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Oregon City museums announce exhibit lineup

Volunteer and water power fuel 2015 CCHS exhibits


Photo Credit: PHOTO COURTESY: CCHS - Wool sorters work in Oregon City in this historic photo from 1918.Just as birds return a bit before spring, new volunteer-designed exhibits return to the Clackamas County Historical Society, with opening events the first two weeks of February in Oregon City.

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Oregon City Manufacturing Co.’s water-powered woolen mill at Willamette Falls, the Museum of the Oregon Territory presents “The Oregon City Woolen Mills,” opening Saturday, Feb. 7. Moot, located at 211 Tumwater Drive, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

“The mill at Willamette Falls, established in 1865, became the largest west of the Mississippi and won national awards for its quality woolen products,” said Mark Hurlburt, CCHS volunteer exhibit manager. “Visitors to the exhibit will enjoy historical photographs, artifacts from the mills, learning the process of making a woolen blanket at the mill, and a biography of Isaac and Ralph Jacobs, founders and longtime owners of the woolen company.”

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, Kylie Pine, curator at the Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill, Salem’s wool museum, leads “Fiber to Fabric,” a free program at MOOT. Pine will bring hands-on items from the mill to punctuate her lecture on the rise and fall of industrial wool manufacturing along Oregon’s waterways, which began shortly after mass European emigration introduced breeds of wet-weather sheep to the Northwest territory, and thrived until wool no longer dominated sporting wear and military uniform markets.

“A Changed World: Relics from World War II” in MOOT’s M.J. Murdock gallery is an additional new exhibit, commemorating the 70th anniversary of WWII’s conclusion in 1945. Along with artifacts and uniforms from private collections, the exhibit features a recently donated, 7-foot model of the USS Oregon City, and the ship’s own brass bell.

“The USS Oregon City was a cruiser that was launched in 1945 for the war effort, but never saw action,” Hurlburt said. “New, smaller displays include a history of the Chautauqua Festival in Gladstone, a look at Willamette Falls as an enduring icon, and new artifacts in the Native American exhibit hall.”

Admission to MOOT is $5 for adults, and $3 for children ages 5-18. Admission rates are kept low due to gifts of sponsorship and support from Portland General Electric, Hilltop Mall, the Jacobs Foundation, EyeHealth Northwest, and more. Exhibits can be experienced free of charge on Oregon Statehood Day, Feb. 14, when many Oregon museums open their doors in celebration.

At the Stevens-Crawford Heritage House, also in Oregon City, 2015 exhibits open at noon Thursday, Feb. 5, featuring “Working Thermoses,” an antique beverage container display to warm any nostalgic outdoor-person’s heart, alongside “Heirloom Toys & Dolls,” a collection not exhibited in recent memory, both on display through April.

Admission and tours of the Stevens Crawford Heritage House are free.

More information can be found at clackamashistory.org.

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