The Museum at Warm Springs — Celebrating the 30th Anniversary All Year

(Warm Springs Dancer | Photo courtesy of The Museum at Warm Springs)

The Museum at Warm Springs is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The Museum has an illustrious history of advancing and sharing the traditions and the cultural and artistic heritage of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and other American Indigenous peoples.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council supported the efforts to build a museum to house the Tribes’ unique artifacts and history. The Museum Project, Resolution No. 4084, was passed in 1974 adopting the first Charter and establishing the first Board of the, then, Middle Oregon Indian Historical Society. The Charter has been amended several times, subsequently changing the name of the Middle Oregon Indian Historical Society to “The Museum At Warm Springs.”

The Museum’s first executive director was hired in 1987. A Tribal referendum in October 1988 voted in favor of appropriating $2.5 million for Museum construction. Later, another $726,493 was added making $3,226,493 — the largest sum ever committed by a Native tribe for a museum at that time. The Museum At Warm Springs was the first tribal museum in the state of Oregon.

Museum construction began on May 7, 1991, by SM Andersen Construction Company, Inc., Portland. The building designer was Stastny & Burke Architecture, Inc., Portland. The exhibits were designed by Formations, Inc., Portland. The Museum’s grand opening was celebrated March 13, 1993, opening to the public on March 14.

The first event celebrating the 30th anniversary was a “clean-up” of the grounds on March 18. Over 100 Museum members, members of the Museum’s Board of Directors, and friends attended the event. Warm Springs filmmakers LaRonn Katchia and Brutis Baez documented the day.

On April 6, An Eye for the Rez: Edward Heath Photography opened. It will be on view through May 27. Classes for youth are planned while the exhibit is on view. Support for the exhibition is provided by a grant from The Ford Family Foundation.

A 30-Year Museum Retrospective exhibition is planned for the summer (dates TBA). It will include designs and artwork of Donald J. Stastny, representing the architects of record, Stastny & Burke Architecture of Portland. A public program on Wednesday, July 26 featuring Stastny will revisit the origins and progress of the design process that created The Museum. He will sign copies of his book, PORTALS: Seeking Transcendence. (Time TBA.)

The annual Seeds of Discovery program, a one-day science field-day for fourth grade students will be held (date TBA). A roster of traditional arts classes taught by Warm Springs Tribal members is planned for the summer months (schedule TBA).

Additional anniversary events will include: The annual Museum Gala/Fundraiser (tentatively scheduled to take place in Bend and a fall reception in Portland (dates TBA). The 30th Annual Warm Springs Tribal Member and Youth Art Exhibition will open in the later fall (dates TBA).

This year, the Museum is beginning a renewal of its aging infrastructure, updating its popular Permanent Exhibit that tells the story of the Warm Springs people, celebrating its many accomplishments over the years, and mapping its vision for the next 30 years and beyond.

Regular Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9am to noon and 1-5pm. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission: Museum Members (free), adults ($7), senior citizens over 60 ($6), students 13-18 with student body card ($4.50), children 5-12 ($3.50) and children 4 and younger (free). The Museum is located at 2189 Highway 26 in Warm Springs.


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