Museum a haven for imagination
Dr. Alice Parman outlined possibilities for a Central Oregon Heritage Center at the Jefferson County Historical Society's dinner and auction April 14, in Culver.
Some 120 people attended the fund-raiser, which raised an estimated $6,000 for the proposed heritage center.
Parman, who works as an interpretive planner for museums, said a museum should have a connection between the area's early experiences and people living there now.
She said the word "museum" comes from a Greek root word meaning "temple of the muses."
Museums can have multiple functions, she said, listing off ideas.
"In our age of packaged ideas delivered by mass media, a museum is a haven for the imagination. We can imagine how things use to be, and learn how things really are," Parman said.
It can preserve objects, artifacts and information from previous generations. Sometimes, the wisdom of forebears is needed again, she said, citing people trying to live off the electric grid. At a museum, they can find kitchen and home and yard devices that don't need power.
"People can turn to museums to see what's been tried and what worked," Parman said.
She said museums should offer viewers choices, and feel welcoming to people from all walks of life. "Museums, like libraries, have no age limits, no requirements, are open to all and open to learning," she noted.
To tourists, a museum can be a visitor attraction, serving as the front porch of the community, she suggested.
It should be a center of creativity where visitors can make and do things. The Jefferson County Heritage Center plans to have a "History Playhouse" as well as a community meeting room to be an active part of the community.
Areas planned for the center include "People and the Land," featuring history of the area; a "Long Remembered" section with information on people like Howard Turner, whose legacy has endured; a "War and Peace" area showing the food rationing and war uniforms of World War II, in addition to snapshots of current military personnel from Jefferson County.
"Knowledge creates respect, and museums teach people to deepen their knowledge," Parman observed.
Historical society board member Harold Moore said by next spring, they hope to have a location finalized and a preliminary architectural design drawn up for the center.