High Desert Museum The Smithsonian Coming to Bend

Photo Camp Abbot, 1942. Soldier climbing the wall. Courtesy of Des Chutes Historical Museum.

The High Desert Museum is a new Smithsonian Affiliate, a program established in 1996 to create long-term partnerships between the Smithsonian and museums, education and cultural organizations across America to inspire lifelong learning.

“We are excited and extremely honored to join this collaborative partnership,” said the Museum’s Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph. D. “Having access to Smithsonian exhibitions and artifacts, as well as special distance-learning programs, book tours and lectures, offers us incredible opportunities to share these with our High Desert community, and to reflect on the issue of curating, researching and exhibiting our nation’s growing collections to preserve our heritage.”
There are over 200 Smithsonian Affiliates in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Panama. “Smithsonian Affiliates represent the diversity of America’s museum community,” says Harold A. Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations. “As a representative of the rich history of the exploration and conservation of our natural world, the High Desert Museum is a valuable partner in the Smithsonian’s mission to serve the public through educational outreach, artifact loans, traveling exhibitions and collaborative research. We are proud to welcome the museum to our family.”

More than 8,000 Smithsonian artifacts have been displayed at Smithsonian Affiliates over the past 20 years. These loans reflect the entire Smithsonian collection: space capsules and aircraft from the National Air and Space Museum, Abraham Lincoln’s hat and Kermit the Frog from the National Museum of American History, sculptures and paintings from the Smithsonian art museums and ethnographic and mineral collections from the National Museum of Natural History, to name a few. The High Desert Museum looks forward to including loans from the Smithsonian in future exhibitions or programs.

The exhibition WWII: The High Desert Home Front commemorates the 75th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War II. From training camps to internment centers and practice battlefields to victory farms, the High Desert played a central role in the war effort. The exhibition will feature photographs, immersive scenes, artifacts – including a vintage 1942 Harley-Davidson Liberator – and stories of local veterans who served in WWII collected by Central Oregon chapters of the Band of Brothers.

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