Discovering the Best Museums in Oregon

Hello there, fellow travelers and museum enthusiasts! If you’re planning a trip to Oregon and wondering where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Oregon is home to some of the most interesting, unique, and fun museums in the country. From art galleries to science centers, historical sites to natural wonders, there’s something for everyone here. So, put on your walking shoes, grab a map, and let’s explore Oregon’s best museums together.

Art Museums

Oregon is home to many excellent art museums that showcase a wide range of artistic styles and mediums. From contemporary art to Native American art, there is something for everyone. Here are three must-see art museums in Oregon:

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in the Pacific Northwest and boasts an impressive collection of over 42,000 works of art. The museum’s collection includes art from both local and international artists, featuring a variety of styles and mediums. One of the main draws of the museum is its Native American art wing, which is the largest in the Pacific Northwest. This exhibit is a must-see for anyone interested in the cultural history of the region. The Portland Art Museum is located in downtown Portland and is easily accessible by public transportation or car.

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, located in Eugene, is a must-see for anyone interested in contemporary art. The museum has an extensive collection of works by Pacific Northwest artists, as well as contemporary art from around the world. In addition to the museum’s impressive collection, visitors can also explore the beautiful Japanese garden on the museum’s grounds. The garden is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city and is well worth a visit. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus and is easily accessible by public transportation or car.

High Desert Museum

If you’re interested in the art, history, and nature of Oregon’s High Desert region, then the High Desert Museum in Bend is a must-visit. The museum has a collection of over 100,000 objects, including photographs, artifacts, and specimens of wildlife. Visitors can explore exhibits on the region’s cultural history, natural history, and art, including a collection of Western art. In addition to the museum’s indoor exhibits, there is also an outdoor living history exhibit that showcases life in the High Desert region in the early 1900s. The High Desert Museum is located just south of Bend and is easily accessible by car.

These are just a few of the many excellent art museums in Oregon. Whether you’re an art lover or just looking for something fun to do, these museums are well worth a visit.

History Museums

Oregon is a place rich in history, and what better way to explore it than by visiting any of its numerous museums. These museums are dedicated to preserving and showcasing the state’s fascinating past. Here are three of the top history museums to visit in Oregon:

Oregon Historical Society Museum

Located in the heart of Portland, the Oregon Historical Society Museum boasts a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the state’s history over time. The museum prides itself on its interactive displays that allow visitors to immerse themselves in Oregon’s past. One of the museum’s top attractions is the Oregon Trail exhibit, which chronicles the treacherous journey westward by pioneers who were seeking a better life in the 1800s. Through visually engaging installations, one can relive the journey across the plains and mountains to the Pacific Coast. Besides, the museum has a permanent collection of over 85,000 artifacts and items that will surely leave any visitor in awe.

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum

The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum, located just outside The Dalles, showcases the Gorge’s rich cultural and natural history. The museum features exhibits that allow visitors to explore and learn about geological formations, flora, fauna, and human history. There is a raptor exhibit which showcases different birds of prey, where live birds on perch are visible, and visitors can get up close and personal with them. For those wanting to learn about the river ecosystem, the museum has a vast aquarium section that features all kinds of fish found in the Columbia River. Additionally, the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center is home to a vast art collection, featuring works from many Native American tribes that have lived in the area for centuries.

Oregon Coast Military Museum

The Oregon Coast Military Museum, located in Florence, is a must-visit if you’re interested in military history during times of conflict. The museum exhibits feature military artifacts, including weapons, uniforms, medals, and photographs. It provides a glimpse of what life was like for Oregonians who served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Besides, the museum also has a collection of vehicles used during the past wars. It is a fascinating place where visitors can learn about the sacrifices made to keep America safe and the history of the role Oregon played in the various conflicts.


Visiting museums in Oregon is an incredible way to explore the history of the state. The three history museums mentioned above are just a small sample of the excellent institutions available to visitors and locals. No matter which museum you choose to visit, you’ll leave feeling enlightened and enriched by the vast history and culture that the state has to offer.

Science Museums

Oregon’s Science Museums are some of the finest in the world, attracting visitors from all over the globe. With incredible exhibits and interactive displays, science museums are great places to learn about technology, engineering, natural sciences, and more. Here are three of the best Science Museums in Oregon that visitors should check out.

OMSI – Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

One of the most well-known Science Museums in the United States, OMSI is located in Portland and has five exhibit halls that make it a top attraction for science enthusiasts. The museum boasts interactive exhibits on technology, engineering, and natural sciences. Visitors can also explore its planetarium and enjoy the latest IMAX films that are screened in its cinema hall. The museum has several permanent exhibits, featuring everything from dinosaurs to electricity. It also runs various programs and workshops throughout the year for visitors of all ages.

Rogue Valley Children’s Museum

Medford’s Rogue Valley Children’s Museum is a unique hub for kids to learn through play. The museum caters to young visitors up to 10 years old with interactive exhibits that promote STEM learning. These exhibits are designed to be educational yet fun, and include everything from a fun Maker Space to the ever-popular Bubble Room. Not to mention, there are plenty of exhibits allowing kids to run, climb and explore, which makes it a great place for children to interact with science in an entertaining way.

Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville features some of the most impressive aircraft and spacecraft exhibits you will ever see. Home to Howard Hughes’ famous Spruce Goose, the museum has plenty of plane and spacecraft exhibits to explore, including an SR-71 Blackbird, a Huey helicopter and a B-17 bomber. Visitors can even climb aboard some planes and experience a simulated ride in a helicopter. Exploring its space exhibits is equally engaging, with a Titan II missile exhibit, a planetarium featuring immersive 3D shows, and many hands-on displays at which visitors can test their knowledge and explore space science.

These Science Museums in Oregon are just a few of the excellent places to learn more about technology, natural sciences, and engineering. With new exhibits and exciting workshops happening year-round, visitors of all ages will find something to love in any one of these places.

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