Category Archives: Benton County Historical Society

Horner Museum Oral History Collection

Fabulous new collection guide now available online! Horner Museum Oral History Collection 1964-1992

We love it when Elizabeth N. describes something as the “granddaddy of them all” for our oral history collections … not one to use superlatives lightly, when Elizabeth does use one, she means it!

So why is this so special?

The Horner Museum Oral History Collection consists of approximately 290 oral history interviews conducted or assembled by the Horner Museum. The run the gamut, covering a variety of topics including the OSU campus community and development of academic departments, Corvallis and Benton County, the diversification of a “resource-based economy” in Bend and Deschutes County, Native Americans and other ethnic minorities in the region, and the establishment of the CH2M Hill engineering firm.

For those of you who like the numbers, this collection is 17.75 cubic feet, including 681 audiocassettes and 200 photographs — yes, that’s 34 boxes worth. And for those of you who delight in details, there is a preliminary container list available (linked from the collection guide).

Want to know more? Elizabeth has written a wonderful background history for the collection, including more about on the physical details and other related collections for companion research projects.

Interested in where the physical artifacts found their home?

You can find the contents of the Horner Museum in Philomath at the Benton County Historical Society and Museum.

The keeper of Benton County’s history!

There is a great article in the Gazette-Times today on the Benton County Historical Society. It’s worth reading the entire thing, but I couldn’t resist posting this quote, which paints such a delightful picture…

The Benton County Historical Society’s storage building is crammed to the rafters – literally – with a bewildering assortment of artifacts. They’re lined up in rows, stacked in boxes and arrayed on shelves like the accumulated clutter of God’s own attic.

So if you ventured 5 miles west of Corvallis to Philomath, what will you find there? The collection numbers somewhere around 120,000 items, so you’ll find a lot!

Tin lizzies and horse-drawn carriages. Hand-carved bedsteads and hand-woven baskets. Wedding dresses and military uniforms. A deep-sea diver’s helmet and a telephone operator’s switchboard. A congregation of pulpits and a veritable armada of rocking chairs.”

What does Mary Gallagher, the historical society’s collections manager, think? “I think we have too many chairs, personally.” Joking aside, Gallagher and the BCHS staff take their collection and mission of preserving the history of our county very seriously! Read more and you’ll see…

Not Your Grandmother’s Quilts

As part of “Quilt County,” a series of quilt exhibits in Corvallis and Philomath, and organized by the Mary’s River Quilt Guild, the OSU Women’s Center invited women quilters affiliated with Oregon State to display their work in the Women’s Center gallery. Titled “Not Your Grandmother’s Quilts,” this show honors the beauty of traditional women’s craft work and the artistry of modern art quilts. “Not Your Grandmother’s Quilts” can be viewed at the Women’s Center Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through mid October.

Want to see more historic quilts? The Benton County Historical “Cockrell Quilts showcase a spectrum of historical quilting styles and techniques, and were dated by the donor to represent the era from the Revolutionary to the Civil War. Susan Cockrell’s goal was for them to be seen and enjoyed. Susan Cockrell gave most of the historic quilt collection to the Horner Museum in the mid-1950s, followed by two more in 1971, in memory of her mother Elizabeth Saville Lewis, a quilt enthusiast and avid collector.