In the nearly 20 years since it found a home in a building on the main drag of Government Camp, the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum has attracted a steady stream of attention — and donations.
Almost every inch of the 9,000-square-foot, three-story building that houses the museum is filled with enough artifacts to allow visitors to spend more than a few hours learning about the history of the area.
The carefully curated exhibits — including a 146-pound meteorite and a stuffed black bear named Lucy — are just a hint of a trove of historical treasures the museum possesses. Hundreds more pairs of skis, boxes of ski club patches, paintings and drawings by local artists and other donated items are currently in storage because there's simply not enough room to display them.
"The museum is bursting at the seams," Diane Lokting, development director for the museum, told the Business Tribune. "The archives are full. The galleries are difficult to rotate things in and out of. We don't have enough room for traveling exhibits."
With the museum's popularity showing no signs of slowing — it currently has 25,000 visitors a year — its board of directors has come to realize it's time to take steps to find more room. Over the next 10 years, the museum will undergo a three-phase expansion that will nearly double its space to 17,000 square feet and create new areas to benefit everything from research efforts to community gatherings.
Before that happens, though, there's a fundraising campaign that needs to be officially rolled out. Admission to the museum is free, and the facility operates with money from grants, lectures and other fund-raising events, and gift shop sales. With a goal of at least $8 million for the total expansion project, the museum "needs to get all of its duck in a row," according to Lokting.
"We have a lot of work to do," she said. "It's going to take some time."
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