Most recently known as the Washington County Museum, this vibrant history, art, and culture museum has taken many forms over its 64 year history. From its origins as a small affiliate group of early Euro-American settler descendents, it grew to take shape as the Washington County Historical Society in 1956. The organization was absorbed into Washington County services in 1975. By 1986 it had moved to its location on the Portland Community College Rock Creek campus and grown into the independent non-profit museum it is today. Now the museum greets the new decade with a new name, a new website, and a fresh outlook.
“This change is part of our work to keep pace with the dynamic communities we serve,” say Co-Directors Molly Alloy and Nathanael Andreini. “The identity of Washington County has long been that of innovation, perseverance, and cultural exchange. To protect that legacy is not to stand still, but to find brave pathways forward that demonstrate the museum’s continued dedication to those histories as past, present, and future.”
The communities around the Museum are growing and the cultural landscape is more complex than ever. The Museum needed a name that reflects the complexity of the community onto the national and international stage as well as in the digital realm, yet kept a strong connection to place. The historic Five Oaks site has been a place of gathering, exchange and preservation in this valley for centuries. The site of five prominent oak trees has been a culturally significant gathering place for over 500 years. First maintained in traditional ways by the Kalapuyan peoples, who would return annually in their seasonal round, the site has survived the subsequent eras of trading, settlement, agriculture, industry and suburbanization. It is a place that embodies the kind of layered histories with multicultural relevance that the museum is interested in featuring.
“In becoming Five Oaks Museum in 2020,” say Andreini and Alloy, “we embrace those deep roots as we do our part to move history forward.”
A new look for the museum accompanies the name change. In the new logo, the five is modern and graphic, expressing relevance in cutting edge cultural production. But the colors are grounded and complex, alluding to fertile soil and the camas flower. The three shapes indicate the aspects of the oak tree that they strive to emulate – the resilient, sturdy trunk; the welcoming shelter of the canopy; and the invisible life-giving root system that holds it all up.
The new site, www.fiveoaksmuseum.org, expresses the energy that is carrying the museum forward. Follow them on all updated social media as well:
Facebook: Five Oaks Museum
Linkedin: Five Oaks Museum
Youtube: Five Oaks Museum
Five Oaks Museum: Moving History Forward
For 64 years, Five Oaks Museum, a private nonprofit organization, has worked to preserve the artifacts and narratives that define the Tualatin Valley’s unique place in the world. By collaborating with others to explore how art, culture and history shape the past and influence the future, Five Oaks helps visitors connect to a collective local history made up of community voices and the important stories they tell. The museum is ADA accessible.
Five Oaks Museum is open to the public Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to 4pm and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm.
For admission, memberships, events and more:
call (503) 645.5353