you give helps us succeed. This year has challenged us in many ways but your constant support, enthusiasm, and ability to adapt has helped us keep moving in this ever changing world. From following the state guidelines to keep all of us and our visitors safe, to doing projects from home, to collecting stories of history happening now, to helping us plan our reopening, every hour, every minute—makes a difference. 

And it’s more than that. Your volunteer work supports our community’s identity. Heritage organizations like ours help community members remember and learn from the past. They provide spaces for reflection and critical thinking about our future. They make vibrant communities.

Thank you for your contribution to us and the community and we look forward to seeing you soon!

(If you can include a personal note for each volunteer, even better!)

Volunteer Appreciation Language Template -Social Media Post Template:

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week! Join us in thanking our dedicated volunteers!

Volunteers provided _(total hours)__ hours of service to our organization this year.
Volunteers allowed us to serve_(insert number)_of virtual visitors through our online exhibits and programs!
We’re proud of the major projects our volunteers helped us accomplish: ______________.

We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers. Help us thank our heritage heroes in the comments below!  

Volunteer Appreciation Ideas During Social Distancing

  1. Write and mail a thank you letter.
    1. Add a gift.
      1. Lifesavers – “You are a lifesaver!”
      2. Mints – “You mean a mint to us!”
      3. Chocolate Coins – “Your work is solid gold!”
      4. Gummy Bears – “We can’t bear to be without you!”
      5. Coffee Packet –” You keep us going! You keep it perky!”
      6. Fortune Cookie – “You are our good fortune!”
  1. Do a drive by and hang a sign at their house.
  2. Alternatively, have a reverse parade and have your volunteers drive by to get an appreciation card and/or gift.
  3. Share with the world. Tell the number of volunteers and hours of work, and where appropriate and with permission list them individually.
    1. Newsletter announcement
    2. Social media post a thanks
    3. Send a letter to the editor of your local paper
    4. Put a big thank you sign on your window
  4. Have an awards program
    1. Mail the award
    2. Feature individual stories in newsletter and social media
    3. Hold an online ceremony – in formal gear and all to make it fancy!

For some long term volunteer appreciation planning, don’t forget to submit nominations for local, state, and national awards, like the Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards and the Excellence on Main Awards.

Additional Volunteer Resources

Creative Collaborations Support Vibrant Downtowns

February 5, 2021

By Sheri Stuart, State Coordinator, Oregon Main Street

A healthy and vibrant historic downtown or neighborhood district doesn’t just happen. It takes the dedicated efforts of a broad spectrum of partners who value the central role these district’s play as the heartbeat of the community: a place to shop, eat, work, live, invest, and play. Collaborations take many forms – from one-time partnering on a specific project or activity to deeper partnerships forged over time. Here’s some ways local programs collaborate with other community entities:

  • The City of Woodburn collaborated with Republic Services to address the unsightly condition of the very visible downtown alleys – a primary concern of downtown business and property owners. The collaboration included painting over graffiti; installing motion-sensor lighting, security cameras, and dumpster enclosures; and adding color accents.  Republic Services was at the table from the start and provided support including cleaning up debris, replacing damaged and vandalized containers, installing the enclosures, and providing soil for planters. Thanks to the partnership, the City has achieved their goal of providing safe, clean, and pedestrian-friendly alleys.
  • Astoria Downtown Historic District Association (ADHDA), the Astoria Parks and Recreation Department, and Astoria Parks and Recreation Foundation have been solid partners on many different activities for over eight years. Collaborations include use of the city watering truck to maintain downtown planters; providing tools, staff, and expertise for the “Love Your Streets” downtown clean-up; support for ADHDA’s main fundraiser, the Pacific Northwest Brew Cup, by allowing use of hose bibs and tables and chairs which saves a significant amount of money; and supporting Movies in the Park sponsored by ADHDA with all proceeds going to the Foundation to underwrite fitness activity fees for residents who can’t afford them.
  • The Klamath Falls Downtown Association and the City of Klamath Falls both have a vested interest in a flourishing, vibrant downtown and have demonstrated an ability to leverage limited resources into meaningful, impactful outcomes. The City contracts a number of downtown activities to KFDA, including management of banners and flowers, programming and scheduling for downtown parks, and marketing and promotion. Beyond that, KFDA staff and key City staff meet every two weeks to discuss ongoing projects and new ideas and to escalate issues of mutual concern; they regularly share content via email and social media to ensure that appropriate information is received by as many interested consumers as possible; partner to administer surveys and disseminate information related to regulatory issues in downtown; and include two city staff members, one City Councilor and the Chief of Police, as ex-officio members on the board. Rather than creating obstacles, the City is regularly a catalyst for ideas that support preservation-based revitalization under the Main Street framework. Learn more more about their partnership here in their video for 2020 Excellence in Downtown Revitalization Award.

All forms of collaborations are important to build understanding and awareness of each partner’s goals, use scarce resources wisely, and create a network for future collaborations.

Reflection: Caring for the Copper Canisters at the Oregon State Hospital Memorial

January 29, 2021

By Eleanor Sandys, Interim Visual Arts Coordinator and Registrar & Research Specialist, Oregon Arts Commission

Eleanor Sandys is the collections manager for the Percent for Art Collection, a program managed by the Oregon Arts Commission. Oregon’s Percent for Art legislation sets aside one percent of funds for the acquisition of public-facing artwork in all state building construction plans with budgets over $100,000. The program oversees over 2,400 of the state’s collection of art in public places, which includes the Oregon State Hospital Memorial. Eleanor’s job entails visiting artworks to check on their condition and advise state agencies on maintenance and preventive conservation.

Image courtesy of Oregon Arts Commission

As the door opens to the glassed-in portion of the Oregon State Hospital Memorial, my stomach flutters. The feeling is partially excitement about having special access (like going behind stanchions in an historical museum), and also a sense of awe and trepidation at being in close proximity to the copper canisters within, that once held the cremated remains of individuals who died 50 to 100 years ago.

Designed by artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio and installed in 2014, the Memorial honors over 3,400 individuals who passed away while in state institutions from 1913-1970. A peaceful space that inspires reflection, the Memorial raises these individuals’ experiences and brings attention to society’s neglect of those with mental illness. It also helps bring resolution to the story, as family members can claim the remains of their loved ones taking them home to a final resting place.

I am here to document the canisters’ condition, as a compliment to a study of the environmental conditions and functioning of the HVAC system in this historical building. Funded by an Oregon Cultural Trust Partner Grant and in partnership with the State Hospital, the Oregon Arts Commission is conducting maintenance on the Memorial. My condition report will include a description of the canisters’ condition, photographic documentation, and recommendations for preventive conservation.

The canisters have been through an incredible journey: first buried in a hospital cemetery then dug up when the land sold; installed in an underground vault that flooded; re-dug up and stacked on storage shelves for many years before becoming part of this Memorial. During the Memorial project, the cremains housed in the canisters – by then heavily corroded – were transferred to new ceramic urns.

Stepping through the door, I begin surveying the canisters. Metallic corrosion blooms from the canisters’ surfaces—stunningly rich green, turquoise and white crystals with radiating patterns. Exposure to groundwater while in the vault catalyzed the chemical reactions. The slow eruption of corrosion is now unstoppable and, in a sense, the active surface changes give the canisters a life of their own. Natural forces are reclaiming these objects, breaking them down to disintegrate once again into the earth. I find myself vacillating between scientific explanations of corrosion and reflections on human existence – our mortality and the passing of time. We are taught as museum professionals that our job is to maintain objects forever, and my job is to slow these canisters’ deterioration if possible. Yet the natural progression of time and cycle of life, unstoppable forces, are playing out here before my very eyes.

Bringing myself back to my conservation duties, I complete my documentation. Stepping back through the door I take a deep breath. It is has been an honor to spend time with these canisters – to witness their beauty and know their story. In caring for these physical objects, we bring value and recognition to the deceased and ongoing narratives about what their legacy means.

Additional Resources

Oregon Heritage Reflects on 2020

January 8, 2021

To say this has been an unprecedented year would be an understatement. Typically in our end of year message we would summarize the highlights, include several statistics and numbers, and celebrate all the heritage efforts accomplished this year by all of you. In short, it would be a message filled with positivity and cheer. To not acknowledge the challenges we have all faced this year personally and professionally would be remiss of us. While positivity may seem in short supply these days, we cannot express how much we admire each and every one of you for how you are weathering the storms that have come rolling through 2020 and will continue into 2021. This year made it so clear to us the value of heritage resources and the importance of a statewide heritage network to support each other during these turbulent times.

Upon reflection of the past year, Oregon Heritage staff has learned a lot about responding to emergencies and the importance of preparation, how to navigate the fine line of celebrating wins while respecting those that have lost so much, and how to continue serving all of you the best we can while managing working from home, layoffs, and travel restrictions that forced us to move our technical assistance online.

With that said, here are some of our observations, resources, responses, pivots and steps forward for preservation efforts in Oregon from 2020:

Disaster Response & Recovery

  • Commiserating during an ongoing crisis is an important step in dealing with the crisis. This was made clear during the 5 COVID-19 commiseration calls we initiated to help folks not feel alone when managing their organization during the crisis. Topics included event pivots such as Preservation Month events in May, reopening, inclusivity, and the value of heritage organizations.
  • Oregon Heritage and our partners, including the Oregon Cultural Trust, Nonprofit Association of Oregon, Oregon Community Foundation, Cultural Advocacy Coalition, State Library, State Archives, and more, came together to ensure heritage organizations received support throughout COVID-19 & wildfire response.
  • SHPO coordinated with FEMA, State agencies and tribes in response to the wildfires.
  • We developed a COVID-19 resource page and a wildfire response and recovery page that combined have been accessed over 1700 times. While the reason these pages were developed are disheartening, the fact that these resources will exist for the future will help us respond faster and better. And we kicked off our Oregon Heritage Bulletin Resilience Series.
  • Last year we launched a pilot project in Cottage Grove that wrapped up this year and resulted in a guidebook and videos for Community Disaster Resilience Planning for Heritage Resources. While we knew when we initiated the project a year ago that it would be important, we did not realize how quickly it would become important in the face of the wildfires this year.

Value of Heritage

Main Street

  • initiated weekly calls to help support each other and the ongoing pandemic crisis they were seeing in their downtowns. In addition, OMS partnered with Washington Main Street to schedule periodic, topical conversations between local executive directors in our respective states.
  • pivoted during the holidays to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Preservation & Documentation

  • The Oregon Heritage Commission released the 2020-2025 Oregon Heritage Plan as a call to action, deviating from traditional plans. It outlines 4 goals that are important to the Commission and asks organizations to join us in working towards them.
  • The Oregon SHPO added 3,163 properties to the inventory of archeological and historic resources, and submitted 14 nominations to the National Parks Service for listing in the National Register of Historic of Historic Places, including the Portland African American Multiple Properties Document, a tool that will help list more properties within that context, and the Darcelle XV property, a site significant for it’s for its role in gaining acceptance for drag and gay rights (see recently listed nominations here).
  • We made steps forward on working on a Depression Era Multiple Properties Document project in addition to receiving a grant from the National Park Service to work on a statewide African American Multiple Properties Document project.
  • Reviewed 44 preservation projects, added 12 properties to the state tax program, reviewed 19 submissions for the federal tax program.
  • With improved tracking for our covenant and Special Assessment programs, we monitored 14 agreements.
  • Working with partners and the public to address National Register rules and the Special Assessment program.
  • We moved a promising partnership forward with the State Library of Oregon and the Washington State Library as we look towards solutions for digitizing collections for Oregon heritage organizations and getting them online.
  • 206 archaeological permits for conducting archaeological investigations in Oregon issued by SHPO archaeologists.

Review & Compliance

  • The SHPO review and compliance team received 2,636 submittals to review for the effects of undertakings on cultural resources. The Oregon SHPO provides assistance to agencies whose projects are subject to state and federal historic preservation laws.
  • Sent 2,451 responses to inquiries from federal and state agencies and private organizations and individuals regarding compliance with federal and state laws.

Some of the things we are looking forward to in the new year include the 2021 Oregon Heritage Virtual Summit on Collaboration and Oregon Main Street Conference in Klamath Falls, awarding the 2021 Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards and the 2021 Excellence in Downtown Revitalization Awards, seeking and receiving nominations for the National Register of Historic Resources that support our priorities laid out in our Preservation Plan, and finding creative and impactful ways to assist organizations and reminding them of the value they provide to their communities.

While we understand that challenges will continue on into 2021, please know that we will continue to do our best to help you navigate these challenges.

Thank you for all that you do and please stay strong.

Breaking Down Barriers: Museums For All Initiative

December 11, 2020

Recently the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) had a webinar giving an overview of the Museums For All initiative that started in 2014. Oregon Heritage staff sat in on the webinar as this program supports Goal 2 of the 2020-2025 Oregon Heritage Plan: Increase Access to Heritage.

Museums For All expands access to museums by offering free or reduced admission to those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits). Over 500 museums participate in this program to help breakdown barriers in their community and encourage museum life-long learning opportunities in underserved communities. The program provides to museums the structure and the tools to implement the program locally. Currently, 13 museums in Oregon are a part of the program. Find participating museums here.

For those wondering about the impact the program has had on participating museums, you can check out a 2018 evaluation of the program. According to those leading the webinar, it was reported that there were no overall deficits and often times it can be a revenue generator.

With the upcoming 2021 Oregon Heritage Summit, collaboration is on our mind so when the organizers of the Museums For All program mentioned “Hub Cities”, our ears perked up. Hub cities have three or more participating museums in the program. Museums For All encourages these Hub Cities to work together to leverage the program in the community through shared marketing, partnering with other community resources such as local food banks and transportation authorities, building trust with the community and local museums, and more. There was a Hub City Convening in 2018 and the resulting report from that offers some other ideas as to how these museums can collaborate together to leverage the Museums For All program. Program coordinators mentioned they are also developing some more tools and resources for Hub Cities. Eugene and Portland are current Hub Cities in Oregon.

If you are interested in collaboration with organizations in your community, especially during recovery from the pandemic, consider joining Oregon Heritage in April for the 2021 Summit: Collaboration is Key! We will have panel discussions exploring successes and challenges of partnerships and a workshop on types of collaboration opportunities and how to have a sustainable/successful process as your organization approaches collaboration in order to accomplish its mission and goals. Registration will open in February and we hope to see you there!

Oregon’s historic Main Streets pivot for the holidays

November 25, 2020

Written by Sheri Stuart, Oregon Main Street Coordinator

Downtown Roseburg

Downtown McMinnville

While the holiday season may look a little different this year, our Oregon Main Street communities are finding ways to celebrate and create lasting memories while keeping your health and well-being at the forefront of their plans. Many community holiday traditions have been paused or reinvented, while others worked on created new activities. Some of the things happening across our broad Main Street Network include:

  • Lakeview Community Partnership’s Small Business Saturday activities include ornaments hidden throughout downtown businesses. If you find the ornament, you receive a big bucket of popcorn from the Alger Theater plus extra goodies provided by businesses. In addition, businesses are hosting a home-based business at their location to give them more visibility and consumers more opportunities.
  • Reedsport Main Street worked with volunteers to decorate planters with holly and greens to create a more inviting presence and will move their traditional tree lighting as a virtual event that will be livestreamed on FaceBook (@reedsportmainstreet).
  • La Grande Main Street received a small grant from a local business to help boost holiday decorations, especially re-lighting the Christmas tree.
  • Klamath Falls Downtown Association is helping keep the Snowflake Festival alive after the community needed to cancel the much beloved parade. They encouraged business owners to create their own individual events which they are marketing over a two-week period and also supporting a window decorating contest to spread a little holiday cheer.
  • Historic Willamette is continuing a decorated wreath contest to spread camaraderie among businesses and have also received approval to continue their holiday bazaar by spreading it out over multiple evenings rather than one and hosting as an outdoor vs indoor event.
  • McMinnville Downtown Association is hosting a 12 Weeks of Christmas campaign that features weekly cash give-aways, a children’s scavenger hunt, gift with purchase offered by select retail participants, a men’s shopping night will be sponsored in mid-December, and a holiday window display contest will be launched Thanksgiving weekend. 
  • Gold Beach Main Street is hosting a community lighting competition and will also be doing a drive-by Santa activity to ensure appropriate social distancing while sharing good will.
  • Hillsboro Downtown Partnership is coordinating Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Discover Downtown Sunday activities to support local, independent businesses. They also adapted their Holly Days Celebration as a virtual Treelighting and Entertainment event coupled with downtown shopping opportunities.

Regardless of whether a business is located in one of our Main Street districts, your continued support is essential. Last week, Gov. Kate Brown announced the launch of the “Give the Gift of Oregon” campaign, part of a comprehensive effort to support local businesses statewide in challenging times. “Oregon’s businesses are the backbone of our communities and our economy, and I am encouraging all Oregonians to shop locally this holiday season,” Brown said. “Strengthening our economy starts here at home. Here’s a link to Travel Oregon’s website GivetheGiftofOregon . Featured businesses and gift ideas are featured on its website. The campaign also highlights the Oregon Wine Board’s The Giving Season efforts, as well as the Built Oregon Marketplace, an online platform that provides consumers with an opportunity to discover products from Oregon makers.

On a personal note, I am so grateful for all the efforts of our local main street organizations, local governments, and citizens who rallied to assist local businesses either by connecting businesses with resources and information, adapting marketing and events, relaxing rules and providing financial support, or patronizing businesses through curbside pick-ups, go-fund me campaigns, online shopping, or in-store visits when allowed. To everyone who stepped up to support businesses, you made a difference. While there have been a few downtown business closures, these have been fewer than anticipated. Each closure is a heartbreak, but I am grateful for those who have been able to forge forward. And, many of our districts are reporting new businesses opening. These folks give me hope.