Washington County Museum
|Washington County Museum|
|Location||Hillsboro, Oregon, United States|
|Owner||Washington County Historical Society|
|Public transit access||Hillsboro Central MAX station|
Washington County Museum is a history museum located in downtown Hillsboro, Oregon, United States. Opened in 1975, the museum is operated by the Washington County Historical Society with a mission of preserving the history of the area. The museum moved the main exhibit space to downtown Hillsboro at the Civic Center in 2012. The prior museum space remains as a research library at Portland Community College's Rock Creek Campus and as home to the original Washington County Jail built in 1853.
In the 1930s, local historian Albert E. Tozier donated his collection of artifacts, books, maps, and other items to the county historical society. Beginning in 1939, the artifacts were displayed at Hillsboro's Carnegie Library. In 1956, the Washington County Historical Society was incorporated.
In 1962, the society looked at using Shute Park as a possible home for their museum, which was not built at that time or at that location. However, the society temporarily moved their collections to the park's pavilion that year. Then in 1975 the county decided to start a formal history museum. From 1975 to 1987, Washington County owned and operated the museum. During that time the museum was in downtown Hillsboro, Oregon, at the Heidel Home.
In 1982 a new museum was built at the Portland Community College campus at Rock Creek, and it opened in January 1983. Then in September 1987 the Washington County Historical Society took over operations at the museum. In 2007, the museum began a $1.7 million expansion of the facility to more than double the size of the museum. The museums annual fundraiser featured Oregon State Beavers basketball coach Craig Robinson as the master of ceremonies in 2009 and raised around $90,000 for the museum.
The museum announced plans to move into a space at the Hillsboro Civic Center in a return to downtown Hillsboro, originally set for January 2013. The new space would cover 12,400 square feet (1,150 m2) on the second floor in the commercial portion of the center. After signing a fifteen-year lease, the museum was set to complete $1.5 million in improvements to both the new space, as well as the former location at PCC. The former museum building at PCC is to be converted to a public library and historical research facility. The new downtown location plans to have increased hours to attract more visitors.
After securing a traveling NASA exhibit of the Hubble Space Telescope, the museum opened the new exhibit space early in November 2012.  Renovations of the former exhibit space at Rock Creek and additional improvements at the Civic Center were planned to be completed at a later time. The exhibit Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe was planned to run through the end of May 2013. An exhibit exploring the history of the Bracero Program in the county also opened at that time.
The museum received 5,000 visitors annually at the old 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) facility. The renovated building now attracts nearly 1,700 as of 2008, and has a membership of 314 as of October 2009. Washington County Museum houses approximately 40,000 artifacts and receives another 500 pieces each year. The museum operates a small store in the lobby selling books about local history. There is also a research library with over 25,000 images, more than 1,400 maps, and over 500 books along with other historical records and newspapers.
Collections, exhibits, programs 
One exhibit at the museum is the original Washington County Jail built in 1853. This structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places from 1986 until 2008. Previously located at the county fairgrounds, the structure was rehabilitated and moved to the museum in 2004. The 10-foot (3.0 m) by 16-foot (4.9 m) jailhouse is was originally located inside the museum, but was moved outside when the museum was expanded in 2007.
Other artifacts in the collections range from everyday items such as sewing machines, to a wedding dress of a local prominent family. The museum's other exhibits include This Kalapuya Land that focuses on the Native Americans of the area, Washington County in a Nutshell that features artifacts from throughout the county's history, and a changing exhibit along with visiting collections. Visiting exhibits have included Oregon is Indian Country from the Oregon Historical Society, among others. Also, the museum partners with Print Arts Northwest to convert the lobby into an art gallery each month.
Formerly, the museum hosted an annual plowing event named the Draft Horse Plowing Exhibition to demonstrate farming before mechanized agriculture. However, the event has moved to Champoeg State Park. Washington County Museum also educates the local community on the history of the county including use of a mobile museum.
- Ho, Sally (June 20, 2012). "Washington County Museum's expansion includes Hillsboro move, public library". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Luna, Taryn (October 14, 2009). "Washington County Museum remakes itself to attract more members, visitors". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- Local Historical Organizations. Lewis & Clark College. Retrieved on March 31, 2007.
- Get Out Guide. OregonLive.com. Retrieved on March 31, 2007.
- Buan, Carolyn M. This Far-Off Sunset Land: A Pictorial History of Washington County, Oregon. Donning Company Publishers, 1999. p. 15.
- "Washington County Groups See Another Museum Vote". The Oregonian. June 21, 1962. p. 11.
- Our History. Washington County Museum. Retrieved on February 29, 2008.
- "Zone, Museum Issues on Washington Ballot". The Oregonian. January 18, 1962. p. 21.
- Washington County Museum may charge admission. The Oregonian, August 6, 1990.
- Gorman, Kathleen. A bigger commitment to history. The Oregonian, September 28, 2007.
- Tierney, Dana (November 12, 2009). "Organizers say Washington County Museum gala was a success". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
- Gaston, Christian (September 7, 2012). "Museum moves to Hillsboro center". Hillsboro Tribune. p. A1.
- Redden, Jim (October 19, 2012). "Reaching for the stars". Hillsboro Tribune. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- Castillo, Andrea (November 16, 2012). "Washington County Museum retrieves memory of Bracero farm laborers". The Oregonian. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- A call to step up, help county history stay alive A call to step up, help county history stay alive. The Oregonian, June 15, 2006.
- Store. Washington County Museum. Retrieved on February 29, 2008.
- "Research Library". Washington County Museum. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- "The years have changed 'Doing Time'", The Oregonian, September 9, 2004.
- "Oregon National Register List" (PDF). Oregon Parks & Recreation Dept.: Heritage Programs: National Register. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
- "January 2, 2009". National Register of Historic Places Listings. National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- "Exhibits". Washington County Museum. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- Collections. Washington County Museum. Retrieved on February 29, 2008.
- Gregory, Roger (November 17, 2009). "Thursday reception to celebrate local museum's latest exhibits". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- Draft Horse Plowing Exhibition, The Oregonian, May 19, 2006.
- Draft horses find greener, softer pastures for plowing exhibition. News-Times. Retrieved on March 31, 2007.
- Education. Washington County Museum. Retrieved on February 29, 2008.
- Media related to Washington County Museum at Wikimedia Commons
- Museum event to showcase 'Heart of Washington County' - The Hillsboro Argus
- Discover America listing