History of the Umatilla County Historical Society

The Umatilla County Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 1974, and each year's Board of Directors has built upon the vision of its 100 charter members in providing the means to document and share local history.

An historic journal, Pioneer Trails, was first published in 1976. It continues to be printed quarterly to document the stories of the people, places and events in Umatilla County.

In 1981, contents of the Sturgis Museum at Blue Mountain Community College were donated to the Historical Society, which was the beginning of its collection of historic objects.

A storefront gallery opened as headquarters for the Historical Society in 1985. Limited exhibits were installed and Terrific Tuesdays, an educational program series, began.

Arrangements were made to convert Pendleton’s 1909 train depot to a museum in 1987. Renovations followed and the exhibits, programs, and collections came under one roof for the first time in 1988.

As the organization continued its steady growth, it became apparent that the Historical Society was outgrowing its space. A facility expansion was completed in the Fall of 2003. The depot was renovated for use as exhibit galleries, and a new entry building and preservation wing were constructed to provide space for a classroom, a museum store, offices, work space and artifact storage. The over $2.8 million project also included a courtyard, landscaping of the museum grounds, and construction of a small open-air amphitheater.











Mission

The Umatilla County Historical Society was organized to collect and preserve historical objects and stories unique to the Umatilla County region and uses them to strengthen present and future generations’ understanding of that history through exhibits and diverse programming.









Membership

Do you enjoy interesting stories and colorful anecdotes? Are you interested in delving deeper into local history? Join the Umatilla County Historical Society so that you won’t miss any of the publications; you’ll have unlimited free admission to Heritage Station Museum; and you’ll be notified of all programs and special events. You’ll also receive a couple of guest passes to treat friends or family!

Dues are $40 per individual, $50 per family, and $75 per business. Benefits include: quarterly issues of Pioneer Trails, the Heritage Station Newsletter, notices of special events, and discounts on certain activities and in the Museum Store. You’ll be helping to support Historical Society programming at the same time. Gift memberships are thoughtful ways to provide a year of enjoyment for the recipient.

We’ll be happy to send a card to the recipient announcing your gift, or send the new member materials to you to personally present. Getting started is easy: mail your check with member’s name, address and telephone number to Heritage Station Museum, P.O. Box 253, Pendleton, OR 97801.

You can sign up online by clicking the join button at the top of the screen or call 541-276-0012.











Volunteer Opportunities

Do you enjoy meeting people from all over the world? Would you like to make new friends and work with dedicated, community-service oriented individuals? Do you have a passion for preserving and sharing local heritage and history? If so, consider joining the ranks of volunteer staff at Heritage Station Museum!

Opportunities to be involved are numerous and varied. Gallery and Store Attendants are on the "front line", welcoming all who stop by Heritage Station Museum.

If you are creative or handy with tools you might enjoy assembling exhibits or maintaining the facility.

If you enjoy organizing events or planning programs, the Planning Committee may be your niche.

If development and marketing bring you fulfillment, fundraising events and opportunities abound.

Managing the collection offers the opportunity to catalog and pack artifacts or to establish and maintain research archives.

Call 541-276-0012 or email us at info@heritagestationmuseum.org and ask how you can be involved. You will be given a volunteer application with a list of opportunities to consider. The Museum Manager will help match your schedule and interests with one of a variety of interesting job possibilities.

Any amount of time you can volunteer is appreciated, whether weekly, monthly, or just for a special event or project. All necessary training will be provided and you'll be included in special volunteer-only activities. Get on board at Heritage Station -- you'll be glad you did!











Donations

The Umatilla County Historical Society is a non-profit organization that is supported by membership dues, donations, grants, sponsorships and fundraising events. Because it is designated as a 501(c)(3) entity, all contributions are tax-deductible.

Donations support the annual operations and special projects (e.g. the Byrd School, the Homestead exhibit, and Capital Improvements). Occasionally, special projects provide naming opportunities. The Historical Society also has an Endowment Fund which provides long term stability.  Here are some of the ways that you can donate to the museum.

Objects

The Umatilla County Historical Society has a large collection of objects that have been donated over the years.  All items must be accepted by the Head of Collections before being added into the collection.  What kinds of things are eligible for accession into the collection?  Items that have provenance and have been part of the history of Umatilla County, meaning that it was A) used by someone who lived/lives here, B) was involved in an event in the county, or C) is similar or identical to something that would have been used in the county during a certain time period.  For instance, a pipe that belonged to as Echo resident in the 1910s or a photo of downtown Weston in 1945 would be more likely to be added to the collection than something that just happens to be old but not from the area. 

If you have an object that you might like to donate, you can email information to info@heritagestationmuseum.org or call for Susan at (541) 276-0012

 

Memorials

One of the ways that people can donate financially to the museum is through memorial donations.  Memorials are payments in memory of someone who has passed away.  A card will be sent to a surviving friend or relative (if one can be found), a card will be sent to the donor (for tax purposes-- all memorial donations are tax deductible), and the name of the donor will appear in the Trail's End section in the next Pioneer Trails publication under the name of the person memorialized.

 

The Heritage Station Memorial Wall

For those who would like a more tangible memorial for a loved one, there is also the Memorial Wall.  The Heritage Station Memorial Wall can be seen from inside the main hallway, or on the promenade of the secure museum grounds.  Plaques for the wall are metal, and have a protective coating against environmental damage.  The text for the plaque is chosen by the purchaser, and can be used to celebrate a milestone event, in remembrance of a loved one, to honor military service, to acknowledge dedication to the Historical Society, or any number of purposes.  A photo can also be added to the plaque (please note: the photo will look more like a sketch when it is on the plaque, so a photo with clear edges and contrast works best).

For ordering information, call or email the Museum Manager.  Each Memorial Wall Plaque is $250.  Production time is about 4-6 weeks.



Endowments and Bequests

For information on how you could donate money to the museum's endowment fund or how to donate from your estate, please contact the Executive Director at (541) 276-0012.











Rentals

Heritage Station Museum facilities are available to rent for non-museum events! These spaces make excellent venues for office parties, group luncheons, wedding receptions, and other events. The following areas may be available for rental: the Julie Reese Classroom, Pendleton Foundation Trust Gallery, courtyard, or the entire facility. To check availability and pricing, call the Executive Director.