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Summer 2013 Museum Newsletter Available

Read the latest museum news. We hope you will join us in preserving and presenting the history of Union County, Oregon.

Museum Is Part of Union Grassroots Festival

Merle Miller is shown preparing Dutch-oven main dishes, breads and desserts during the museum’s 2012 Pioneer Day.

Located in the heart of Union, the Union County Museum welcomes visitors during the annual Grassroots Festival, Saturday, August 10. A Dutch oven cook-off will be held in the museum courtyard as part of the festival.

Dutch Oven cooking starts at 9 a.m. with judging at 1 p.m. and tasting starting at 1:30. If you would like to join us in the cooking, bring your Dutch ovens and everything you need to cook with to the Museum court yard. $25 in cash prizes will be awarded for the best Main Dish, Bread, and Dessert. Second place in each category wins $15 in cash and third places receives $10. For more information contact Merle Miller at 541-963-6387 or

Also, the Union County Museum is selling raffle tickets. Three prizes are available – one is an Ann Yoder print “Reflections of Hot Lake Springs,” valued at $120; another is a book by John W. Evans, Powerful Rockey, retail price $32.95; and third a basket of items including a vintage tablecloth. Tickets are $1 for one or six for $5. Tickets are available at the Union County Museum. The drawing will be held this October.

Grassroot Festival takes place on Main Street and in the City Park. Start the Day early with the city-wide yard sales, (pick up maps at the info booth), then from 8 to 11 enjoy the Fireman’s Breakfast at the Fire Hall. At 9 a.m., Main Street will close to make room for over 40 vendors, live music, and the “Remember When” Car Show and our first ever Motorcycle Rally with many awards, raffles and games.

There’s live music in the Park:
• 9 – 10:30 a.m. Chris Mallory & Co., Country/Rock
• 10:45 to 12:15 p.m., Kelly Thibodeaux & Etoufee,
• 12:30 – 2, Nathan Leigh, Indie Folk
• 2:15 – 3:45, Jimmy Bivens, Country
• 4 to 5:30, Bitterroot, Folk Rock

For the kids, a Kiddy Carnival and Bouncy House is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school. The kids will also enjoy a pie eating contest at 3.

A pie baking contest takes place at the Frontier lot. (Enter pies by 10 a.m. at info booth). There are other contests to enter, as well. For full Grassroots Festival details, click here to view page 5 of the Union County Chamber of Commerce August newsletter.


RVers Visit the Union County Museum During Rally

The Northwood RV Owners Association held its 11th annual rally at Hot Lake RV Park last week, with around 150 people from as far away as Alberta, Canada, participating. While camping at the park on the south end of the Grande Ronde Valley, the RVers toured attractions and enjoyed visiting with their road warrier friends.

About 80 people in the group visited the Union County Museum for a pre-arranged tour of the museum and a walking tour of Union’s historic commercial buildings. UCM currator Blanche Koehler and Union City Manager Sandra Patterson worked with organizers for over a year, ensuring that their visit was memorable.

The museum welcomes groups and is happy to help plan such visits. For information on group tours, contact Blanche, 541.562.5566.

Congratulations! Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

Cowboys Then & Now traces the history of cattle and cattle ranching in America.

The Union County Museum congratulates the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association  (OCA) on reaching their century mark! One hundred years of working together, addressing the challenges shared by cattle ranchers across the state is a real achievement.

As you travel to and from the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Centennial Celebration, in Baker City, June 20-22, we invite you to stop by the Union County Museum in Union. You will especially enjoy the Cowboys Then & Now Collection, originally created by the OCA and the Oregon Beef Council and installed in their Portland, Oregon, office before being given its new home in Union in 1997.

The UCM volunteer crew dismantles a barn near North Powder for the interior of the Livery Station (2012).

The newly installed Homestead Act Exhibit in our Livery Station building will also be of interest to you. This exhibit is on loan to the UCM from the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center at Baker City, for which we thank them.  Note: the walls in this exhibit are lined with boards from historic barns on the VP Ranch (Martin) and the D2 Ranch (Dodson) at North Powder and from barns in Cove and Haines.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Union County Museum!

Museum Opens for 2013 Season on Mother’s Day, May 12

The Homestead Act Exhibit has been installed in the UCM Livery Station.

The Union County Museum opens for the season on Mother’s Day, May 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free for the day and refreshments will be available.

Volunteers have been working long hours, cleaning and sprucing up the museum and finishing new exhibits, including the Homestead Act Exhibit, a collection created by and on loan from the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center at Baker City.

The exhibit traces the impact of the Homestead Act on the settlement of the West and Midwest from the time of its origin 150 years ago to today. What inspired families and individuals to leave their homes and journey across the country to stake a claim on 160 acres of land – site unseen – build an home and start a farm? Free land! What were the challenges faced by the diverse group? How many proved up their claim and built a new life? How many gave up and returned to the east? Is there a homestead in your family history? 

To create a space for this exhibit and others in the future, the museum board and David Schmidt, an artist/carpenter who has created other exhibit spaces at the museum, acquired barn boards from North Powder, Cove and Haines, and used them to cover the walls of the Livery Station. Visitors will be delighted with the results. 

Also at the museum, the Cowboys Then & Now Collection is especially pertinent this season as 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. The Cowboy exhibit was originally created by the Oregon Beef Council and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association for their offices in Portland in the early 1990s for public education and outreach. When the Association and Council had to change locations, they sent a request for proposals to museums around the state. The Union County Museum was successful in acquiring the acclaimed exhibit and has been its home since 1997. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association will celebrate its century mark in Baker City, June 20-22. 

In the Agriculture, Timber & Transportation building, see an exhibit on Century Farms in Union County, a cobbler’s shop, printing press, and architectural elements from the old courthouse.  There is also a wonderful replica of the lookout tower at Hat Point. Other longtime favorite exhibits include the Period Rooms, the Barbie Collection and so much more.