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Explore the Museums of Oregon

Art lovers traveling through Oregon have numerous options, including the Portland Art Museum and the Coos Art Museum.  Portland holds more than 42,000 objects in its permanent collection and is the oldest art museum on the West Coast. Coos features more than 500 works, mainly focused on Northwest and contemporary art.

The Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria is a delight, and the more than 30,000 artifacts are sure to fascinate. Likewise, the Oregon Maritime Museum in Portland reveals the city’s maritime past when you step aboard its 1947 Portland Sternwheeler, a steam-powered tugboat. On land, places like The Rail Depot Museum in Troutdale and the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River are well-worth exploring.

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker reveals what life was like for pioneers on the Oregon Trail, and The Douglas County Museum of Culture and Natural History in Roseburg displays thousands of cultural and natural history exhibits – their natural history collection is the largest in the State. The Four Rivers Cultural Center and Museum in Ontario is a popular draw, as is the Heritage Museum in Astoria and the North Lincoln County Historical Museum. 

A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village

Named after inventor Alfred Carlton Gilbert, A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village is an interactive children’s museum located in Salem. Set in the Cascades region near metro Portland, the center is home to the 52-foot Erector Set – the largest in the world.

A hot spot for history buffs, A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village also features the Andrew T. Gilbert House – found on the National Register of Historic Places. This Queen Anne style structure was built in 1887 – while the museum is open daily until 5 p.m.

Columbia River Maritime Museum

Established in 1963, the Columbia River Maritime Museum is a premier attraction in the city of Astoria. Neatly situated on the banks of the Columbia River along the Oregon coast, this maritime museum yields fun-filled days, and is ideal for all members of the family.

When you embark on a tour of the Columbia River Maritime Museum, you'll find an impressive collection of nearly 30,000 artifacts, more than 20,000 photographs, and a research library containing more than 10,000 volumes. All of the collections here pertain specifically to the Pacific Northwest and the Columbia River.

Coos Art Museum

Established in 1950, the Coos Art Museum is set along the southern Oregon coast in the city of Coos Bay. The museum – housed in a former Post Office building – features over 500 permanent collection pieces, plus art education classes, cultural events, and rotating current exhibits.

The third oldest art museum in Oregon, downtown’s Coos Art Museum is closed Sundays and Mondays. CAM also offers membership, and art for sale and rent – plus the Prefontaine Gallery set in the lobby.

Douglas County Museum of Cultural & Natural History

Located near Roseburg, the Douglas County Museum of Cultural and Natural History, contains exhibit galleries, a library, photo laboratory and research facilities. Since its opening in 1969, the museum has showcased ten thousand years of cultural and natural history in their exhibits and dioramas.

Visit this wonderful museum in the central Oregon Cascades regions, to stroll the variety of exhibits. The museum takes pride in their natural history collection of over 7,500 artifacts - the largest in the state. Gaze at the collection of over 24,000 historic photographs. Just be sure to schedule enough time for seeing it all.

Flavel House Museum

Built in 1884 as the retirement home for Captain George Flavel, the Flavel House is an exceptional display of Queen Anne architecture. Set in Astoria, the Flavel House is a premier historic attraction along the Oregon Coast, overlooking Youngs Bay and the Columbia River.

You'll find the Flavel House near downtown Astoria, just across the street (south) from the Oregon Film Museum. When you visit and tour the Flavel House, you're in for a treat – the entirety of the house has been restored to showcase the grandeur of the Victorian Era.

Four Rivers Cultural Center & Museum

Located on the campus of Treasure Valley Community College, the Four Rivers Cultural Center and Museum is a top Ontario attraction. The museum is named for the four rivers that have supported life in eastern Oregon – the Malheur, the Snake, the Payette and the Owyhee.

Stroll through the museum to view the exhibits, galleries, dioramas,and artifacts of the Hispanic, Northern Paiutes, Euro American, Basque and Japanese/American cultures. Too, visitors are invited to enjoy a musical production or symphony performance in the Meyer-McLean Performing Arts Center.

Heritage Museum

Built in 1904, the Heritage Museum in Astoria houses the Clatsop County Historical Society and a bevy of regional exhibits. Just minutes south of the Columbia River, and a short drive east from the Oregon Film Museum, the museum is a ideal destination for all travelers.

Originally constructed as Astoria City Hall, this excellent coastal museum, today, preserves and celebrates the formative years of Astoria and the surrounding coastal Oregon area. See displays and exhibits on the early pioneers of Astoria, and the Native Americans who were the original residents.

North Lincoln County Historical Museum

Enjoy a look back at local history and lore with a visit to the North Lincoln County Historical Museum – a premier attraction in Lincoln City. Plan a visit to the central section of Oregon's coast and take in the historical sights. You'll find the NLCHM just south of the Oregon Coast Highway on the corner of SW 50th Street and SW Gallery Avenue.

The NLCHM is closed from mid December through the end of January – make sure you plan your visit accordingly. When you do visit, you'll discover free admission for all members of the family. You can see exhibits like 50 Years of Quilts from Eleanor Kramer, and Francis Drake in Oregon.

Oregon Film Museum

Opened in 2010, the Oregon Film Museum is found in Astoria, a charming city along the northern tip of Oregon's coast. The main objective of this museum is to highlight and celebrate the films made within Oregon's state lines.

Find the Oregon Film Museum on the corner of Duane Street and 7th Street near downtown Astoria. Some of the most popular films featured at the OFM include "Kindergarten Cop," and "Into The Wild." The OFM was used in several scenes of the movie "The Goonies."

Portland Art Museum

Established in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is an internationally recognized museum with over 42,000 objects in its varied collections. Take your time viewing the many permanent exhibits, including Mount Hood, the Ox-Cart by Van Gough, the American Art Collection.

Visitors get to "tour the world" without leaving Portland, while strolling through six stories of modern art in this must-see attraction. Be sure to browse the museum gift shop to view the selection of unique gift items, books, jewelry and decorations.

The Rail Depot Museum

Located in the 1907 railroad depot in Troutdale, near Metro Portland, the Rail Depot Museum commemorates the historic rail line. The first depot was built in 1882, by the request of Captain John Harlow, the founder of the town.

Tour the museum to see the historical railroad artifacts and information. Be sure to also tour the old Union Pacific Railroad caboose, while visiting the museum.

Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Musem

Opened in 2007, the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River preserves artifacts significant to aviation and transportation. The WAAAM is a premier destination near the Columbia River Gorge, featuring 95,000 square feet of explorable fun.

You'll find WAAAM right next to the Ken Jernstedt Memorial Airport. Take a guided tour of the museum and view the Detroit Electric Car Model 63, built in 1914, and a 1930 American Austin Coupe. Don't miss the Schweizer TG-3, a WWII glider and the last of its kind.