Friday, December 18, 2009

Can You Hear Me? Now? exhibition

BCHS recently opened a new exhibition in the first floor gallery called "Can You Hear Me? Now?" The exhibition, which features musical instruments from the American Civil War and the DeMoss Lyric Bards, radios, televisions, telephones, flutes from around the world, and recording & playback devices, will be open for one year. Come see how technology has changed in the past 100 years, and try some of the interactive exhibitions, including a telephone "party line", an oscilloscope, a morse code telegraph, and and mp3 player programmed with many sounds that represent artifacts and eras presented throughout the gallery. More online at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Donations Beautify Museum Grounds

Thanks to Gene Newcomb and The Bark Place for their generous donations to beautify the Museum gardens.
Mr. Newcomb donated $100 to purchase bark mulch, and Development Director, Ron Thiesen, solicited free installation from The Bark Place. The bark was blown in this afternoon!
The tree pictured here is one of four Japanese Maples donated by Dick Bryant. The trees have been planted in the "bump outs" that were constructed during the hardscape project. Dick Bryant, local architect, propagates his own trees. Thanks to all for your generous gifts to the Museum!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Museum Open November 27-28, 2009

Family and friends visiting for the holidays ? Bring them to the Benton County Museum in Philomath to see the "Horner Homecoming" exhibition before it closes at 4:30 pm on November 28th.
Unique and interesting items like this iron are on display, but only for a few more days!
You'll also want to check out the Museum store for unique gifts and books. Members receive a 10% discount.
For more information go to

Friday, October 30, 2009

Oregon Heritage Commission to meet in Philomath

The next quarterly meeting of the Oregon Heritage Commission is scheduled to meet in Corvallis and Philomath on Monday, November 2, 2009. The commisssioners will visit Oregon State University's Valley Library in the morning for a tour and overview of digital collections and initiatives, the Oregon Multicultural Archives, and the Northwest Digital Archives. James Fox of the University of Oregon will also speak abou the Envisioning Oregon project.

The commissioners will travel to Philomath for lunch, their regular meeting, and a tour of the Benton County Historical Museum's Collection Care Facility. Benton County Commisssioner Jay Dixon will welcome the commissioners at 1:00 pm. The public is invited to attend the afternoon meeting.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rails Installed in Museum Storage Building

In August, 2009, the Benton County Historical Society & Museum received $18,000 from the Oregon Cultural Trust to install rails in the Collections Care Facility. SpaceSaver Specialists, Inc. finished installation yesterday. This is an important first step to achieve our goal to install compacting shelving in this area of the storeroom for artifacts. Almost 75% of the collection still needs proper shelving. The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation will grant the Society $25,000 toward the purchase of shelving units if $150,000 can be raised.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quilt Exhibition & Construction Update

"Celebrating Oregon's Heritage" is the theme of our 2009 Quilt County exhibition! The quilt show will be open August 28-October 17, 2009.

The exhibition includes both contemporary quilts by Benton County quilters and quilts from the museum collection that date from 1824 through 1985. Six of the museum’s quilts were made in the 19th century. All of the quilts will be represented in an online museum exhibition at

Contemporary quilters represented in the show include Nancy Bryant, Diana Cleland-Boyle, Carol Davis, Pam Duren, Debbie Garvin, Marcia Gilson, Marcy Gregg, Babette Grunwald, Liz Hoffman, Dianne Jackson, Susan Johnson, Judy Juntunen, Kerry McFall, Sidney Snell, Shirley Strub, Ann Smith, Sandra Thiesen, Jan Tallis, Yvonne Thomas, and Lisa Ullmer.

The many contractors and sub-contractors working with Greenberry Construction are making rapid progress on our new hardscape. Although one side of the driveway is closed, the museum is open, with parking in the rear of the building. Thank you for visiting the museum.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Board of Trustees Honors John Croy

At the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Benton County Historical Society on Thursday, August 20, 2009 John Croy was recognized for his generous sponsorship of this year's Chautauqua program.

In its 13th year, the summer Chautauqua lecture series was co-sponsored by the Museum, Corvallis/Benton County Public Library, and Linn Benton Community College Benton Center, with support from the Oregon Council for the Humanities. But, Humanities funding was awarded for only two lectures in the series. John Croy's generous sponsorship of four lectures made the program possible.

Four hundred twenty people attended the six lunch-time talks at the Corvallis Library, hearing scholars presentations ranging from "Stitched Patches: Quilts of Celebration" to "Changing Perspectives on Oregon's Geology".

Many thanks to John Croy, an Edward Jones financial advisor, for his generous support.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Online Museum Exhibitions

This is the last week to visit our decorative arts exhibition "Home Is Where The Art Is" in the Moreland Auditorium. Admittedly, low resolution photos are a poor substitute for seeing the real thing, but if you can’t visit the museum this week you might enjoy seeing the online exhibition at Researchers in Michigan and Lincolnshire, England were pleased to find examples of O.H. Copson’s paintings on our web site, so it is satisfying for us to fulfill our mission as "we explore with our visitors the dynamics of our region in relationship to the world".

This week we added a new online museum exhibition called “Tale of Two Colleges: Philomath College and College of Philomath”. Soon we will also have an online counterpart to the upcoming Quilt County exhibition in celebration of Oregon’s heritage.

Please keep checking back to our web site for more fun historical facts, anecdotes, featured artifacts, and online exhibitions. Thank you Susan Christie for assisting with our web work.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Driveways, Sidewalks and Parking Lot at the Museum!

Demolition began this morning for the Museum's hardscape improvement project. Construction of new sidewalks, driveways and parking lot will take place over the next two months. Access to the Museum will be limited to one driveway, so please take care when turning off Hwy 20/34.

Thanks to Cody Timmins of Greenberry Construction for coordinating the project and soliciting many in-kind gifts from sub-contractors. This helped bring the cost of the project down and insured that the Museum could complete the project this year.

Friday, July 10, 2009

BBQ at the Museum kicks off Philomath Frolic and Rodeo Weekend

The Museum's annual Philomath Frolic and Rodeo kick off BBQ last night (Thursday, July 9, 2009) was a great success. About 200 members and friends enjoyed dinner on the lawn behind the Museum building. Even the Frolic Rodeo Queen's horse joined the fun!
Thanks to our sponsor, Starker Forests, Inc. for making this event possible. Special thanks to Valley Catering and Costco for providing a delicious meal.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Museum Taxidermy: In The News

Aspiring journalists Ning Ning Yang and Jennifer Shim wrote about BCHS taxidermy for the and special publication "The Pride". They were participants in the Journalism Camp 2009 of the Newspaper Institute for Minority High School Students, sponsored by The Oregonian and Oregon State University. They interviewed collections staff and volunteer Len Brooks, took photos, and published their stories online. Click here to check it out!

Friday, June 26, 2009

OSU 4H Volunteers Spruce up the Grounds at the Museum

About 50 volunteers from Oregon State University's
4H Youth Development Older Youth Program arrived in a motor coach at the Museum this afternoon about 3:30 pm to give an hour of help to Bob Holton, our maintenance man, on landscape projects. The 4H-ers hauled and spread bark mulch and chips to garden beds around the Museum. Thanks to these energetic young people for helping to spruce up our grounds!

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Exhibition: Home Is Where The Art Is

"Home Is Where The Art Is" is open to the public through August 22. Some of the artifacts may also be seen online

Many volunteer hands made this exhibition possible. Martha Fraundorf saw this project through from planning, selecting objects for display, retrieving them from storage, detailed historical research, and installation of the final exhibition. Conservators J. Claire Dean and Tom Fuller advised us about how to best care for the sterling silver. Kate Mathews and Marcia Cutler cleaned some of the tarnished silver. Joyce Nesson dusted the furniture and wood items. Conservator Ingrid Seyb prepared the glass and ceramics.

The oldest piece in the exhibition is the sampler made by Sarah Lewis in 1796.

The most recent piece in the show is Richard Powell’s sequoia bowl, which he carved in 2007 using wood from giant Sequoia tree that formerly served as Philomath's public Christmas tree. The 105 ft. tree was felled in March 2007 to make way for the Hwy. 20/34 couplet.

Local contemporary pieces include Dale Donovan’s vase, Dick Powell’s sequoia bowl, a glass spaceship candle holder by Skip Horton (Gazelle Glass) and the frame of Don Wilson’s leather-backed chair.

Objects from thirteen countries are on display. Countries represented include Azerbaijan, Thailand, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, India, Iran (Persia), Italy, Japan, Syria and the United States.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Preparing for Upcoming Exhibition

"Home Is Where the Art Is", an exhibition of decorative arts from the collections, will open on Friday, June 19, 2009 in the Moreland Gallery at the Benton County Historical Museum.

Joyce Nesson, at left, is our Tuesday front desk volunteer. She also helps Mark Tolonen, exhibitions curator, prepare objects for exhibition like this wood chair with inlay from Damascus, Syria from the Horner Collection. The chair dates from the early 20th century. Other objects in the exhibition include a Persian-influenced spoon and brass bowl. Come and see these beautiful objects when they go on display! The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. Admission is free!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

First Friday Farmers' Market Huge Success!

The first Farmers' Market was held in front of the Museum on Friday, June 5, 2009 from 4:30 to 7:00 pm.

The market was a success! Vendors reported brisk sales.

The Museum remained open until 7:00 pm, and many shoppers took the opportunity to view the exhibitions.

Thanks to Ron Thiesen, Development Director, for organizing a great event!

The next market is scheduled for Friday, July 3, 2009.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Alice Rampton Receives Recognition from Oregon Community Foundation

At the Oregon Community Foundation Regional Annual Meeting Luncheon at the Springhill Country Club on May 27, 2009, Alice Rampton (holding flowers, left) was honored for her service to the Oregon Community Foundation since 1998.

Alice, current advisor and past president of the Board of Trustees of the Benton County Historical Society, has given countless volunteer hours in service to the community. We appreciate everything that Alice has done!

To learn more about the work of the Oregon Community Foundation, visit

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BCHS Volunteer Recognized

Wanda Leach, dedicated Benton County Historical Society volunteer, was honored on Thursday, May 21, 2009 at the Samaritan Awards, sponsored by the Philomath Chamber of Commerce. Ron Thiesen served as master of ceremonies. The event took place at the Philomath Scout Lodge.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mary Gallagher leads downtown Corvallis tour

May is Historic Preservation Month! Benton County Museum staff member, Mary Gallagher, led a walking tour of the historic buildings in downtown Corvallis, Oregon on Saturday, May 16, 2009. The weather was perfect, and the crowd of 15 participants enjoyed the tour.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Philomath College Building Window Rehabilitation Project

After several months of work on windows in need of rehabilitation and repair, all windows are back in place in the Old Philomath College building which houses the Benton County Historical Museum in Philomath, Oregon. The project was funded in part by a grant from the Heritage Programs Division, State Historic Preservation Office, Oregon Parks and Recreation.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Karen Illman Miller: The Art of Katazome

Benton County Historical Society is honored to host Karen Illman Miller: The Art of Katazome, a dramatic exhibition of unique fiber arts. The exhibition will be open May 1 through June 13, 2009. Please view online photos of the exhibition at

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

6th Annual Willamette Valley High School Art Competition

The winning entries of the 2009 high school art competition are on public exhibition through April 25. It's a beautiful show by many very talented artists from fourteen Oregon high schools.

It is a lot of work to participate in the competition, taking a strong commitment by teachers, students and families. THANK YOU for your dedication!

This year we had 70 winners in 13 categories. Last year we had 102 winners in 14 categories. Fewer schools submitted art this year.

Was the timing of the show affected by Spring Break schedules? How can we improve the program and encourage broader participation? Please post your comments, ideas, suggestions.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Let there be light

We are excitedly gearing up for the 6th annual Willamette Valley High School Art Competition, which will be open to the public from April 11 through April 25! This year fourteen schools submitted 214 entries in thirteen art categories. The award ceremony will be Saturday April 11 from 2-4pm.

As the winning art was selected I began laying out the room in preparation for hanging the show. Tuesday evening I turned out the lights in the gallery and had a beautiful surprise. The setting sun cast a triangle of light on a corner of one window pane in the gallery. By some cosmic coincidence, the triangle of light landed perfectly on a painting by Vicky Aceves of South Albany High School. Most of the painting is dark tones, with a bright, fiery, triangle at the bottom, and that is precisely where the sunlight fell!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dressed for the 18th Century

Nancy Bryant's lecture, "Dressed for the 18th Century" was the final presentation in this year's Benton Lecture series.

She started her "reverse strip tease" in a chemise and gradually added all the pieces--corset, petticoat, hoops, etc--that upper class women in Europe and America wore in the 18th century. She donned replica jewelry, shoes and wig to complete the outfit.

Eighty people attended the lecture.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Esther Stutzman addresses Society members and friends

Esther Stutzman of Kalapuya and Coos heritage, told stories of her ancestors to an 85-member audience yesterday morning in the Moreland auditorium.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

VALCO Choir Competition

Today the walls of our Moreland Auditorium resonated with the beautiful sounds of about 160 students from five high schools. Organized by Dr. Dan Johnson of Philomath High School, the students gathered for a preliminary competition to qualify for the OSAA State Choir Competition.

The current art show in the Moreland is a student art show, called Art: The 4th 'R', which uns through March 28, 2009.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Museum Tour Guide Series Online

Twenty-six booklets featuring Oregon history were originally published in Horner Museum Tour Guide Series and are now available free online at! Most of the articles were originally written by Kenneth Munford during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

We send gratitude and congratulations to the museum volunteers who made it possible for us to offer this series. Walter Frankel scanned and/or retyped all of the booklets. Susan Christie reformatted them and tweaked the HTML. As time allows, we would like to embellish the articles with sidebars containing historic photos, museum artifacts, and updates.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Museum Volunteers Make a Difference!

Mary Gallagher, Collections Manager and Curator of Research, (far right) working with volunteers in the Collections Care Facility, March 12, 2009.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Talented Philomath Kids Show their Creations

Kids K-12 show their work at the Benton County Museum during the month of March, 2009. Come check out this colorful exhibition!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Art: The Fourth "R" features artwork by Philomath kids

The Benton County Historical Museum has presented "Art: The Fourth 'R'" for over 20 years. Philomath School District students K-12 display their creative work in the Moreland Gallery on the second floor of the Museum now through March 28.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"150 Years of Oregon Art" Exhibition a Success!

As part of our year-long celebration of Oregon's 150 years of statehood, "150 Years of Oregon Art" exhibition drew over 1300 visitors during its two-month run in the Museum's Moreland Gallery.
On February 13, 2009, 100 Philomath Elementary School 4th graders visited the Museum to celebrate Oregon's birthday, and contemplated (see photo) the artwork. Each student chose their favorite piece in the show, then told their fellow students why they chose the piece. This student chose Mark Sponenburgh's wood sculpture, "Overture" ca. 1965.
The Benton County Historial Museum celebrates Oregon 150 all year long with lecture series, special exhibitions and events. Please visit our webiste for more information:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Elvis was in the House!

The Museum's 'Valentines in Vegas' event was very successful! Thanks to all those who came to the Alumni Center on Saturday, February 14, 2009 to support the Benton County Historical Society & Museum! Elvis entertained the crowd and led the gathering in song: Happy Birthday to Oregon in commemoration of 150 years of statehood. Team Casino provided the gaming tables and encouragement for the players. Thanks to the staff and wonderful volunteers who made it happen!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oregon State Library selects 150 Oregon Books for the Sesquicentennial Celebration

What better way to celebrate Oregon's statehood than read a book about the Oregon experience? The librarians at the Oregon State Library in Salem have chosen 150 titles for your reading enjoyment. The list includes books for young and older readers alike.
Go to to download the list.
The Benton County Historical Museum Store carries several of the titles. Visit the Museum Store and check it out!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bring Your Sweetheart to Valentines in Vegas

February 14, 2009 - not only is it Valentine's Day but it's also Oregon's 150th Birthday!!

The Benton County Historical Society is marking this double celebration with its second annual Valentines in Vegas casino games event on Saturday, February 14, 2009 from 7 to 9 pm at the CH2M Alumni Center on the Oregon State University campus. Team Casino will be joining us again to help you play all your favorite games: blackjack, craps, roulette and Texas Hold em. Seasoned gamblers and beginners are all welcome!

The evening includes a silent auction, entertainment, hors d'ouevres, punch, Oregon birthday cake, and a cash bar. This year, childcare is provided for children ages 2 and up. Your $25 ticket includes admission to the event, "funny money" to play the tables, one drink, and lots of FUN! Tickets are available by calling the Museum at (541) 929-6230. Quantities are limited, so call today!

Free flyers may be downloaded at

Friday, February 6, 2009

Abraham Lincoln Visits Philomath

On Tuesday, February 10, 2009, Abraham Lincoln (Tim Holgate) will hold a Town Hall meeting at the Benton County Historical Museum from 7 to 9 pm in the Moreland Gallery/Auditorium. Other presenters include: Richard Etulain, Tony Wolk, Gary Kersey, and music from the Lincoln era by "Illinois" Doug Tracy. The event commemorates the bicentennial of Lincoln's birthday and cake will be served! This event free and open to the public. Please join Lincoln and his entourage at the Museum!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Forestry Students Ring the Bell

On Wednesday, February 4, 2009 about 20 students from the Forestry Department at Oregon State University visited the Museum.

Dave Stemper, instructor, wrote: "My interpretation students are JUST BEGINNING development of their small interpretive displays at OSU, and I wanted them to see what you have in place at Benton County as a means of sparking some ideas."

The students also learned a little about the history of our National Register Building. The thick, white bell rope in the auditorium/gallery caught their attention and two students asked if they could ring the bell. Since the bell can be heard best from outside the building, the group gathered in the parking lot while one stayed inside and pulled on the bell rope.

The bell was installed in the cupola of the Philomath College building 1867 .

Saturday, January 31, 2009

BCHSM on KLCC's Northwest Passage

VizCity Arts Reviews with Lotte Streisinger and Terry Way will briefly feature our "150 Years of Oregon Art" exhibition with a special focus on the WPA art works of the 1930s.

Listen to Northwest Passage on KLCC 89.7fm, Eugene, on Wednesday February 4, 2009 from 4:00 - 4:30pm.

Alaska Airlines

If you're travelling on Alaska Airlines this month and you have an interest in Oregon history, be sure to read the "Sesquicentennial Celebration: The Beaver State Turns 150" article in the February 2009 issue of Alaska Airlines.

Events at Benton County Historical Museum that honor Oregon's 150th birthday will include an art exhibition entitled "150 Years of Oregon Art", a lecture series, a juried quilt show, and a dynamic online timeline of Benton County history.

Friday, January 30, 2009

On Tuesday, January 27, 2009 members and friends of the Marys River Quilt Guild gathered to study 19th century quilts from the Museum's collections. Collections specialist, Ross Sutherland, right, retrieved the artifacts and unrolled the quilts in the Collections Work Room in the Collections Care Facility.

SAE Fraternity Men Lend a Hand

Collections manager, Mary Gallagher, looks on as four SAE Fraternity men from Oregon State University help move heavy artifacts into our Collections Care Facility. Thank you, guys!

Thursday, January 29, 2009