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News Releases
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Students from Brookings, Oregon to Display World War II Exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland (Photo) - 07/19/18

Portland, OR – The Remembrance of World War II, an exhibit created by students from Brookings-Harbor High School, will be on display at the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) in Portland. The exhibit, which took 60 students from two classes of Junior U.S. History and the State and Local History class four weeks to create, gives a localized perspective on World War II from the viewpoint of the American homefront. Many of the photos featured in the exhibit are on loan from veterans living in Brookings and have never been published before now.  

The Curry Coastal Pilot published a story on the exhibit, stating that the students hoped that they might find a venue where more people could see the exhibit, specifically mentioning the Oregon Historical Society. OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk happened to see the article and contacted the students to learn more. After seeing the exhibit through a FaceTime call, Tymchuk told the students that OHS would be delighted to host their exhibit at its museum in Portland. 

“I was tremendously impressed with the research, scholarship, and creativity of the students, and wanted to give others the opportunity to see this exhibit on one of the most eventful and impactful times in history,” said Tymchuk.

Several students and their family members will be traveling from Brookings to Portland to see the exhibit on Saturday, July 28. The students will be available for interviews at 1pm at the Oregon Historical Society (1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland).

The Remembrance of World War II will be on view in the main pavilion of OHS from July 26 through August 3. Admission to this exhibit is free and is $5 to visit the rest of the museum; view a list of current exhibits at ohs.org. Admission is free every day for OHS members and Multnomah County residents. The museum is open seven days a week, Monday – Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from 12pm – 5pm.  

 

About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.

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Newly Restored Oregon Constitution on View for the First Time Outside of the State Archives in Salem (Photo) - 07/17/18

Portland, OR – Following a massive statewide crowdfunding campaign, the newly restored Oregon Constitution is now on view at the Oregon Historical Society through September 3, 2018. What started as a penny drive targeted at Oregon students to raise funds to preserve and exhibit the original 1857 Oregon Constitution turned into over $100,000 raised to restore this historic document. The Oregon Historical Society is proud to have joined many Oregonians in contributing to this effort, and is the first location outside of the Oregon State Archives in Salem to host the document.

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson arranged special TSA clearance as the constitution traveled from Portland to the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, Massachusetts. The detailed conservation effort included digital imaging to create a record of the document prior to restoration, and some of the “before and after” photos of the constitution are on view in the Oregon Historical Society display.

Mary Beth Herkert, Director of the State Archives Division, shares an overview of the restoration in a video, and the NEDCC further details the complex conservation process in this video. Steps included repairing pages that were loose from the binding (while preserving the original binding), as well as essentially giving the pages a “bath” in order to clean the pages that were starting to discolor due to the type of ink that was used in writing the document. The full effort took a single conservationist four months to complete.

While the constitution is on view, the Oregon Historical Society will host two free public programs in the month of August to invite conversation around this important founding document:

Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear: Conversations on Citizenship and the Oregon Constitution

Presented by Manuel Padilla on Wednesday, August 8 at 7pm

Join Manuel Padilla for a dialogue on the foundations of citizenship in the Oregon constitution. The discussion will explore the local people that shaped this concept of citizenship and will then situate the conversations of the past in the current socio-political climate of the present. Have we progressed beyond the considerations and limitations of 1857? Have we transcended past Oregonians’ debates over belonging? Or, is there something of us in them, and something of them in us today?

A White Man’s Democracy: The Drafting of the Oregon State Constitution in the Era of Dred Scott

Presented by Kenneth Coleman on Wednesday, August 15 at 12pm

Kenneth Coleman will discuss the national and regional historical context of the Oregon Constitutional Convention and the ultimate outcome of debates surrounding slavery, racial exclusion, and woman suffrage. He will also consider the meaning of representational democracy in antebellum Oregon, focusing on those Oregonians who had no access to the convention or the right to vote on its final draft.

To learn more about Oregon’s road to statehood and the constructing of Oregon’s Constitution, visit www.ohs.org/constitution. Explore OHS digital history projects for more background on Oregon’s road to statehood and to view the draft copy of the Oregon State Constitution’s preamble and bill of rights that is part of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library collection.

View this historic document now through September 3, 2018 at the Oregon Historical Society (1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland). The museum is open seven days a week, Monday – Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from 12pm – 5pm. Admission to the museum is currently discounted to $5 as we renovate our permanent exhibition on the third floor. Admission is free every day for OHS members and Multnomah County residents.

 

About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.

NHD 2018 Awards Ceremony
NHD 2018 Awards Ceremony
Oregon Students Reach Finals at National History Day(R) Competition in Maryland (Photo) - 07/05/18

Portland, OR – Fifty-two students from across Oregon traveled to College Park, Maryland to compete in the National History Day® contest June 10–14. The students who qualified for nationals received first or second place in their category at the Oregon History Day contest organized by the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) on Saturday, May 5 at Concordia University in Portland.

Of the many exemplary projects that qualified for the national competition, two entries from Oregon made it all the way to the final round of the competition. Alan Zhou and Kyler Wang of Stoller Middle School in Beaverton (led by teacher Thomas Justman) placed fourth in the Junior Group Website category with their project The Pig War: Confrontation, Escalation, Arbitration. Anja Jolin of Laurelhurst School in Portland (led by teacher Lindsay Gebbie) placed eighth for her Junior Paper titled Confrontation and Negotiation: South Africa’s Transition to Democracy.

Each fall, the Oregon Historical Society kicks off the Oregon History Day program alongside over half a million 6–12 grade students across the country. OHS Education Manager Kristen Pilgrim works closely with educators throughout the state, and students use the OHS Research Library and digital assets like the Oregon History Project and Oregon Encyclopedia to conduct research on the annual theme. The 2018 National History Day® theme was “Conflict and Compromise,” and students can present their final project in the form of a paper, website, exhibit, performance, or documentary, and can work individually or as a group.

Beaverton’s Alan Zhou and Kyler Wang visited the OHS Research Library to examine primary sources for their project on the Pig War, impressing library staff with their conscientious care for the library’s priceless collections. “They surrounded themselves with old materials, insisted on handling each document with special gloves, and showed great focus and respect for our materials and for the library,” said Reference Archivist Elerina Aldamar. “They were probably here for four hours, totally engrossed in Pig War materials. It was a true pleasure to have them here, and I hope we served them well!” It appears that they did, as Zhou and Wang won the Global Peace Prize Special Award at the competition.

All National History Day® participants compete in the first round of competition, while only the first place winners from round one advance to the second finals round where first, second, and third place finishers are awarded medals. Students may also receive Special Awards in a variety of categories.

Other Oregon standouts from the National History Day® contest included:

  • Leo Marchyok, Milo Lubin, and Thomas Pallister of ACCESS Academy (Portland Public School District, teacher Heather Kelly) placed second in the first round of the competition, just missing the final round by one place, for their Junior Group Exhibit, Spain Divided: Conflict and Compromise in the Spanish Civil War
  • Colton Reynolds and Drew Nelson of Helix High School (Helix School District, teacher Lorin Kubishta) placed third in the first round for their Senior Group Documentary, West Is Sending an Army: The Copperfield Affair
  • Hailey Cheon, Janice Lee, Jayden Gwo, Jenny Ni, and Rajvir Singh of Stoller Middle School (Beaverton School District, teacher Thomas Justman) placed third in the first round for their Junior Group Website, Ping Pong Diplomacy: How One Sport Brought Nations Together
  • Geoffrey Gu of Sunset High School (Beaverton School District) placed third for his Senior Individual Exhibit Quarantine: Compromise in the War Between Man and Virus
  • Outstanding Junior Division Affiliate Award: Anja Jolin of Laurelhurst School
  • Outstanding Senior Division Affiliate Award: Geoffrey Gu of Sunset High School

More than a half-million students and 30,000 teachers participate in National History Day® annually. Through historical research on topics of their choice and interviews with multiple judges, students learn research and reading skills, critical thinking, problem solving, and self-esteem and confidence. For more information on National History Day®, visit www.nhd.org.

A full list of 2018 Oregon History Day participants can be found at www.ohs.org/oregonhistoryday.


About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.

Cover of the 2018 Summer issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly journal
Cover of the 2018 Summer issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly journal
Local Scholars Solve Centuries-Old Mystery of the "Beeswax Wreck" on the Oregon Coast (Photo) - 06/25/18

A special issue of the Oregon Historical Society’s Oregon Historical Quarterly is dedicated to the research findings

Portland, OR – June 21, 2018 – For centuries, beeswax and Chinese porcelain have washed ashore on Nehalem Spit, on the north Oregon Coast. Now, archival and archaeological evidence point to the Santo Cristo de Burgos, a seventeenth-century Manila galleon owned by the kingdom of Spain, as the mysterious vessel commonly known today as the “Beeswax Wreck.”

Stories of a very large shipwreck began circulating during the earliest days of Euro- American presence in the Pacific Northwest, as fur traders and explorers learned from Native people that a large ship had long ago wrecked on Nehalem Spit, with survivors and cargo that included beeswax. The stories, shrouded by speculation and often contradictory Euro-American folklore, captivated treasure-hunters who searched for a century and a half on nearby Neahkahnie Mountain and the adjacent beaches.

But which ship was it? The archaeologist-led team of the Beeswax Wreck Project used geology, archaeology, and porcelain analysis, combined with documentation from Spanish archives, to pinpoint the ship’s likely identity. Beeswax stamped with Spanish shippers’ marks confirmed the wreck’s origin, and patterns on Chinese porcelain sherds allowed researchers to narrow the date range.

The Spanish Manila galleon trade was the first global network, and close to 300 galleons left the Philippines for Acapulco carrying Asian goods during its 250-year span. The Project determined that the Beeswax wreck was one of two galleons that vanished without a trace: the Santo Cristo de Burgos, which sailed in 1693, or the San Francisco Xavier, which left Manila in 1705. Mapping the location of beeswax deposits allowed Project members to assert with confidence that the ship almost certainly wrecked before the 1700 Cascadia earthquake and tsunami.

Cameron La Follette and her team of archivists then undertook wide-ranging research in the archives of Spain, the Philippines, and Mexico to locate all available information about the Santo Cristo de Burgos of 1693. They discovered the history of the ship’s Captain, Don Bernardo Iñiguez del Bayo; a complete crew and passenger list; and highly important facts about the cargo. Researchers now know that the Santo Cristo de Burgos was carrying 2.5 tons of liquid mercury. If the wreck is located, testing for mercury will provide confirmation of the ship’s identity.

After many years of work to solve this multi-century mystery, La Follette’s research team and the Beeswax Wreck Project group have recently published their findings in a special issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly. The Oregon Historical Quarterly (OHQ) is a peer-reviewed public history journal published by the Oregon Historical Society that brings history about Oregon and the Pacific Northwest to both scholars and general readers. OHQ is one of the largest state historical society journals in the United States and is a recognized and respected source for the history of the Pacific Northwest region.

The Summer 2018 issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly is now available for purchase in the Oregon Historical Society’s Museum Store for $10, and a subscription to OHQ is a benefit of Oregon Historical Society membership. Abstracts for the articles featured in this special issue are available online.

Cameron La Follette will also be giving a free presentation on the Beeswax wreck at the Oregon Historical Society’s monthly Second Sunday program on July 8 at 2pm. Cameron La Follette is the lead researcher and author on almost all of the articles presented in the OHQ special issue “Oregon’s Manila Galleon.” She is lead author of Sustainability and the Rights of Nature: An Introduction; Executive Director of Oregon Coast Alliance, a coastal conservation organization; and an independent researcher.

 


 

About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.