Know Before You Go
Hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday noon–5 p.m.; admission charged.
Explore Oregon’s fascinating history at the Oregon Historical Society on downtown’s South Park Blocks, across from the Portland Art Museum.
The museum’s collection includes more than 85,000 pieces, including Native American artifacts, memorabilia from Portland’s 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition and the “Portland Penny” — the very coin tossed in the air by city founders Asa Lovejoy (from Boston, Mass.) and Francis Pettygrove (of Portland, Maine) to determine which of their hometowns would be the new city’s namesake (“Portland” beat “Boston” on two out of the three tosses).
The museum features many permanent and rotating exhibits covering local history both before and after Oregon became a state in 1859. One of the most popular exhibits is the award-winning “Oregon My Oregon,” which tells the state’s story from the region’s earliest inhabitants through the Oregon Trail period and early settlements and industries. Although there is plenty of Oregon-specific content, other featured exhibits have included national themes like “Windows on America,” a world-class collection of presidential history and artifacts.
Tree- and forest-lovers of all ages can learn about sustainability and experience a Portland icon at the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum.
High in the West Hills, the Pittock Mansion offers picture-perfect views of the city as well as a revealing insights into Portland's history.
The Portland Art Museum is central to the city's cultural district, housing a large and wide-ranging collection of artworks.