Web Galleries

In 2007, MNCH began an extensive initiative to digitize its collections and make them available to our online visitors.  The web galleries below are the result of this work. Digitization serves the museum in many ways: the image of an object at the time of its arrival establishes a baseline record of its condition and allows us to track its continued preservation; it provides an opportunity to expand beyond our physical exhibit space; and allows us to share our holdings with a world-wide audience.  


Among the museum's holdings are items discovered by Dr. Thomas Condon – the founding father of Oregon geology – during his 19th and 20th century explorations of the John Day region, as well as by pioneering archaeologist Dr. Luther Cressman during his early 20th century desert cave excavations. Renowned museum artifacts include a famed cache of 10,000-year-old sagebrush bark sandals, extensive fossil collections, and several hundred western Indian baskets made before 1900.

Museum collections continue to grow through ongoing excavation and recovery work done by the Research Division and other archaeologists and agencies throughout the state, and through the private donations of museum supporters. In fact, the museum has been Oregon's main center for the safekeeping of archaeological and cultural evidence produced as a result of dam and highway construction. In addition, the Collections Division – guided by important legislation – collaborates with Oregon Indian tribes on the investigation of history, the repatriation of human remains, and the preservation of important heritage sites.

With such vast collections, the museum can offer a rich variety of changing exhibits from year to year and provide loans to other institutions for study and display. The holdings offer significant opportunities for scholarly research that continues to enhance historical and scientific knowledge.