Spearheaded by the Museum Advisory Council, the Oregon Stewardship Award recognizes an environmental or cultural project that involves the community in meaningful ways and aligns with the museum's mission to inspire stewardship of our past, present, and future. The $1000 award includes recognition of the project in the Oregon Heroes section of our Explore Oregon exhibit. 

Projects produced by Oregon community groups, individuals, nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions are all eligible, as are national and regional organizations with offices or affiliates in Oregon. Eligible projects are Oregon-based and relate directly to Oregon’s environment or cultural heritage.

To be considered, projects must have meaningful community impact and be ongoing or completed during the 2022 calendar year.

The museum invites groups to self-nominate their projects. Nominations will also be accepted from third parties wishing to recognize group stewardship of Oregon’s environment or cultural heritage.

“Every day, the museum’s stewardship mission brings us into contact with Oregon heroes — people who are doing amazing work to protect and preserve our ecosystems, landscapes, and cultures,” said Jon Erlandson, the museum’s executive director. “The Oregon Stewardship Award helps shine well-deserved light on that work."


An Indigenous man tells a story to a group of Indigenous and white people in a forest. A camera is filming him.


Heads to Hearts, a project of the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, was awarded the 2023 Oregon Stewardship Award. Heads to Hearts explores the confluence between Indigenous and scientific understanding of place. Read more.


A sign of recycled materials on a nature walk near Mt. Scott.


In 2022, the museum recognized Youth Rebuild Mt. Scott Watersheds, a project rebuilding natural habitat, building connections between public and private partners, and providing opportunity for youth in Clackamas County. Read more.
The Immigrant Story


In 2021, the museum recognized The Immigrant Story which documents and shares experiences of people arriving in Oregon as immigrants. Made up of volunteers, the organization creates public exhibitions and provides storytelling lesson plans to schools and educators around the state. Read more.
A white woman in a blue shirt is holding two books about Oregon flora.


In 2021, the museum also recognized the OregonFlora Project at Oregon State University. It documents the state's 4,700 unique species of trees, grasses, ferns, and wildflowers. They bring together the biodiversity data and tools that will help Oregonians improve our environment, mitigate adverse human impacts, and plan for healthier future. Read more.
FRIENDSHIPS SAY NO TO JIM CROW, C. 1937. Ona Hug Collection, gifted by son, Chuck Bertleson2020
In 2020, the museum honored the Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center and its founder, Gwendolyn Trice, for Timber Culture, a traveling exhibit that tells an inclusive story of Oregon's multicultural logging industry and the communities that developed around it. Read more
Sara Barton at the Four Rivers Cultural Center2019
The 2019 award recognized Eastern Oregon’s Four Rivers Cultural Center for its Tradition Keepers Folklife Festival, a daylong public celebration of traditional arts and artists in eastern Oregon. Read more
Marshfield HS students tending the pioneer cemetery

The first annual award honored work by Marshfield High School students, educators, and community partners to steward the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery, the region’s primary burial ground from 1888 through 1920. Read more

*In 2021, thanks to generous gifts from museum supporters Jill Gelineau and Stu Garrett, the museum offered two awards.

More adult and community programs