Portland Oregon Museums
For all it’s quirkiness, Portland has a number of good museums for history and art. It also has a number of “Keep Portland Weird” type museums. Either way, for tourist and local alike there are plenty of museums in Portland and nearby. Below is a full list of all Portland Oregon Museums, along with a number of museums in the Greater Portland Area about an hour drive from Portland. If you know of any that should be on this list, or spot any errors, please comment below.
Old Aurora Colony Museum
15018 Second Street NE. 503-678-5754
The town of Aurora started out as a religious colony. Today the entire town is a National History District. The museum preserves artifacts and history from that time. Tue-Sat 11am-4pm, Sun Noon-4pm. Admissions $6
12490 SW First Street. 503-430-0106
Beaverton History Center
Maintained by the Beaverton Historical Society and located in an old grocery store in Beaverton’s historic downtown area. Exhibits show the life of Beaverton residents, and touch upon a number of other local historic communities from Multnomah Village to Scholls and Farmington. Tues and Thurs 10am-1pm. Saturdays by appointment, and open during weekend events held downtown. Admission is free, donations accepted.
Interactive Museum of Gaming and Puzzlery
8231 SW Cirrus Drive. 503-469-9998
The most interactive museum of them all they have board games from all over the world. Located in a business park, it can be a bit hard to find them, but they have a warehouse space setup with shelves of games and multiple tables to play on. Tue-Sat 11am-7pm. Suggested Donation is $5
3995 Brooklake Rd NE
Of all the museums on this list, Antique Powerland is probably the most underrated. Located north of Salem, just off I-5, it is actually a multi-acre complex that now contains 17 different museums and preservations societies, most of which are centered around transportation or industry. Twice a year they also play host to the Great Oregon Steam-up, where hundreds of antique steam engines and tractors are brought in for display. March-October, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm. $6 admission, individual museums may have different hours and additional admission.
The additional museums are:
Antique Caterpillar Machinery Museum
Antique Implement Society
Branch 15 Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association
Brooks Historical Society
Curtis Heritage Education Center
Northwest Vintage Car & Motorcycle Museum
Oregon Electric Railway Museum
Oregon Fire Service Museum
Oregon Vintage Machinery Museum
Pacific Northwest Chapter-National Railway Historical Society
Pacific Northwest Logging Museum
Pacific Northwest Truck Museum
Western Steam Fiends Association
Willow Creek Railroad Museum
Willamette Valley Model Railroad Museum
Canby Historical Society
888 N.E. 4th Ave. 503-266-6712
Preserves photos, artifacts and stories of the city of Canby. March-December, Thur-Sun 1pm-4pm.
Oregon Military Museum
Currently closed for construction
The Oregon Military Museum has an extensive collection of military artifacts related to Oregon. There is the usual military hardware like tanks and other vehicles, but they also have a great collection of complete uniforms and three vintage military buildings.
Philip Foster Farm
29912 SE Hwy 211 Eagle Creek, OR 97022 503-637-6324
To those traveling the Oregon Trail, The Philip Foster Farm truly represented the end of the Oregon Trail. Located at the end of the Barlow Trail, it welcomed newcomers to Oregon, provided a well needed resting place and up to date information about Oregon and places to homestead. Today the farm is a living history museum.
Hours: 11:00-4:00 Saturdays in May, June, September, and October. 11:00am-4:00pm Tuesday through Saturday from June 21st to August 30th. Admission $5
B Street Living Museum
1155 B St. 503-430-7257
The B Street Living Museum “provides inspiration and information about environmentally sensitive, sustainable living practices.”
9am-3pm, Admission Free
Gresham Historical Society
410 North Main Avenue
Located in the “Old Library” building in downtown Gresham, The Gresham Historical Society preserves the city’s history through a number of rotating exhibits and tours.
Tue & Thur 10am-4pm, Sat 10am-2pm
Rice NW Museum of Rocks & Minerals
26385 NW Groveland Dr. 503-647-2418
Among the best museums in Portland and by far the best museum for rocks and minerals in the Pacific Northwest, and one of the best anywhere in the United States with it’s collection of 20,000+ specimens. Many of the collected specimens are the best examples of their kind, making this a world class museum. Began by Richard and Helen Rice in 1938, the collected expanded over the years. In the 1950’s they built their dream home in rural Oregon centered around the collection. In the years since then the collection has expanded to take over the entire home, two more buildings, and part of the manicured grounds. Even if you are not into rocks, geology or science, this is an amazing museum. Wed-Fri 1pm-5 pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm. Admission $10 for adults, $7 for students 5-17.
Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum
3005 NE Cornell Road.
A small aviation museum at the Hillsboro Airport with about a dozen classic military aircraft. Tours must be setup on the website.
Washington County Museum
120 E Main (Second floor). 503-645-5353
A great history museum for Washington County. Has a number of rotating exhibits that cover the history and culture of the county and it’s cities. Wend-Sat 10am-5pm, Admission $5
300 E Port Marina Drive. 541-386-6772
Small history museum best known for it’s blog Historic Hood River where a local historic picture a day is posted by the curators. Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm
Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum
1600 Air Museum Rd. 541-308-1600
Located in a hanger at the Hood River Airport, WAAAM is positively crowded with vintage airplanes, cars, motorcycles, and trucks. The collection is extensive enough that it should belong in a much bigger city. Open every day 9am-5pm. Admission is $14, Children 5-18, $6
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
500 NE Cumulus Avenue. 503-434-4180
The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum is one of the most impressive aviation museums in the US, not only for quantity, but for quality. It is the home of the Spruce Goose, and was short listed to be the home of one of NASA’s space shuttles. It is also the only museum I know of that has an attached water park, and is within one of Oregon’s best Wine regions. Mon-Sun 9am-5pm. Admission is $25
Milwaukie History Museum
3737 SE Adams St. Miwaukie, OR 97222
The Milwaukie Historical Society runs a small museum in the George Wise family farmhouse.
Sat 1pm-5pm. Admission is free
Hoover-Minthorn House Museum
115 S. River Street. 503-538-6629.
How many US Presidents lived in Oregon? If you guessed “what?” you’d be wrong. President Herbert Hoover came to Newberg as a boy and lived here from 1885-1888 before moving to Salem. The home he lived in was dedicated as a museum by the President himself in 1955. March-November hours are Wend-Sun 1pm-4pm. December and February, hours are Sat-Sun 1pm-4pm. Admission is $5
End of the Oregon Trail
1726 Washington Street. 503-657-9336
Learn about the Oregon Trail, and it’s official end here in Oregon City and what the Pioneers did after they arrived. Mon-Sat 9:30am-5pm, Sun 10:30am-5pm, Admission Adults $13, age 13-18, $9, age 4-12 $7.
McLoughlin Memorial Association
713 Center Street
The McLoughlin Memorial Association preserves three historic homes in the Oregon City area, the Barclay House, the Holmes House, and of course, the McLoughlin House. All three were inhabited by residents important to Oregon’s history.
Museum of the Oregon Territory
211 Tumwater Drive. 503-655-5574
The Museum of the Oregon Territory explores the natives who lived in the Oregon Territory and the settlers who came afterwards. Wed-Sat 10:30am-4:30pm, Admission $5, $3 for ages 5-17.
Architectural Heritage Center
701 SE Grand Ave. 503-231-7264
The Architectural Heritage Museum is dedicated to preserving Portland’s historic buildings. In addition to rotating exhibits, the AHC also presents lectures, workshops, and home tours. Wed-Sat 10am-4:30 pm, Admission $3
Gary Sansom, a former wanna be pro-BMX racer has a collection of over 600 rare & vintage BMX bikes & frames. Visit the online museum to view over 40,000 bikes, meet other enthusiasts, and to find out about local showings. Located in his basement in North East Portland, Admission is appointment only.
Cal Skate Museum
210 NW 6th Ave. 503-248-0495
The Cal Skate shop hosts a collection of old-school skate boards, photographs, and other artifacts showing the history of skateboarding. Mon – Sat 11am – 6pm. Sun 11am-5pm
Chinatown Museum at the CCBA
315 NW Davis St. 503-274-4070, [email protected]
The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) houses a museum on the 4th floor of it’s building. The museum shares the Chinese Experience in Oregon.
Ground Kontrol Arcade
511 NW Couch St. 503-796-9364
Not so much a museum as a full blown retro arcade! Ground Kontrol hosts over 60 classic video games and 27 pinball machines along with a full service bar. As of February 2016 they started an expansion to double the size of the building and will be bringing in three more large sized arcade games.
Open Noon-2:30am every day, 21 and over only after 5pm. Admission is free, but bring quarters!
The Hat Museum
Ladd’s Addition 503-232-0433
Located in the Ladd-Reingold House in Portland’s historic Ladd’s addition, the Hat Museum claims over 1300 hats sorted into four collections. Historic, men’s, novelty/costume and modern hats can be viewed by appointment only.
$75 for 1-6 people for a 75 minute tour.
Hellenic-American Cultural Center & Museum
3131 NE Glisan St. 503-858-8567
Located on the second floor of the Father Elias Stephanopoulos Center, this museum is dedicated to Greek culture. Rotating exhibits include paint, sculpture and history. Open Tues 11am–3pm, Sat 2pm–5pm, Sun Noon-1pm or by appointment. Admission is donation.
Kidd’s Toy Museum
1301 SE Grand Ave. 503-233-7807
Frank Kidd has been collecting toys most of his life. The collection mostly focuses on the 1869 to 1939 time period, but includes more modern toys, Oregon and Northwest Memorabilia, teddy bears, dolls, and a mechanical bank collection. Mon – Fri Noon-6 pm or by appointment, free.
Lincoln Street Kayak & Canoe Museum
5340 SE Lincoln St. 503-234-0264
A collection of full-sized functional replicas of traditional Arctic hunting kayaks built by Harvey Golden. It also includes an original Algonquin birch-bark canoe, a Wu-Hu tub boat from Nanking China, and a outrigger dugout canoe from the Philippines along with several other replicas. Wed 5-7pm free.
Mike’s Movie Memorabilia Collection
4320 SE Belmont St. 503-234-4363
Located in Portland’s best movie rental store, over 100 actual Hollywood props and costumes are on display. Many are iconic and instantly recognizable to even casual movie buffs. Even more impressive is the store’s collection of rare movies said to be the largest in the world. If they don’t have it, it likely doesn’t exist. Mon-Sun 11:30am-10:30pm
Museum of Contemporary Craft
724 NW Davis St. 503-226-2654
With over 1300 objects dating back to 1937, the Museum of Contemporary Craft showcases the Pacific Northwest and American Craft Movement. They also have rotating exhibits that change every few months. Tue-Sat 11am-6pm, Admission, $6.
Museum of Metal Typography
8900 NE Vancouver Way 503-489-7330
The C.C. Stern Type Foundry’s Museum of Metal Typography is a working museum dedicated to metal type preservation. They have a small collective of working letterpress printers, and a metal foundry onsite. This working museum is open every third Saturday from 11am-3 pm. Group tours are available by appointment. $5 suggest donation.
OHSU Historical Collections & Archives
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd 503-494-5587
Learn the history of medicine, and OHSU’s role in it. Located in the OHSU Library, they have a fascinating rotating collection. Also at OHSU is the Ernest Starr Memorial Museum of Dental Anomalies. Mon-Fri 8am-6pm
Oregon Historical Society & Museum
1200 SE Park Ave. 503-222-1741
The Oregon Historical Society was started in 1898 specifically to preserve Oregon History directly from those who lived it. Their collection includes many documents and artifacts given to the museum over it’s 118 year history by early pioneers, their families, and other historic figures in Oregon. Some of these artifacts are on display in the main museum and includes items like the “Portland Penny,” and parts of the Battleship USS Oregon.
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm. Admission free if Multnomah County Resident, Admission $11.
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
1953 NW Kearney. 503-226-3600
The only museum in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to preserving and exhibiting Jewish art, history, & culture. Has rotating exhibits that change every few months. Tue-Thurs 10:30am-4 pm, Fri 10:30am-3:00pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-4PM, Admission $6
Oregon Maritime Museum
SW Pine at Waterfront Park. 503-224-7724
Located on the Sternwheeler Portland, docked at Tom McCall Waterfront between the Morrison and Burnside Bridges. Most of the ship is open to explore and contains a number of impressive ship models, paintings and artifacts. Wed, Fri, Sat 11am-4pm, Admission $7
Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
1945 SE Water Ave. 503-797-4000
Known as OMSI, this is a hands on museum for kids and adults that explores science and technology. A number of popular traveling exhibits have been built here. In addition they have the USS Blueback, a great IMAX theater and the ever popular monthly adults only event “OMSI After Dark.” This is all on top of rotating exhibits that are always fantastic. Tue-Sun 9:30am-5:30 pm Admission $13.
Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
121 NW 2nd Ave. 503-224-1458
Located in an Japanese Laundry in Portland’s OldTown, the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center has exhibits about Portland and Oregon’s Japanese American populations with a focus on the WWII Interment Camps. Tue-Sat 11am-3pm, Sun: Noon-3 pm, Admission $5
Oregon Rail Heritage Center
2250 SE Water Ave. 503-680-8895
Did you know that the City of Portland owns three working steam-locomotives? And, that one of them is considered to be the most beautiful steam locomotive in the world? The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation protects, maintains and displays these engines and has occasional trips with them through Portland’s Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Thu-Sun 1pm-5pm. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
The Freakybuttrue Pecularium and Museum
2234 NW Thurman Ave. 503-227-3164
The spiritual, if not direct successor to Portland’s 24 Hour Church of Elvis is the Freakbuttrue Pecularium. Describing the Pecularium is hard, it is part art show, part museum of oddities, part gift shop, and part “WTF?” Wed 11am-6pm, Thur-Sat 11am-7pm, Sunday 11pm-6pm. Admission is $5. Should definitely be on your “Weird Portland” tour list.
Ping-Pong Pint Sized Puppet Museum
906 SE Umatilla St. 503-233-7723
Puppets of all types are here, along with puppet shows. They also have for sale four videos, puppet based retelling of classic tales like the Wizard of Oz (with life sized puppets) Thu–Sun 2pm-8pm. Admission is free, Shows are $7
3229 NW Pittock Dr. 503-823-3623
Started in 1914, finished in 1919, the Mansion was built by Oregonian Publisher Henry Pittock and his wife Georgina. Located in the West Hills, the view is phenomenal and includes access to the Wildwood Trail in Forest park. The elegant 44-room house was built with all the most modern conveniences for its era. Those include a central vacuum system, intercom, elevator, and gas and electric light along with balcony sleeping rooms and the most interesting shower I have ever seen.
Winter hours are 11am-4pm daily, Summer Hours are 10am-5pm Daily. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for youths 6-18.
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Ave. 503-226-2811
Oldest art museum on the west coast with two buildings connected by underground hallway. Small sculpture garden and special visiting shows with an absolutely wonderful permanent collection. Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Thu&Fri 10am-8pm, Sun Noon-5pm. 17 and under free, $12-15
Portland Children’s Museum
4015 SW Canyon Rd. 503-223-6500
If you have kids under 12, this is the place to take them. Play and creativity, dress-up and exploring through a variety of static and rotating exhibits. Tue-Sun 9am-5pm, seasonal hours, Admission $9-10, free on first Fridays.
Portland Police Museum
1111 SW 2nd Ave. 503-823-0019
Located at the Justice Center, is Portland’s first traffic light, an original talking McGruff the Crime Dog, and a real jail cell to lock up your date. Tue-Fri 10am-3pm. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
Safety Learning Center & Fire Museum at the Belmont Firehouse
900 SE 35th Ave. 503-823-3616
Located in the historic Belmont Firehouse, the museum features historic fire equipment and the history of the Portland Fire Department.
Open Every Wed 9am-3pm and the 2nd Sat 9am-3pm or by appointment. Donation
Stark’s Vacuum Museum
107 NE Grand Ave. 503-232-4101
The suckiest museum in Oregon is located in Stark’s Vacuum Store on NE Grand. The extensive collection of vacuums dates from the 1880s. Some of the exhibits can be seen through the window on Couch St. if closed. Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat 9-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm, admission is free.
4620A SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy. 503-644-0161
From their website: “Our main goal is to share our knowledge and history and to “pique the interest of young people in science and technology and to challenge them to become the technologists of the next decade”. They do this via collecting and preserving vintage equipment made at Tektronix. Fri-Sat 9am-5pm.
Wells Fargo History Museum
1300 SW Fifth Ave. 503-886-1102
In the Wells Fargo Lobby is a restored Concord Stagecoach and an exhibit teaching the history of the Wells Fargo Bank and Express Service. Note that if you’ve been to a Wells Fargo History Museum before, this one seems to be a bit better then most. Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm, Admission is Free.
World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
4033 SW Canyon Rd. 503-228-1367
A global, interactive museum telling the story of forests in the Northwest and around the world. Mon-sun, 10am-5pm, admission is $6-9.
Sandy Historical Society Museum
39345 Pioneer Blvd.
If you ever wanted to know anything about the City of Sandy, the Oregon Trail, or the logging industry, this is the way to go. They also have an extensive collection of photos.
Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12pm-4pm. Admission is free – donations accepted
Friends of Historic Champoeg
8239 Champoeg Road NE
Saint Paul, OR 97137
Champoeg is known to history as the place where Oregon began. A historic vote here made the Oregon Territory part of the United States. The Friends of Historic Champoeg preserve the original town site the rebuilt town site, the historic DAR Cabin, the 1862 Donald Mason Threshing Barn, and the Butteville Store in nearby Butteville.
Newell Pioneer Village
8089 Champoeg Road NE. 503-678-5537
Located next to the town of Champoeg, where Oregon was born, this village contains prominent area settler Robert Newell’s House, the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin, and two buildings from nearby Butteville. March 1-October 31, Fri-Sun 11am-3pm. Admission $6, children $3.
Tigard Historical Association
Located in the John Tigard house, the historical association preserves this beautiful house located in downtown Tigard. The house is open to the public fives times a year or for group tours by arrangement. Visit the website for more information.
Troutdale Historical Society
The Troutdale Historical Society has three museums in the city of Troutdale, all in historical buildings. These are the Barn Exhibit Hall, the Harlow House, and the Troutdale Rail Depot.
Tualatin Heritage Center
8700 SW Sweek Drive. 503-885-1926
The Tualatin Historical Society maintains the 1926 Craftsman style Community Methodist Church at its new location next to City Hall. The Society preserves history of Eastern Washington County, and Western Clackamas County, specifically the area where the town of Tualatin was first platted.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
1501 E Evergreen Blvd. 360-816-6230
Fort Vancouver is the closest National Park to Portland, and among the most significant historic sites in the Pacific Northwest. Fort Vancouver under Dr. John McLoughlin’s leadership, was instrumental to the early development of the Oregon Territory which would later become the states of Oregon and Washington. The park site consists of four locations, the reconstructed fort and factor house, the visitor center, and the Pearson Air Museum.
Tue-Sat, 9am-5pm. Admission is $5 for the reconstructed fort site, free at the other three ares.
Clark County Historical Museum
1511 Main Street. 360-993-5679
The Clark County Historical Museum has a number of rotating exhibits centered around the County’s history. Tues-Sat 11am-4pm, Admission $4.
World of Speed Museum
27490 SW 95th Avenue. 503-563-6444
Oregon’s first, and only museum dedicated to race cars. This museum is only a year old now, but among car buffs and race fans has become a favorite destination. Mon-Fri and Sun, 10am-5pm. Sat 9am-5pm. Adults $10, Children 6-12 $5.