Deschutes Historical Museum

Located in Bend, Oregon, the Deschutes Historical Museum preserves and promotes the education of historical events and items related to Central Oregon. The Deschutes Historical Museum has a variety of permanent attractions that showcase the history and significance of Central Oregon. Deschutes Historical Museum



On August 4, 1975, the Deschutes Historical Society was founded with the intent to gather, preserve, and promote anything related to Central Oregon’s history. One of the leading reasons why the Deschutes Historical Society was created was to honor Central Oregon’s history every day, and not just on the National Bicentennial Celebration that occurred in 1975.

After the Deschutes Historical Society was founded, people began donated artifacts to the Society. Quickly, it became apparent the Society needed to have an official location where they could display these artifacts. In the next few years, the Reid School (founded in 1914) stopped educating students and closed. The Deschutes Historical Society thought the Reid School building would be the perfect location to display their collection, but there was a debate within the community of whether the Reid School should be used as a place for the Deschutes Historical Society, or if it should solely be preserved. After debating and negotiating, the Deschutes Historical Society was given the Reid School and took control of the grounds in spring of 1979.

Together, the Society’s Board of Directors and Leroy Smith did much of the needed renovations to the Reid School. With the help of the Office of Historic Preservation and volunteers, the Deschutes Historical Society combined with the Deschutes County Pioneer Association and moved into the Reid School during the summer of 1980, thus creating the Deschutes Historical Museum. Photo: Deschutes Historical Museum

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»Permanent Attractions

Permanent Attractions

Ms. Reid’s Classroom honors the building that the Deschutes Historical Museum resides in. Most people know that the building of the Deschutes Historical Museum used to be the Reid School. This exhibit explores what life was like when the Reid School was founded, and what school was like during that time. There even is an interactive section where visitors can take a diploma questionnaire to see if they would be able to graduate school in the early 1990s.

The Forests of Central Oregon showcases the significance and strong roll that the forests in Central Oregon have played throughout history. This display specifically focuses on the various lumber mills throughout Central Oregon, such as Brooks-Scanlon.

Pioneer Life displays typical objects that could be found in the homes of pioneers within Bend, Oregon, and other parts of Central Oregon. One of the highlighted objects in this exhibit is the wood cook stove that came from the historical Vandevert Ranch.

Native American Tribes and Exploration displays a variety of artifacts that are relevant to the history of the Native American tribes that lived within Central Oregon, as well objects that were left from explorers who visited Central Oregon.

Early Bend Days features a variety of transportation services throughout Bend’s history. One of the highlighted objects in this exhibit is a preserved Holsman Car from 1907. Throughout this exhibit, visitors are allowed to get up close and personal to most of the objects on display. Photo: Deschutes Historical Museum

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»Special Attractions

Special Attractions

The Deschutes Historical Museum regularly hosts special attractions throughout the year. Since it is still the beginning of the year, the Deschutes Historical Museum only has one special attraction on display. For more information about the special attractions at the Deschutes Historical Museum, check out the Museum’s website.

Winter Comes: Oregon’s Nordic Ski History explores the history and significance of Scandinavian immigrants that came to Oregon throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. A combination of artifacts from Norway, Sweden, and Oregon come together in this exhibit to showcase a phenomenal story. This exhibit will be on display until January 28, 2017. Photo: Deschutes Historical Museum

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»Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities

Since most of the educational opportunities are within the combination of permanent and special attractions at the Deschutes Historical Museum, the Museum offers a limited selection of educational opportunities. The two main educational opportunities at the Deschutes Historical Museum are school field trips and research programs.

Schools can visit the Deschutes Historical Museum through their field trip program. During a typical field trip, students guide themselves around the Museum. Although school field trips are free, the Museum recommends that the school donates $1 per person on the field trip. Also, it’s important to note that pre-registration is required for school field trips.

As for the research opportunities, teachers, students, and the public are allowed to utilize the Deschutes Historical Museum’s research library completely free of charge. If you’re interested in participating in one of these educational programs, check out the Museum’s website, or visit the Museum during their hours of operation.

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Bend, Oregon: Deschutes Historical Museum