Category Archives: Events & activities

UCMuseum Hosts Opening Event on Mother’s Day

The Union County Museum begins a celebration of its 50th anniversary when it opens for the 2019 season on Mother’s Day, May 12, from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission to the annual event is free and refreshments will be available. Museum volunteers always look forward to showing museum patrons through the exhibits, highlighting the facility improvements made over the past few months.

“This event is the beginning of a season-long recognition of the people and patrons who have made it possible for the museum to become the regional gem it is,” said Sharon Hohstadt, museum curator. “We are so grateful to all and proud of what we have accomplished over the years.” Hohstadt served as president of the Union County Museum Society for 10 years, before accepting the role of curator in 2018.

A special anniversary celebration is being planned for September 7, during an enhanced Pioneer Day. Watch the website, newsletter and media for more information as details are solidified.

While admission to the museum is free on Mother’s Day, the museum board of directors encourages people to join the Union County Museum Society to support the mission of collecting, preserving and presenting our area’s history. Membership starts at just $10 a year for individuals and includes entry for free throughout the year and the quarterly newsletter. For just $50 a year you can be a Supporting Member and help ensure the museum continues its important role in the county.

Days and hours of operation after Mother’s Day are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday hours and dates will be announced. Be sure to include a visit to the museum when enjoying a Sunday drive after church or as part of entertaining visiting friends and relatives.

More volunteers are always needed and welcome, with activities ranging from being a host to working on new projects and necessary tasks. To learn more about volunteering, or to book a tour for a group, please contact Linda Bond, Museum Society Secretary, or call 541.910.8263. Volunteer hosts work in shifts.

September Third Tuesday at the Museum

The Little White Church faces Main Street and sits beside City Hall.

As the 2018 season winds down, the Union County Museum is pleased to highlight the talent and knowledge within the museum’s board members and volunteers. Guest speakers for the September Third Tuesday are Sharon Hohstadt, Museum Curator, and Anne Rodriguez, who has created a successful outreach program. The event is September 18, at 7 p.m., in the Little White Church, across Main Street from the Museum in Union.

Sharon will give a talk she presented in May to visiting members of the California & Oregon Trails Association, about the Oregon Trail migration, which began in earnest 175 years ago.

Anne Rodriguez, also a retired teacher, will do the traveling trunk presentation, giving us all the chance to hear what she takes to area schools. She presented to 269 students last spring and is scheduling school visits for 2019.

We will “open the mike,” for the last segment of the evening, inviting museum volunteers and members to do a short talk about their areas of interest and expertise. This has the benefit of bringing to light people who may be selected to present an expanded version as the guest speaker at a Third Tuesday next season. Please contact Austin Saunders, board President,, if you have something you would like to share.

The purpose of the September Third Tuesday event is to foster more exchange between the board, volunteers, members and the general public and to encourage all to attend the Annual Meeting, Friday, October 5. We hope to see you at both of these engaging events.

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July 3rd Tuesday Features Paper Dolls

As we learned during the May Third Tuesday, people’s collections can open a window into popular culture and history. What a person chooses to collect is often connected to their youth, what was happening at the time in the country, and the interests they carried into adulthood. Tuesday, July 17, Carolyn Caldwell Mayer will share her collection of vintage paper dolls and the story behind them.

Carolyn was born in Manhattan, Kansas, alongside (actually ahead of) her twin sister, Marolyn on April 21, 1934. Their dad was a chemistry teacher and researcher at the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, known now as Kansas State University.

It was during the Great Depression, with the prospect of World War II looming over the world. Times were tough, but everyone was pretty much in the same boat, so life was okay for little girls. They had two best friends in the neighborhood, and one of the favorite things to do was to play paper dolls. At the time, stacks of paper doll books in a bin at the dime store cost 10 cents – just the amount of their weekly allowance.

Marolyn and Carolyn would buy one paper doll book with one dime and split it, and then spend the other dime on two ice cream cones. They also loved to draw their own paper dolls and clothes, spending many happy hours cutting and coloring.

A few years later, another set of twins joined the family and through a series of moves the girls’ dolls and paper dolls disappeared. But gifts and paper dolls in the newspapers kept the interest in them alive.

Long after she married, and after her children (who had never liked paper dolls no matter how hard she tried to interest them) were pretty well grown up, Carolyn started to build a new collection, mostly the new ritzy books that cost a lot more than a dime. Then people, including her children, started to give them to her and the whole thing snowballed.

“I still love to cut out paper dolls,” says Carolyn, “and now I’m trying to find ways to display them so that everyone can see them for the delightful pop art that they actually were.” In addition to collecting paper dolls, Carolyn had a career in chemistry and has taught piano lessons for nearly 50 years.

July’s Third Tuesday will begin at 7 p.m., in the Little White Church in Union, across South Main Street from the Union County Museum. The monthly event is hosted by the Union County Museum Society. For more information, call 541.562.6003, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m., or go to the website,


Special Hours for July 4th

The Union County Museum will be open extended hours in honor of Independence Day, Wednesday, July 4th. The museum will open at 10 a.m. and remain open until 7 p.m. (Normal hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

The additional hours coincide with activities in Union to celebrate the holiday, culminating with fireworks at dusk at the high school athletic field. The fireworks were moved to Union for 2018, due to construction underway at Community Stadium on the Eastern Oregon University campus in La Grande. Please take this opportunity to explore the museum and enjoy all that Union has to offer.

Stitches In Time is Topic of May Third Tuesday

The Union County Museum launches its 2018 Third Tuesday Series May 15, at 6 p.m., in the museum at 333 South Main Street, Union. Sharon Porter, a retired member of the EOU education faculty, is the guest speaker, sharing items from her vintage sewing machine and toy collection. She describes her pathway to collecting vintage sewing machines and toys in the passage below:

“Growing up on a farm outside South Solon, Ohio, was a perfect way to explore the natural world. Back then, kids were on a long tether after chores were completed. Every day brought a new adventure from catching crawdads to stealing the ball from stinkbugs. I feel guilty about that to this day! My mother thought it necessary for all of us to have piano lessons so after high school, I decided to major in music education so I could teach and enjoy an amateur life in music. I play in several local bands and ensembles and am lucky to experience the joy of playing music with others. I play bass, ukulele, recorder, piano (not often!), dulcimer, and am learning tenor guitar and mandolin.

“Not used to having a spare moment while teaching at EOU, I suddenly found time to rediscover old hobbies of my school days in central Ohio and Kentucky. Sewing my own clothes through high school and college, I wondered how much fun it could be to sew without a deadline. So, at retirement I turned to quilting as so many do here in the county. As a beginner, I am quite content to sew simple designs on vintage machines. There is something inspiring about sewing on a machine that holds a history of another person’s creative efforts. Vintage machines led me to a surprising hobby…toy sewing machines. When out in the RV, at band camp, or on the deck, I can relax and sew amidst a brew of music and companionship. I love to travel and these tiny wonders fit nicely in a suitcase and off I go! Come hear a bit of the history of the vintage sewing machines in our museum and the toy collection I have been inspired to start collecting.”

Third Tuesday events were started in summer 2017, and proved popular. Watch this website for more about the schedule and topics.


Mother’s Day Event Kicks Off the 2018 Season

The Union County Museum celebrates the 2018 season opening Mother’s Day, May 13, from noon to 4 p.m. Admission to the annual event is free and refreshments will be served. Museum volunteers look forward to showing visitors through the displays, including a new exhibit titled, The Oregon Trail, Then & Now, which compares common items of day-to-day living during the Oregon Trail migration, mid-twentieth century and today.

The museum will honor Blanche and Gary Kohler, who have volunteered at the museum for several decades. The couple has retired from being actively involved and they will be sorely missed. Please join us in honoring their service to the museum.

“This season is the beginning of a new chapter for the museum and we look forward to another great season,” said Austin Saunders, recently elected as Museum Society President. “Sharon Hohstadt is moving into the curator role and we welcome her ideas and steady influence as we move forward without Blanche’s leadership.” Saunders noted Hohstadt has served as president for 10 years and was ready to make a change in her responsibilities.

A new exhibit can be seen in the Livery Station building, accessed through the courtyard. Titled Oregon Trail Then & Now, the exhibit features items of everyday use on the journey west and during settlement times, displayed with corresponding items from mid-twentieth century and today. The exhibit was created to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail migration, and to invite museum visitors to compare life today with that of past decades and centuries.

While admission to the museum is free on Mother’s Day, the museum board of directors encourages people to join the Union County Museum Society to support the mission of collecting, preserving and presenting 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.

More volunteers are always needed and welcome, with activities ranging from being a host to working on new projects and necessary tasks. To learn more about volunteering, or to book a tour for a group. Days and hours of operation after Mother’s Day are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Volunteer hosts work in shifts.

Call 541.562.6003 during museum hours to find out how to get involved.

See you in 2018!

The Union County Museum opens for the 2018 season on Mother’s Day, May 13, noon to 4 p.m. We look forward to seeing you and hope you will make the open house part of your day. If you would like to become involved in the Union County Museum Society, please contact us with a message through our Facebook page.

Thank you for your support and interest in the museum!

Restore Oregon Presents the 2017 Annual Heritage Barn Workshop – Learn Best Practices & Techniques

On Saturday, October 7, Restore Oregon will host their 2017 Annual Heritage Barn Workshop, where barn owners will Baker County Tourism to provide this exceptional educational opportunity. learn from experts practical solutions on how to maintain, rehabilitate, and adapt old barns for today’s needs. The workshop will highlight the history and technology of barns, as well as barn maintenance, adaptive reuse, and preservation, and funding options available for owners of heritage barns in Oregon.

Heritage barns remain an iconic symbol of rural America and our agricultural heritage. Restore Oregon has pulled together some of the state’s and the region’s most well-versed “barn people” to share their skills and expertise with other barn owners. Lunch for participants will be served at the UCM Little White Church. Restore Oregon has partnered with the Eastern Oregon Visitors Association, Union County OSU Extension Office, Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce, Wallowa County Grain Growers, and Baker County Tourism to provide this exceptional educational opportunity.

Event Details: 2017 Annual Heritage Barn Workshop                                   Saturday, October 7, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.                                                                 Cost is $10 per ticket, includes snacks, beverages, and lunch                                       Held at OSU Eastern Oregon Agriculture Research Center in Union                         Please pre-register at                            For more information, please call Janet Dodson, 541.786.8006.

Union County Museum Announces Annual Meeting Guest Speakers

The Union County Museum Society is pleased to have two guest speakers at their annual meeting this Friday, October 6, at 7 p.m. – Dan Everhart of Restore Oregon and Richard Engeman of Oregon Rediviva. Both gentlemen are visiting Union County as presenters of the Restore Oregon Barn Restoration Workshop, October 7.

Richard Engeman, a history researcher and writer and Restore Oregon volunteer, will talk about how his interest in the history of Oregon’s foodways led him to volunteer with the Oregon Century Farm & Ranch Program, and then with Restore Oregon’s task force on barns and other historic agriculture structures and to help with the annual barn workshop.

“A sense of place has always been important to me,” said Richard. “I look at how the buildings we build reflect our values and interests.” Richard says the red livestock barn at Union Research Station is a noteworthy landmark that is visually striking for those who live near it, and it is a reminder of how things were done in the past. As an evocative link to a former way of life, “don’t you think we should find a way to keep it?!”

Dan Everhart, Preservation Program Manager at Restore Oregon, earned his Masters degree in Historic Preservation from University of Vermont and spent time as the Architectural Historian for the Idaho Department of Transportation and the US Forest Service. He will discuss the status of historic preservation in Union County and talk about Restore Oregon; what they do and who they are.

Founded in 1977, and originally called the Historic Preservation League of Oregon, Restore Oregon is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization which advocates for sound preservation policy and legislation. Their mission is to preserve, reuse and pass forward the historic places that create livable communities. Each year, the organization provides statewide educational programming and technical assistance, while working to save the sites and structures featured on their annual list of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places. They hold over 40 conservation easements on historic properties, thereby protecting them in perpetuity. Learn more at

Third Tuesday Event Focuses on the French Canadian Influence in Union County

Why is Ramo Flat called Ramo? Who was Mose Lore? Was Nelson Murray born in Canada as Narcisse Morais? The answers to these questions will be revealed when the Union County Museum continues their Third Tuesday event, July 18, 7 p.m., in the Little White Church across Main Street from the museum, in Union.

At the end of the 18th century, the big fur trade companies – Northwest Company, Hudson Bay Company – built trade forts throughout northwestern North America, from Vancouver on the Columbia up to the 60th parallel in what is now British Columbia. These companies employed French Canadian voyageurs as guides and river men. When the fur trade ended, these men stayed in the Northwest. Many married Native American women and settled in communities near the former trading posts.

In the 1860s and 1870s, some of the French-Canadian settlers – trappers, carpenters, gamblers, horsemen, blacksmiths, farmers, and saloon keepers, many with their wives and children, came to Catherine Creek. They came from French Prairie in Marion County, from the Red River settlement in Manitoba, and from Frenchtown in Walla Walla. Almost all were born in Canada; almost none came here directly from Canada.

The Union County Museum invites you to discover the French Canadian settlement of Union – how it came to be, how it was connected to the other Frenchtowns of the northwest, and how it was written out of history.

Presenter Sarah Hurlburt is an associate professor of French at Whitman College and the secretary of the Frenchtown Historical Foundation in Walla Walla, WA. Her research specializes in the French-Canadian communities of the northwestern United States in the 19th century.

John Sheehy, a board member of the Union County Museum Society, grew up hearing stories about the old French Canadians in High Valley. He has been researching the French Canadian community of Catherine Creek since 2012 and contributed to this 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 August 15.