Portland State University. Department of History
Term of Graduation
Date of Publication
Master of Arts (M.A.) in History
1 online resource (vi, 137 pages)
This thesis discusses current preservation and public history in the field of historic house museums in Oregon, looking at two case studies that are undergoing processes of reinterpretation. The first chapter provides a brief history of heritage preservation in the United States, describes the spectrum of historic homes, and presents a key framework of four factors that need to be addressed when evaluating sites today. Current methodology refers to reinterpretation of sites to be more diverse, working with collections, doing research and restaging, along with innovating new programs. Public access and engagement pertain to finding a unique niche in the community that fosters participation and support and creating an inviting educational space. Board capacity and funding are also keys to responsible legal and financial stewardship. Under a 2018 grant, staff at Stevens-Crawford Heritage House in Oregon City cleaned out collections and restaged the property and are now working on creating new digital assets and public programming. Since 2019, a similar project has been in process at the Hollinshead-Matson Historic House and Tack Shed in Bend, Oregon. Both sites have become models for reinterpretation of other museums in this state. While work is ongoing, their success inspires other organizations to push for reinterpretation, updates to policy and practice, and creation of new collaborative partnerships. Most importantly, historic house museums are inviting volunteers, interns, and stakeholders to participate at every step of the way.
© 2021 Liza Julene Schade
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Schade, Liza Julene, "Finding a Community Niche: Rethinking Historic House Museums in Oregon" (2021). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5809.