Preserving history in Aurora
The Aurora Colony Historical Society was among the 11 statewide recipients of grants issued recently by the Oregon Heritage Commission.
The commission awarded a total of $74,999 to fund a variety of projects, including collection preservation, visitor education and heritage tourism, according to OHC spokeswoman Kuri Gill.
The commission sponsors heritage initiatives that educate the public about the value of heritage and celebrate the state's diversity. This cycle's grant amounts ranged from $1,063 to $8,284.
ACHS will use its award of $8,000 to move historical collections to a new preservation facility.
"The collections are currently in one of our existing buildings, the Ox Barn," said Ted Heid, who serves on the ACHS board.
The Ox Barn is a historical fixture in itself, as it is believed to have housed the farm animals that brought original colonists to the Willamette Valley. While it's served the storage purpose well, its minimal foundation and wooden structure creates climate-control issues and is vulnerable to fire.
"Over the last five or six years we raised $1.5 million to get our new building built," Heid said of the storage structure set about a half block off Main Street.
The OHC grant is a matching one; ACHS had to raise about $9,000 to receive it.
Other awardees were:
• Baker Heritage Museum, in Baker City, to develop and implement a heritage passport tourism promotion project;
• Bush House Museum, in Salem, to develop a timeline of Salem history documenting traditionally marginalized groups;
• Independence Heritage Museum, in Independence, to install storage shelving in their new facility;
• Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, in Portland, to update its cataloging system;
• Polk County Historical Society and Museum, in Rickreall, to improve collections storage;
• Portland Chinatown History Foundation, in Portland, to develop oral history videos;
• Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House, in Eugene, for collections storage improvements;
• Southern Oregon Historical Society, in Medford, to catalog, rehouse, digitize and make available online glass plate negatives from Sawyer's postcard company;
• Wallowa History Center, in Wallowa, for promotional projects including interpretive planning, website development, and highway signs;
• Willamette University Hallie Ford Museum, in Salem, for the preservation and digitization of the Rick Bartow print collection.
Gill noted that the museum grant program, which began in 1965, is offered annually by the Oregon Heritage Commission, part of the Oregon Heritage program at the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department (OPRD), and the grants are funded by resources other than lottery and park fees.
The Oregon Heritage Commission consists of nine members appointed by the governor and nine agency advisers. Members are chosen from state agencies and statewide organizations, and represent a diverse geographical and heritage background.
For information about Aurora Colony Historical Society, call 503-678-5754 or visit auroracolony.org.
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