Museum of the Oregon Territory to celebrate grand re-opening
Admission is free from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, for the grand re-opening of the Museum of the Oregon Territory's revamped exhibits, included the unveiling of MOOT's Kaegi Virtual Pharmacy at 211 Tumwater Drive, Oregon City.
The Kaegi Pharmacy, which operated in Wilsonville from 1927 to 1989, was donated to CCHS to illustrate what pharmacies looked like in the days of Herbert Hoover. Brothers John and Richard Kaegi donated their antique collection with bottles of rattlesnake oil, strychnine and other products sold for "medical" purposes just 90 years ago.
Kaegi Virtual Pharmacy seeks to bring alive the experience of the Kaegi Pharmacy circa 1910 using virtual-reality and augmented-reality technologies. Clackamas County Historical Society Executive Director Claire Blaylock said that it would be nearly impossible to describe all of the contents of the Kaegi Pharmacy with text panels, even if they were wall-to-wall, so the technology will allow museum visitors to interact with pharmaceutical items in real time.
Staff and volunteers from Washington State University created a virtual reality of the Kaegi Pharmacy using archival photographs, a collaboration made possible through a $20,000 federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Blaylock would like the museum to foster stronger relationships with local schools.
With volunteers from Portland State University, Blaylock also oversaw a process to renovate the other historical exhibits at MOOT.
"We've completely rewritten all of the text and are trying to tell all of the stories of Oregon residents, including those that are less comfortable to talk about, such as the treatment of African Americans and Native Americans here," Blaylock said.
Women in Oregon history get more coverage in the revamped exhibits, describing their various contributions to development of industry, even if it was behind the scenes. Exhibits now describe as well the 19th-century case of Charity Lamb, an Eagle Creek resident who murdered her husband after he threatened to kill her and her family.
MOOT staff recognized the museum's location next to Willamette Falls as one of its key assests, and now exhibits demonstrate how the falls powered the region's first mills and long-distance electrical transmission, a feat given over to a hallway where kids can recreate the electrical route using light-up panels.
"This was always the beating heart of the Oregon Territory, and that changes the nature of how this area developed," Blaylock said.
Blaylock would like to encourage more play in the museum that seeks to tap into a greater focus in education on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). Children can play dress-up, using mock-period costumes; these are not the type of costumes that are shown behind glass in MOOT's rotating textile gallery, currently showing 100 years of wedding dresses (circa 1830-1930).