Monday, December 20, 2010

Group art exhibition at Benton County Museum through Jan. 8, 2011

2010 Philomath Open Studios Artists:
Laura Berman, Katheryn Byram, Carolee Clark, Dale Donovan, Babette Grunwald, Lee Kitzman, Judith Sander, Harold Wood, Debby Sundbaum-Sommers

Please bring your guests to the museum this holiday!

AMUSEMENTS is a 2,000 square foot exhibition of toys, games, trains, bicycles, dolls and more that appeals to adults and children alike.

In the Moreland Auditorium is the Philomath Open Studios exhibition, which showcases nine Benton County artists who are exhibiting their diverse media at the museum from November 12, 2010 through January 8, 2011.

With the acquisition of the Horner Collection in 2008, we have more than doubled the number of artifacts in our collections. Starting with “Horner Homecoming” in 2009 and “Can You Hear Me? Now?” in 2010, Mark Tolonen, Exhibitions Curator, and his team of dedicated volunteers have been developing thematic shows that illustrate the depth and breadth of the Society’s collections. Many of these artifacts have not been seen by the public since the Horner Museum at Oregon State University closed in 1993.

Admission is always free!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Randy Emberlin, well known Spider-man comic book artist and cartoon animator, is at the museum today to talk to middle school students about the art of comic books and animation. The students are familiar with many of his characters, such as Wonder Woman, Spider-man, Batman, G.I. Joe, Star Wars and many others. We're expecting 300 students to experience his multi-media presentations in the Moreland Auditorium.

This is also the final week of Earl Newman's colorful retrospective in the Moreland. The two artists' work complement each other, creating a very fun atmosphere. Randy is a jazz fan, and he was excited to see Earl's 2010 Monterey Jazz Festival poster.

What a pleasure it is to host such talented artists!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Beauty Secrets: 150 Years of Quilts in One Pattern

Quilt collector Bill Volckening gave us another sneak preview at some of the gems he will share with the public at our museum during Quilt County 2011. Bill loves to research each quilt and pattern and his passion is contagious. Read his thoughts and see some of the New York Beauty quilts on his blog at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Online Auction Fundraiser ends soon!

We're tooting our own horn to let everyone know about our online auction! This year's auction ends soon, so we hope you'll log on to the Benton County Historical Museum's website at and click on the link to view the restaurant gift certificates, services, trips, getaways, unique experiences, and more that are available for your bid. The auction closes at midnight on Sunday, Oct. 17, so there are only 3 days left!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A call to embroiderers, designers, and collectors of samplers

Samplers: Museum Exhibition of Historical & Contemporary Needlework

Benton County Historical Society presents a juried exhibition of hand stitched samplers, from March 11-April 30, 2011.

The museum will showcase some of its 18th and 19th century American samplers. To accompany these historic items, embroiderers, designers, and collectors are being asked to submit their creations for exhibition. These can be original historical samplers, original design contemporary samplers, reproductions of historic samplers, or samplers simply displaying a variety of stitches.

All must be hand embroidered. Typically, samplers can include mottoes, alphabets, landmarks, personalization, and a variety of other features. Samplers often (but not necessarily) incorporate a variety of stitches.

Look for submission deadlines and other details on the museum web site:

1829 Sampler in museum collection

We are planning an exhibition of needlework samplers to be held next spring. Walter Frankel and Sabriena Michaud have been researching 18th and 19th century samplers from the museum collection. Also, Lynne Anderson, of the international scholarly Sampler Consortium supplied us with this great information about one of our samplers:

Mary Brightwell Fitz Randolph

Born: May 27, 1813 in Redstone, PA

Married: March 1, 1831 to Strickler Forry (born about 1810 to Jacob and Samantha Forry)

Died: August 3, 1834 in Redstone, PA

Father: Stephan Fitz Randolph (born Feb 17, 1772 Perth Amboy, Middlesex, New Jersey to Thomas Fitz Randolph & Abigail Vail.

Married to Pamela Nutt on July 14, 1797 in Redstone, PA. Died 1849.)

Mother: Pamela (Permelia) Nutt (born April 10, 1780 in Redstone, PA to Adam Nutt and Tryphenia Ann Vernon. Died May 10, 1857.

Notes: Mary’s sampler has an alphabet, verse, and motifs that indicate it was stitched under the direction of a teacher who was a Quaker. She was 16 when she completed the sampler: the Quaker way of indicating age begins during the first year. At day 1, an infant is in the first year of his/her life. So, when someone is in the 17th year of their life, they are actually only 16.

Redstone, Fayette County, PA is about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, PA.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Celebrating life with Earl Newman

Yesterday I visited Earl Newman's silkscreen studio where he's producing this year's posters for the Monterey Jazz Festival. In a couple of weeks BCHS will host a retrospective show of his life work. Photos of the jazz poster production are at

Earl Newman, who turned 80 this year, is an artist of national renown with much to celebrate. This year marks his 50th year as a self-employed professional artist and printmaker. Through the medium of silk-screen, also known as serigraphy, Newman has produced Monterey Jazz Festival posters every year since 1963. He also designs and prints posters for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Oregon State University Theater, and much more.

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., has collected the complete portfolio of Newman's signed and numbered Monterey Jazz Festival posters for their permanent collection. Other rare, out-of-print works are in the Benton County Museum collection.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Museum's docents visit schools

Here is one of the thank you notes sent to our docents after a visit to a local school. Docent Marlene McDonald tells a very heart-touching story of survival on the Oregon Trail and a little girl named Patty Reed. This student was paying attention!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Compact Art Storage

Mary Gallagher and her dedicated legion of volunteers are preparing art for storage in our new rolling compact storage unit. They are starting with national treasures made by Oregon artists through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) New Deal program. Darrel Austin's "Machine" is currently exhibited in our 30th anniversary exhibition ( The rest of the WPA art is moving into comfortable new surroundings in the climate controlled Peter & Rosalie Johnson Collections Center.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Online Historical Timeline

Benton County Historical Society presents an online timeline detailing events that either occurred in Benton County or that influenced Benton County history, from 1850 to the present.

Creation of this timeline was a team effort over the past two years. Thank you Marlene McDonald, Judy Juntunen, George Edmonston Jr., May Dasch, Mary Gallagher, Martha Fraundorf, Susan Christie, Aspen Padilla, Irene Zenev and Mark Tolonen!

Benton County Museum on Facebook

Please join us on Facebook and help spread the word about our dynamic and growing museum!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Polk Business Directories online!

Did you know that you can search the 1867-1932 McKenney, Langley and Polk Business Directories for free, from our web site? They emphasize Corvallis, Monroe, and Philomath, Oregon people and businesses. You can search for names, types of businesses and specific companies! Genealogists really find these books useful, so our volunteer archivist Walter retyped them for online use!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oreodont skull & Mastadon jaw

One aspect I love about my job is the opportunity to meet experts from diverse fields of interest who use the museum resources for their research projects. A Portland State University archaeologist was here conducting research yesterday and I took the opportunity to photograph a few artifacts from the Horner natural history collection. -mt

Here we have an Oreodont skull (circa 4 - 48 million years old)!
Lower jaw and teeth of mastodon, unearthed at Newberg, Oregon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

First Three Rows of Compact Shelving Installed!

We are happy to announce that SpaceSaver Specialists, Inc. installed the first three rows of compact shelving in the Peter and Rosalie Johnson Collections Center on June 8, 2010. Two rows (on the left in the photo) will store rolled textiles and the one on the right is a rack to hang framed artwork. We hope to raise additional funds to complete our project: 22 more rows storage, including more art racks, drawers for small artifacts, costume cabinets, gun racks and open shelving to store our collections! Thank you to the donors who made this great start possible!Update June 24, 2010: Rolled textile storage is filling up with precious quilts!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Volunteer luncheon & statistics

This week we held our annual volunteer luncheon to thank our dedicated museum volunteer staff. The camaraderie was much appreciated, as was the catered lunch.

Fifty-nine active volunteers donate over 4,000 hours yearly to the programs and activities of the Benton County Historical Society, almost double the state average of 33 volunteers donating just under 2,000 hours*!


*Oregon Heritage Commission survey results 2010.

Museums Advocacy Day videos from American Association of Museums

Video clips of Members of Congress speaking about the value of museums during Museums Advocacy Day (March 22-23, 2010) are now available on the American Association of Museums advocacy website – – and directly at:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Philomath-Siletz student cultural exchange

The Students were accompanied by 2 teachers and 3 parents.

They were joined by 21 TAG students from Philomath who made the trip to Siletz last April.[Photo]The students were treated to a Philomath history presentation by Theresa Rybel, retired Philomath teacher.

The group was divided into 4 groups that were led by Museum docents Marlene McDonald, Judy Juntunen, Kate Mathews and Marcia Cutler. They explored 2 “history trunks”, the “Can You Hear Me? Now?” exhibition and a tour of the backroom artifact storage in the Collections Center.

Following lunch at PYAC the group was thrilled by a presentation by the high school forestry class out in the demonstration forest.

A great day for the kids funded by a grant from the Benton County Foundation.

--Ron Thiesen

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Local Lore: Snow On Marys Peak

The farmers and old timers who live in the shadow of Marys Peak instruct us to avoid planting tomatoes before the snow is melted from the Peak. This year we’ve gone all winter without snow, until now! So the forsythia and daffodils are almost done blooming, we’re on our second round of tulips, I for one am eager to plant the garden, and along came fresh snow on Marys Peak. Patiently, I’ll respect the elders and hold off planting tomatoes.

Volunteer Jim Micalek has been digitizing slides in our photograph archive and yesterday he made an interesting observation. He commented that we don’t have much snow in Benton County, so whenever it does snow everyone runs out and takes photographs. The result for historic record is a preponderance of snow photos that make it look like it’s frequently snowy here! I’m guilty, too, as I had to pause during my morning commute to take a quick photo of the beautifully frosted trees of Marys Peak.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Willamette Valley Art Student Wins National Award

Benton County Historical Museum hosted the annual Willamette Valley Scholastic Art Awards from January 15 - February 27, 2010. 7th - 12th grade art students competed for scholarships and prizes and Winning work was exhibited in the Moreland Gallery. "Gold Key" winners were entered to compete in the national Scholastic Art Awards, and we're very pleased to announce that Haley Bourke's "Infans" won a Gold Medal national award!

The National Gold Medal Award is defined as "The most outstanding works in the nation."

From June 8-25, 2010, The World Financial Center Courtyard Gallery in New York City will showcase film, video, animation, writing, photography, painting, sculpture, fashion, drawing, graphic design and ceramics by emerging teenage artists recognized nationally through The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. These talented teenagers follow in the footsteps of Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford, Philip Pearlstein, David Salle, Robert Indiana, Tom Otterness and Zac Posen, who all won Awards when they were in high school.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blogable Oregon history

Lane County Historical Society in Eugene, Oregon, is planning an exhibition to address counterculture endeavors and entrepreneurships in Eugene, Oregon, from 1965 - 1975. Check out the "Tie Dye & Tofu" blog at!

Chic Cyclist is an international resource blog intended to promote elegant transportation cycling. Selected entries from the personal journal of Ethel Starr Mack of Benton County, Oregon, 1897 are in the Chic Cyclist blog at On a recent Saturday a Corvallis bicycle club visited our museum, taking advantage of our new bike rack!

Willamette Valley

Greetings from beautiful Benton County, Oregon!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Philomath Middle School history projects

We are pleased to host student history projects from Philomath Middle School. Many of Becky Goslow's social studies students visited our museum to do research about people and places around Philomath and Corvallis and the results are wonderful! Please stop by the museum to see what's new, including the student history projects! Projects exhibited include:
  • Harris Covered Bridge by Anna Rose Petersen
  • Peak, Oregon by Brooke Wendland
  • W.S. Walker by Josephine York
  • Phil-o-rink by Sage Forson
  • Flossie Overman by katelynn Thrall
  • Our Old House by Dustin Berry
  • The Church of Latter-Day Saints by lauren Hindman
  • Oregon State University by Jessica Hardenburger
  • Peace Lutheran Church by Courtney Croy
  • The Henkle Building by Simone Newell
  • The Sheak House by Haylee Grimmer
  • Calvin Presbyterian Church by Jordan Nelson
  • The History of Benton County Historical Society by Madeline Lehman
  • My Abode by Althea Hinds-Cook

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Holidays

BCHS was proud to host the annual Philomath Christmas tree lighting ceremony. It was seasonably cold that evening, but our camaraderie kept us warm and not all of the student musicians froze to their instruments! The music was wonderful, Santa's cheer was contagious, and the community seemed to enjoy the cookies and new "Can You Hear Me? Now?" exhibition in the museum.