Category Archives: Museum News

Third Tuesday Presentation Examines Local Japanese-American Wartime Experience

The Union County Museum launches their Third Tuesday, June 20, with a presentation by Cassie Gray-Jeffries, a resident of Union County and 2016 graduate of Eastern Oregon University. The new monthly event is designed to give people the opportunity to hear local history experts speak on a variety of topics. The casual hour-long event takes place in the Little White Church, across Main Street from the museum, in Union. It begins at 7 p.m., and includes time for questions and answers and refreshments.

Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December of 1942, the United States government ordered the evacuation and internment of over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who were living on the nation’s west coast. The wartime imprisonment of these men, women, and children, many of them U.S. citizens, is widely known amongst both scholars and the general public. What most do not know, however, is that select groups of Japanese Americans were able to escape this fate through various means. This presentation will primarily focus on upon the history and archaeology of a site within Union County, Oregon, where a small group of Japanese-Americans were able to both avoid internment and make vital contributions to the national war effort by laboring in the timber industry.

With degrees in both Anthropology/Sociology and History, Cassie Gray-Jeffries specializes in the historical research and archaeology of the Japanese-American Internment Period. She has been awarded a fellowship with the Oregon Heritage Commission for her work involving the history and archaeological study of the forgotten lumber company camp in Union County. Join us for an enlightening presentation and discussion. The museum will open at 6 p.m., to allow time for attendees to view the exhibits before the presentation.

Do you have an area of expertise you would like to share, concerning the area’s social, geological or cultural history? If so, please contact John Sheehy, 541.805.1001, to talk about your speaking experience and topic of choice. The next Third Tuesday takes place July 18.

UCM Third Tuesday 2017 flier

Museum Open for the Season

The Union County museum is open for the season and volunteers are ready to welcome you to this jewel of Eastern Oregon heritage. We used the winter months to upgrade facilities, update and improve exhibits and to give the hard working volunteers a rest!

The restored pine floor looks fantastic!

One of the recent accomplishments is the refinishing of the floor in the Little White Church, located across Main Street from the museum and owned by the museum society. Moe Cabinets of North Powder used their wood working expertise to expose and refinish the pine floor, which is over 100 years old. The results are stunning! Book the Little White Church for your small wedding or event. Contact Carol, 541.562.5279 or cjmulvany@charter.net, for information or to schedule a visit.

Thank you, to all who visit and continue to support the museum. We’re proud of the work the volunteers accomplish each year to preserve and present the history of Union County, Oregon.

Please stop by!

Pioneer Day at the Museum

 

Merle Miller perfects his Dutch-oven recipe.

The Union County Museum invites you to join us for our annual Pioneer Day, Saturday, August 13, 2016 during Union’s annual Grassroots Festival.

Throughout the day volunteers will demonstrate a variety of pioneer skills, including making hand-dipped candles, using black-powder, carpentry and blacksmithing. Dutch-oven cooking will be demonstrated by Merle and Pat Miller, with samples made available at noon. Mark and Judy Wing of Union will give rides in a horse-drawn wagon and talk about the history of Union’s commercial buildings. 

The event takes place in the museum courtyard, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All of the wonderful interior museum exhibits will be open for touring, as well, with docents on hand to answer questions and show visitors around. Kids are welcome to try out the cowboy gear at the tack station in the Cowboys Then & Now Exhibit and can learn how to make wooden tools. 

“This year, we decided to again join in on the festivities happening during the popular Grassroots Festival,” said Sharon Hohstadt, President of the Union County Museum Society. “We have lots of fun activities planned and hope people will take the opportunity to enjoy the exhibits and get to know the museum.”

Admission for the event is free, but donations are appreciated. The museum is located at 333 South Main Street, in the heart of Union’s Victorian era downtown. Newcomers are always delighted with the depth and quality of exhibits. 

Pioneer Day at the Union County Museum

All of our exhibits will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, we will have the following pioneer skills demonstrations in the courtyard:

  • Peter Clark will demonstrate blacksmithing and hand-forged cooking utensils and skillets.
  • David Schmidt will demonstrate wooden tool making. (This is especially popular with the kids.)
  • Lee Sancoy will do a black powder demonstration.
  • Dana Musgrove will make hand-dipped candles.
  • Merle & Pat Miller will demonstrate Dutch-oven cooking.
  • Kids can try out cowboy gear in the Cowboys Then & Now exhibit.
  • Mark & Judy Wing will provide rides in their horse-drawn wagon.

Waiting for passengers.

 

Union County Museum’s Concert in the Courtyard

Luke McKern, Greg Johnson, Joy Patterson, Matt Bell

The Union County Museum hosted a free concert in the courtyard, Saturday, July 16, 2016. The Museum Courtyard Concert featured The Bad Penny Pleasuremakers, performing great songs from the vast music library of traditional jazz, Vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley from the teens through the 1930s.

“We play the “good old-good old ones,” says Matt Bell, guitar player and vocalist for the group. “These time-tested tunes can play themselves, but the Bad Pennies really bring them to life – and make the spirit felt all around the room! The Bad Penny Pleasuremakers are not just a band, they are an entertaining band!” 

Since late 2005, the Bad Pennies have been crafting their sound in New Orleans. From the reckless energy of blasting away as street musicians to delivering charm at intimate low-lit bars, the range of a night’s music will have an audience laughing, shouting, feeling randy and making puppy dog eyes. Matt Bell plays acoustic chord melody style guitar and sings. Joy Patterson sings, plays her trusty Kazookaphone, finesses the washboard and drags all kinds of noisemakers out of her hat. Joining the band for the evening were local Union County songsters, Luke McKern on upright bass and Greg Johnson on clarinet.

The music is described on the group’s website as: Traditional Jazz, Swing and Novelty – sweet, hot and SILLY! For more information, call (541) 377-0889, email Matt Bell at emayataytay@mac.com, or go to the Bad Penny Pleasuremakers website. Get a taste of their music on the video from Abita Springs Opry. We thank Matt Cooper and Sharon Porter for sponsoring this concert.

The evening began with music by the Sheehy Brothers, who invited the audience to sing along as they performed nostalgic tunes from the distant past.

The Union County Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a mission to gather, preserve and present the history of Union County and the surrounding area. The museum is governed by the Union County Museum Society and managed and staffed entirely by volunteers. Please ask about membership and support the museum. Donations are appreciated and help us maintain and improve the facilities and exhibits.

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Mother’s Day is 2016 Season Opening

Following a long-standing tradition, the Union County Museum opens for the 2016 season on Mother’s Day, May 8, from noon to 4 p.m. A visit to the museum is a nice way to enjoy the holiday while exploring life in Union County over the last 150 years. Admission is free and refreshments will be offered. We thank Starbucks of La Grande for donating coffee for the event.

Music will be provided by Grande Rondolin, a local stringed instrument group that will perform using the museum’s two very rare instruments, the mandocello and the mandobase. Come enjoy the music, visit with friends and get to know the museum.

A new addition to the museum this year is a World War One exhibit, with highlights about people with ties to Union County who served in the war. Volunteers have been working on the project over winter, researching and collecting items for the exhibit. The collection replaces a replica of a turn-of-the-century school classroom. Other exhibits include the General Store; Agriculture, Timber & Transportation; Cowboys Then & Now; and the Livery Station.

While admission to the museum on Mother’s Day is free, the museum board of directors asks you to join the Union County Museum Society to support the collection, preservation and presentation of our area’s history. Membership starts at just $10 a year for individuals and allows entry for free throughout the year. You can be a supporting member for just $50 a year.

“We receive comments from visitors from around the world, praising the quality of exhibits and the depth of the collection,” said Sharon Hohstadt, Museum Society President. “We invite people to come see why the museum is worthy of your support.” Days and hours of operation after Mother’s Day are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact Hohstadt to learn about becoming a museum volunteer, shohoho2@gmail.com or 541-963-8624.

 

Getting Ready for the 2016 Season

Spring cleaning has started at the Union County Museum, as volunteers prepare for our 2016 opening on Mother’s Day, May 8. It’s time to remove covers, dust, and prepare new exhibits and update old. If you would like to get involved, please contact Sharon, our museum board chair, shohoho@dishmail.net. We appreciate the help.

Mark your calendar to visit the museum on Mother’s Day and help kick off the season. Every season there is something new to share.

Museum Society Announces 2015 Annual Meeting

Historic photos from the museum collection show residents of Camp Carson.

Eastern Oregon University Professor Linda Reed-Jerofke will speak at the Union County Museum Society’s annual meeting Friday, October 16, at 7 p.m. The event takes place in the Little White Church, beside City Hall and across Main Street from the museum in Union. Admission for the event is free and everyone is invited.

ProfessorReed-Jerofke will talk about the historic Camp Carson mining camp. Reed-Jerofke and Eastern Oregon University Professor Rory Becker have recently conducted archeology projects in the area of the camp with their students, in hopes of learning more about the site and the people who mined there.

The camp is located near Tanner Gulch, about 21 miles south of La Grande. Gold rush speculators and Chinese miners mined the area. War Department Maps of 1877 also mention the camp, suggesting it might have been a military establishment.

Dating back to the 1860s, Camp Carson was a mining camp on the upper reaches of the Grande Ronde River. Early gold seekers may have named it after the Carson City area of Nevada. 

The annual meeting also includes a brief recap of the season, election of the board of directors and approval of the 2016 budget.

Refreshments will follow the presentation and discussion. Membership is encouraged and is required to vote.

After a rewarding season, the museum closes October 9 and opens again Mother’s Day, 2016.

Museum to Host Pioneer Day August 29

Merle Miller is shown preparing Dutch-oven main dishes, breads and desserts during a past Pioneer Day.

Union, Oregon__The Union County Museum is hosting Pioneer Day, Saturday, August 29. Come watch a variety of pioneer skills demonstrations, including candle making, sheep shearing (yes – with live sheep!), wool spinning and weaving, tool making, Dutch-oven cooking, and blacksmithing. Mark Wing of Union will give rides in a horse-drawn wagon and talk about the history of Union’s commercial buildings. 

The event takes place in the museum courtyard, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., as part of the Union County Museum Society’s community outreach program. The interior museum exhibits will also be open for touring. 

“Our goal is to entice more people to get to know, enjoy and appreciate the museum,” said Sharon Hohstadt, President of the Union County Museum Society. “We have been pleased with the response to such events in recent years and are happy to meet and acquire new patrons.”

We are delighted to have three exceptional music groups perform in the afternoon. The Tailgate Trio will perform from noon to 1 p.m.; The Huitts will play from 1 to 2 p.m.; and the Twisted Willows (Cindy Frick, Leslie McMillan, Anna Leslie, Matt Cooper and Sharon Porter), perform from 2 to 4.

Admission for the event is by donation. Refreshments will be offered for sale by the Union County Museum Society Board. 

Gary Kohler discusses his black-powder gun and gear collection.

The Union County Museum is dedicated to presenting and preserving the history of Union County and the surrounding area. The museum is continually adding and upgrading exhibits, including the General Store exhibit, new this season. Newcomers always remark on the depth and quality of our exhibits.

Owned and operated by the Union County Museum Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the museum is an all-volunteer effort by a small but very dedicated group of individuals. Ask how you can get involved!

 

Summer 2015 Events Announced

Any day is a good day to explore the Union County Museum, but please mark you calendar for a fun event coming to the Union County Museum this summer.

Learn about blacksmithing, Dutch oven cooking, toolmaking, carpentry and more.

Pioneer Day, Saturday, August 29, is a great day to introduce the museum to your children, friends and relatives. Watch demonstrations of pioneer skills and get to know the museum volunteers and members. Details will follow as plans are confirmed.

Mother’s Day Event Marks Season Opening

The Union County Museum opens for the 2015 season Sunday, May 10, from noon to 4 p.m.. As is traditional, the event falls on Mother’s Day, providing a nice way to enjoy the holiday while exploring life in Union County over the last 150 years. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

Music will be performed by Grande Rondelin, a stringed instrument group that plays the museum’s two very rare instruments, the mandocello and the mandobase. The group will also perform with the museum’s instruments at a concert at Eastern Oregon University, date to be announced.

New in the museum this year is a mercantile exhibit, taking museum visitors back in time to the 1890s through 1920s. Museum curator Blanche Kohler, Union carpenter David Schmidt and volunteers have been working on the exhibit over the last two months, using old photos of Union County stores to design the exhibit space. They will be gathering items from the museum collection to fill the 20 x 18’ walk-in replica of a typical small-town general store.

“We are excited to unveil this wonderful addition to museum exhibits,” said Kohler. “From the classic false-front storefront to the layout and methods of displaying products, the museum’s General Store will take patrons back to a completely different shopping experience than what they are used to today.” The exhibit is in the South Building, directly behind the Cowboys Then & Now Collection, which has been housed at the Union Count Museum since 1998.

Another highlight of the Mother’s Day event is a book signing by Richard Roth, former Union County resident and author of “The Hot Lake Story,” and its two supplements. Roth will have on hand his just-released second edition of “The Central Railroad of Oregon – Oregon’s Blue Mountain Route.” The hard-cover book is a painstakingly researched story about, “the fascinating historical development and decline of Union as a railroad town in Northeast Oregon,” as described in a brochure.

The book covers the history of one of the shortest railroads in the northwest, from the initial railroad proposal in 1889 through the final order of abandonment of the line 106 years later. The 237-page publication incudes over 200 photographs of locomotives, rolling stock, familiar faces and local railroad scenes; maps, diagrams, passes and correspondence. The narrative describes the entrepreneurial spirit that came out of the industrial revolution and fostered the expansion of transportation across the country. That same spirit eventually lead to development of the automobile, freight trucks and improved roads, which eventually brought about the decline of most short-line railroads, including Union’s.

Growing up at Hot Lake in the mid-twentieth century, Roth was interested in local railroad history and the Central Railroad of Oregon, which, rolling right through the heart of Union, linked the communities of Cove and Union and connected them with the Union Pacific Main Line near Hot Lake. Fans of the area’s history will find this book an important addition to their collection.

While admission to the museum on Mother’s Day is free, the museum board asks you to join the Union County Museum Society to support the collection, preservation and presentation of our area’s history. Individual membership is just $10 a year; you can be a supporting member for just $50 a year. Visitors from around the world give the museum very high praise for the quality of exhibits and the depth of the collection. Please come to the museum and see why it is worthy of your support.