Visit Art and Craft Museums, OMSI, Oregon Historical Society, & More
From the Portland Art Museum to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Forestry Center, Museum of Contemporary Craft, and Oregon Historical Society discovery awaits.
Portland’s museums can take visitors on a tour of world art, immerse them in technological innovation, and offer a window into Native American culture, regional history, forest ecology, and contemporary crafts. The following are some of the city’s most noted museums.
Portland Art Museum
This internationally renowned museum features two buildings of permanent exhibits of art from around the world and throughout history. Collections include classical and contemporary European, American, Asian, and Native American art, plus pre-Columbian and African art. Painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, and photography are all represented.
The extensive collections of Asian art reach from the Neolithic era to the present and include an impressive collection of Persian narrative paintings. The Native American display includes more than 5,000 prehistoric and historic pieces, plus works by modern Native American masters. Exhibits rotate, continually offering something new.
Visiting exhibitions have included the Northwest region’s only showing of “The Quest for Immortality: Treasures from Ancient Egypt” and “The Dancer” with work by Degas, Forain, and Toulouse-Lautrec. The Portland Art Museum is located at 1219 SW Park Avenue in the downtown cultural district. the phone number is 503-226-2811.
Hours are as follows: Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday noon – 5 p.m.; closed Monday. Admission is $10 with discounts for seniors and youth. Additional fees are charged for some special exhibitions.
Museum of Contemporary Craft
Located in the Pearl District amid an array of art galleries, the Museum of Contemporary Craft displays crafts from jewelry, wood, and metal to glass, paper and textile arts from local, regional and national artists. Next to the first-floor gallery of museum collections, an additional exhibit hall features visiting shows that change regularly. The calendar includes museum tours, discussion groups, artist lectures, public dialogues, and workshops, plus family events and creative opportunities for children. Find the museum at 724 NW Davis Street. The phone number is 503-223-2654.
Museum hours are Tuesday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Thursday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; closed Monday. Admission is free.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
This is the place to discover science from outer space to the inner earth. Adults and kids can experience an earthquake, climb aboard a submarine and perform chemistry experiments with help from lab staff. Learn how technology affects our lives in the “Innovation Station,” control a robot, weave a section of a tapestry, and try out any of the 200 hands-on exhibits. Traveling exhibits continually bring something new. Called OMSI, this museum includes an IMAX domed theater, planetarium, café and science store. It’s located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, on the east bank of the Willamette River. the phone number is 503-797-4000.
The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Theater showtimes vary. Admission is $11 for adults; $9 for youth and seniors. Theater admission is $8.50 for adults; $6.50 for youth and seniors. Planetarium shows and submarine tours are $5.50.
Oregon Historical Society Museum
Artifacts and exhibits trace Oregon’s history from its first native people to the present day. A permanent rotating exhibit of Oregon art features works from the museum’s collection plus private lenders. Interactive displays are featured in the exhibit, Oregon My Oregon. Visiting exhibitions change regularly and feature displays such as rare western native basketry. The museum store is a popular spot for finding Northwest gifts, including Native American-themed artwork, books for adults and children, and jewelry. The Historical Society Museum is located across from the Portland Art Museum at 1200 SW Park Avenue, in the downtown Cultural District. the phone number is 503-222-1741.
Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon – 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and students 18 and over; $5 for youth. Children under 5 enter free.
World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
Forests figured into the development of Oregon from its settling. But this museum covers the importance of forests to people around the world and throughout time, as well as Oregon’s forestry history. Interactive and hands-on displays explore the ecology of temperate and tropical rain forests and boreal forests, forest conservation, logging past and present, and the use of forest products in daily life. A canopy bridge offers a view of critters that live in the tops of trees.
Adults and kids can try to smoke jumping or planting trees. There’s also a display of fossilized sections of trees millions of years old – many from species that still thrive today. Temporary exhibits feature art and culture from around the world. A museum store offers books and gifts. It is across from the Oregon Zoo at 4033 SW Canyon Road and accessible by MAX light rail from downtown. The phone number is 503-228-1367.
It’s open daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults; $6 for seniors; $5 for children 3 – 18. Children 2 and under enter free.
If these museums leave you eager to see more of the area’s attractions, be sure to stop by the Portland Information Center in Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Avenue for maps and brochures.