Collections from Oregon National Parks

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, this exhibit showcases one object from every national park museum collection in Oregon. We invite you to explore museum collections from Crater Lake National Park, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

Renowned for its deep blue color, clarity, and depth, Crater Lake has been the subject of scientific study for over 120 years. Scientific exploration began in 1886 with the laborious launching of the Cleetwood, equipped with this homemade depth-measuring apparatus. After over 100 depth measurements were completed in July and August 1886, the device was removed from the boat and left to the elements on Wizard Island.

Discovered mostly intact 45 years later and confirmed as the original, the “sounding apparatus” has been an important part of the museum collection since 1931. This device, along with the stern portion (transom) of the Cleetwood, are exhibited at the Sinnott Memorial in Crater Lake National Park.

Crater Lake continues in its roles as a living classroom and research laboratory – where geology, limnology, and climatology continue to make significant contributions to the worldwide knowledge base.

Crater Lake National Park, CRLA

This slide is one of a series of slides from the Princeton expedition to the John Day Valley in 1889. In the foreground is Professor William Berryman Scott bent over next to a supply wagon; in the background are exposures of the John Day Formation in an area referred to as The Cove. These slides were donated to the monument by Princeton University in 1985.

Paleontological exploration of the John Day Basin began in the 1860s. Othniel C. Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope published studies describing many exciting new species in the 1870s and 1880s. Tantalized by the potential for discovery, Professor William Berryman Scott of Princeton University led an expedition to the John Day Valley in 1889. Scott and his team were led by Leander Davis, a famous local expert that had earlier worked with Condon, Marsh, and Sternberg. The expedition had great success, amassing one and a half tons of fossil material which was brought back to New Jersey. Unfortunately, those fossils were stored in the cellar of Nassau Hall, during a refitting of the heating system workmen stole or destroyed nearly the entire collection. Professor Scott was devastated by the loss, which “would not be possible to duplicate in our time.”

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, JODA 1132

This passbook belonged to a vendor at the Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair held in 1905 in Portland, Oregon. It displays the fair’s official seal depicting Lewis and Clark and “Lady” or “Miss Columbia.” With the motto “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way,” the fair marked the passage of 100 years since to arrival of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery on the Pacific Coast, but was mainly a commercial venture. In the style of a World’s Fair, exhibitions from 21 countries, 16 US states, as well as other groups, extolled cultural, technological, and natural resource achievements. For more than four and a half months, more than 1.6 million visitors enjoyed these attractions as well as amusement parks, concerts, and motion picture shows. The centennial year of 1905 also saw the first, and unsuccessful, attempt to seek a Congressional appropriation to purchase the site of the Corps of Discovery’s Fort Clatsop and establish a commemorative monument.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, LEWI 8846

Credits: Story

Park museum staff from: Crater Lake National Park, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

National Park Service, Museum Management Program Staff: Amber Dumler, Stephen Damm, Ron Wilson, and Joan Bacharach

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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