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.