There is a place in the Willamette Valley where historical artifacts come alive in a gallery-like setting.
You’ll be forgiven if you mistake the brand-new Benton County Historical Museum in Corvallis for a modern art gallery.
This is where local history meets modern architecture, and the mix is inspiring. 140,000 artifacts laid out in permanent and rotating exhibits. Artwork, photos, displays and exhibits are spread out here, which makes them easier to study and learn about.
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And the way information is conveyed to visitors is different here, too. One exhibit might, at first glance, be a bit of a head scratcher. Hats and chairs.
Something else that may seem out of place is Bruce the Moose. Oregon State University students of a certain era might remember Bruce the Moose in the old Horner Museum in the basement of Gill Coliseum.
John Horner was a professor at OSU who gave his personal collection to the college. The historical museum incorporated the Horner Museum artifacts, and Bruce was part of the package.
But he wasn’t the only animal that came with the deal. What would a museum in Corvallis be without a Beaver?
Many of the Horner Museum artifacts have their own prominent place in the Benton County Room. One eye-catching display honors Corvallis wildlife photographer William Finley, who employed a unique approach to his craft.
You don’t necessarily need to be a Benton County resident to get something from your visit to the museum.