Galleries and Museums
Image by M.O. Stevens under Creative Commons License.

Oregon, Portland Guide (A): Galleries and Museums

With just a few large galleries, the city has an abundance of small, independent art galleries, museums and historical societies. With sites spread throughout downtown, Old Town, and the Pearl District, this tour covers both diverse areas and topics, and includes the 3-D Center of Art and Photography, the Oregon Jewish Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Oregon Historical society, among others.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Galleries and Museums
Guide Location: USA » Portland
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 5.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Oregon Jewish Museum   Portland Institute for Contemporary Art   Museum of Contemporary Craft   Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center   Oregon Historical Society   Portland Art Museum  
Author: Jim Reynoldson
Author Bio: Jim Reynoldson is an avid traveler and writer who grew up on Oregon. He enjoys hiking, camping and sightseeing throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
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Oregon Jewish Museum

1) Oregon Jewish Museum

The Oregon Jewish Museum opened its doors in its modern format in 2001 and is currently the only Jewish Museum in the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon Jewish Historical Society began in 1974, and the Rabbi Joshua Stampfer began the vision of a Jewish museum in 1989, with the purpose of preserving the cultural heritage of Jewish immigrants to the region. Some of the museum’s focus activities include the Oral History Project (which seeks to collect interviews and tape transcriptions), the Museum in a Suitcase Project (designed to promote education about Jewish history at local elementary schools), and the Jewish Cemetery Project (connecting oral accounts of living Jews to increase archival information about those who have passed).
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Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

2) Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art was established in 1995 by Kristy Edmunds and focuses on the role of newer technologies in art. One of the institute’s primary projects is the TBA – or Time Based Art – festival. Started in 2002, this annual festival brings artists both nationally and internationally each Fall to display works of performance art, music, dance, visual art, and technological media. In addition to ongoing exhibits in visual and performance art, PICA offers a public resource center for aspiring artists to view art media and materials, and a number of media and art items are available for purchase.
Image by Mr. Granger under Creative Commons License.
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Museum of Contemporary Craft

3) Museum of Contemporary Craft

The Museum of Contemporary Craft is a gallery focusing on design and composition of the craftsman’s physical interaction with objects. The two-level gallery has about 4500 square feet of exhibition space and hosts a permanent collection of over 1000 works in a number of material, including wood, metal, glass, and ceramics. Originally founded in 1937 as the Oregon Ceramic Studio by a group of craftswomen, and built with materials donated by the depression-era Works Project Administration, the present incarnation opened in 2007. Guided tours of the museum are offered, as well as lectures, videos, and hands-on classes. Many of the crafts found at the museum are available for purchase, as well.
Image by Sali Sasaki under Creative Commons License.
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Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center

4) Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center

The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center is a Japanese American History Museum in the city’s Old Town area. Planning for the center began in 1995, but the current museum space opened in 2004. The center focuses on the experience of Japanese immigrants to the U.S., including the forced internment of over 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. The museum hosts a permanent exhibit, with an array of historic photographs, manuscripts, and artifacts – as well as changing exhibits and an onsite research library. In addition the center participates in dedication ceremonies, art and literature events, and lectures promoting the preservation of Japanese-American history.
Image by Herb Neufeld under Creative Commons License.
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Oregon Historical Society

5) Oregon Historical Society

Founded in 1898, the Oregon Historical Society embodies the essence of the region’s diverse history. With a focus on pioneer and Native American histories, a collection of over 85,000 artifacts, and innovative traveling exhibits on an array of topics, the Oregon Historical Society is a must-see for history buffs. The onsite Mary Mark Museum Store sells an assortment of artwork and books on topics of local history, and the onsite research library contains over 32,000 books, more than 2.5 million photographs, and thousands of maps and manuscripts. The organization also facilitates the Oregon History Project, and online database promoting research and education about Oregon’s pioneers.
Image by Cord Rodefeld under Creative Commons License.
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Portland Art Museum

6) Portland Art Museum

Located in the Park Blocks area near Portland State University, the Portland Art Museum occupies 112,000 square feet and houses over 42,000 pieces. The permanent exhibits include American, Asian, Native American, and Northwest art, in addition to photography, silver, and modern art exhibits. Rotating traveling exhibits in a broad array of genres and the adjacent Northwest Film Center create possibilities for a unique experience with each visit. The museum also includes the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art and the Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts. Founded in 1892, the museum is among the oldest art museums in the United States. To end this tour, simple walk two blocks to the east, where nearly every Tri-Met bus route entering or leaving downtown stops on 6th Avenue.
Image by Cord Rodefeld under Creative Commons License.