Tag Archives: Union County Museum

2020 Annual Meeting Report…

It has been a tough year for many, but we hope the holidays provided a chance to count our blessings and connect with loved ones, whether in person or via modern technology.

The Union County Museum Society, the non-profit, volunteer organization that owns and operates the Union County Museum, did not hold an in-person annual meeting in 2020, due to the COVID 19 pandemic and its impact on public gatherings. Instead, all business was conducted via email and traditional mail. The quarterly newsletter was published in early September, presenting necessary information about the proposed budget and board of directors positions up for election.

Accomplishments and other news from the year included:

  • Staining the exterior of the museum
  • Taking steps to improve the museum’s online presence by updating and upgrading the website and improving the quality and amount of social media posts. This project is under way and will be completed in 2021.
  • Rearranging the artifacts in the courtyard
  • Improving landscaping at the Little White Church
  • The museum received a bequest for $8,402 from an estate
  • Nod and Linda submitted a cultural support application to the cultural trust, hoping to receive money to help cover lost revenue from not being able to be open to the public this season.
  • Linda created a new window display heralding the days of a summer visit to the soda fountain – the menu prices are especially fun to ponder.
  • Linda kept the curb appeal of the museum attractive with planters full of blooming red geraniums!

The annual Museum Yard Sale took place Friday and Saturday, September 18 & 19, to record-breaking success! We so appreciate all the hard work Carol puts into organizing the fund raising event every other year.

Nod Palmer has led the museum board of directors since agreeing to take the position of president in December 2019. Josh White has served as vice-president since that time, as well. Other officers are Linda Bond, Secretary; Carol Mulvany, Treasurer; Sharon Hohstadt, Curator. Also serving on the board are Richard Hohstadt, Pat Miller, Merle Miller, Louise Weeks, Ann Rodriguez, Judy Emmons, Carolyn Young and Janet Dodson.

Individuals interested in serving on the Board of Directors are encouraged to attend board meetings, host and otherwise become familiar with museum operations and to express their interest to the president. Board member responsibilities range from hosting to recruiting, training and scheduling volunteers, through building maintenance, budgeting and bookkeeping, archiving and accessioning, creating exhibits, marketing and fund raising. It is clear, running a museum of this quality requires many activities and a myriad of skills. The busy board welcomes additional help. People interested in getting involved in any aspect are encouraged to contact Linda Bond, 541-910.8263 or jefflindabond@gmail.com.

Help the Union County Museum collect, preserve and present the history of Union County and the surrounding area. Join the Union County Museum Society; membership fees start at just $10 a year! Become a volunteer – there are all kinds of volunteer activities in addition to hosting. There is certain to be one that suits your interests and skills.

We look forward to a brighter 2021 and hope to see many of you in the museum, beginning Mother’s Day – our traditional season opening.

Take care and stay healthy!

Annual Museum Yard Sale Sept. 18 & 19

UC Museum Society Treasurer and yard sale organizer Carol has put together an amazing yard sale again this fall. See the list below for just a sampling of the wide range of items she has gathered up for the sale. We thank everyone who has donated items and hope to see you at the yard sale. Come support the museum and take home a treasure!

Dulcimer Group Plays for July Third Tuesday Event

The Union County Museum launches its 2019 Third Tuesday series July 16, 7 p.m., in the Little White Church, the museum’s historic venue across Main Street from the museum in Union. The group performing is Dulcimer Delirium, whose program will consist of demonstrations, a look at the museum’s zither, and playing of tunes and singing.

Formed in 2019, Dulcimer Delirium is a group of local musicians who enjoy playing a range of music on the mountain, or lap, dulcimer. All the members have experience on other instruments and found the dulcimer to be adaptable to many playing styles and genres of music. The group includes people from a wide variety of professions and has no designated leader.

“We prefer to use consensus in choosing the repertoire and in arranging the tunes to our satisfaction,” explains Sharon Porter, a group member. “Some of our instruments were hand-built by luthiers Jerry Nolte, recently from Cove; Janita Baker of Santa Margarita, California; Dan Cox of New Tazewell, Tennessee and Ron Ewing of Columbus, Ohio. Other instruments were made by the McSpadden, Gold Tone, and Folkcraft companies. Dulcimers are a bit like potato chips…‘betcha can’t buy just one!’”

Dulcimer background: No one knows who built the first dulcimer, but the instrument arose in the early 1800s from the community of Scotch-Irish immigrants to the Appalachian region of the United States. It is curious that the instrument has no apparent ancestor in the immigrants’ home countries of Ireland and Scotland. Some say the drones of a dulcimer harken to the bagpipes of Scotland, but this is pure speculation. The dulcimer is a descendent of the zither family, drawing from the Norwegian Langeleik, French Epinette, Swedish Hummel and German Scheitholt. It goes by various names and nicknames including dulcimore, hog fiddle and, in Appalachia where it may be made from barn siding, Tennessee music box. It is truly an American-born instrument.

The dulcimer was first used as a parlor instrument as the sound is quiet and suited to small home settings. Virtually no recordings of the dulcimer exist from earlier than the late 1930s. The instrument experienced a renaissance in the 1950s with the folk revival movement led by Jean Ritchie, a traditional noter player* from Viper Kentucky, who brought mountain music to New York City. For the evening performance, Dulcimer Delirium will demonstrate the various styles of playing, show some variants of the instrument itself and play a range of repertoire from old time mountain music to modern day tunes.

*A noter player uses a small dowel in the left hand to press on the string to make a pitch, kind of like using a finger but the slides you can make produce a distinctive sound. Often a turkey feather is used instead of a pick in the right hand.

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, jefflindabond@gmail.com or call 541.910.8263. Volunteer hosts work in shifts.

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.  www.ucmuseumoregon.com.


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.

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.

Union County Museum

The museum is easy to find on Main Street in historic Union.

Welcome to the website of the Union County Museum in Union, Oregon. We are building this site and will be adding photos and content over the coming weeks.

The museum is located at 333 South Main Street, in Union, Oregon. Reach us by phone at 541.562.6003.

To get to Union, take exit 265 from Interstate 84 at La Grande and drive 15 miles southeast to Union on Oregon Highway 203. Or, take exit 285 from Interstate 84 at North Powder, and drive 16 miles northeast to Union on Oregon Highway 237.

Our season of operation is Mother’s Day through mid-October. We are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is operated by volunteers. If you find the museum closed during normal hours, please visit the Union City Hall across the street and ask that they call a museum volunteer to open for you.