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Columbia Gorge Research Library

Area History & Research

The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum has more than 26,000 documented objects in its collections. Explore photographs, Native American artifacts, and tools and household furnishings of the region. The Center is interested in expanding its collections and welcomes inquiries from potential donors. The collections are open for research by appointment

Historical research at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center touches many areas of interest, including Lewis and Clark archaeology, Native American basketry, local land settlement, Rock Fort, historic Fort Dalles and steamboats on western rivers. The collections are open for research by appointment only. Contact: collections@gorgediscovery.org or 541.296.8600 ext. 242.

You can explore a portion of our collections online.

Click here to view the Native American Basketry archive.

Click here to view the photo collection.

William Dick Research Library

The William Dick Library
The library has over 2,000 volumes on local and regional history. Genealogy files are the strength of the library. The library also houses the Educator Resource Center (ERC) which provides local gorge area educators free access to classroom curricula and materials. The library is open for research by appointment. Email library@gorgediscovery.org for information.

Photo Collection of Native American Fishing

HISTORIC PHOTO ARCHIVE

Explore images of Celilo Falls, the Gorge, and area communities from the mid-1800s through the 20th century. With the generous assistance of Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District, the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum photo archives have nearly ten thousand photos, including the Wasco County Pioneer Association collection. Many of these images are online for viewing by researchers, students, and the general public. If you would like to purchase a digital image of one of the photos in our collection, contact the Collections Manager at collections@gorgediscovery.org or call 541-296-8600 ext. 242. Please have the catalog/accession number handy. Images requiring staff time to research are subject to additional cost.

View the online PHOTO COLLECTION.

Native American Basket Collection

NATIVE AMERICAN BASKETS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

The first people to inhabit North America arrived in the region approximately 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, making this area one of the longest inhabited regions in the western hemisphere. Theirs is a rich culture, evident in the basketry and tools used in daily life. The basketry collection at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum showcases intricate Native American design work unique to the mid-Columbia basin and the Pacific Northwest. Conservation and online access to the basket collection is supported by grants from Oregon Heritage Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust, both of which invest in preserving Oregon’s arts, humanities and heritage. Exhibit 10,000 Years.

View the online Native American Basketry Collection.

Artifacts from the George Lawrence Company

George Lawrence Company Exhibit

This newly-expanded exhibit features the leatherworking machinery and tools of an industry integrally tied to the history of the west. From Irish immigrant roots dating to 1857, the George Lawrence Company of Portland grew to become a famed icon in saddle making. The artistry and skill of 140 years in operation is conveyed in this unique collection, funded by The James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation, the Oregon Cultural Trust, and the Lawrence family.

Columbia Gorge Links

USDA Forest Service / Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Areahttp://www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act of 1986 established the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum as the official (national) interpretive center for the Columbia River Gorge. Historic and current information about the Columbia Gorge; helpful to recreational visitors.

Columbia Gorge Ecology Institutehttp://www.gorgeecology.org
Life-long learning opportunities to foster a sense of wonder and community stewardship of the Columbia River Gorge’s natural systems.

The Historic Columbia River Highway http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/HCRH
Current topics and information about the historic highway, updated regularly by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Lewis and Clark Links

PBS Online: Lewis and Clark http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark
Companion site to the Ken Burns film, ‘Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery.’ Information on the explorers, expedition journals, trip timeline and maps, interviews with historical experts, an overview of Native American tribes, and classroom lessons.

Lewis and Clark http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lewisclark
National Geographic Kids’ expedition gallery, with references.

Lewis and Clark Trail http://www.LewisAndClarkTrail.com
Historical account of the Corps of Discovery along the Lewis and Clark Trail. Includes an events calendar, trail properties, and trail treasures.

Following the Voyage of Discoveryhttp://www.lewisandclark.com/facts/faqs.html
A few historical FAQs, with an expedition map.

The Trail of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discoveryhttp://lewis-clark-trail.us
This unique travel guide locates hundreds of attractions along the trail pioneered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Area Chamber and Visitor Associations

Columbia River Gorge Visitors Associationhttp://www.crgva.org
The CRGVA is a non-profit organization representing various businesses and organizations that provide services and information to visitors throughout the Gorge.

The Dalles Chamber of Commercehttp://www.thedalleschamber.com
Located three miles from the Discovery Center in downtown The Dalles; local business listings, lodging, recreational, and event information.

Hood River County Chamber of Commerce http://hoodriver.org
Located in Hood River, OR; local business listings, lodging, recreational, and event information.

A2ZGorge.Info
http://www.a2zgorge.info
Everything you want to know from A to Z about the towns and area attractions in the Mid-Columbia and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

The Dalles and Wasco County History Links

Wasco County Visitor Informationhttp://co.wasco.or.us/county/visitors_main.cfm
Learn more about places to see and things to do while visiting The Dalles and other communities within Wasco County.

Historic The Dalles Days Oregonhttp://www.historicthedalles.org
Includes local history for The Dalles and surrounding communities, a local calendar of events, and links to museums and area attractions including the Fort Dalles Museum and Anderson Homestead, the Original Wasco County Courthouse, and the Old St. Peter’s landmark.

Other Museums of Interest

Maryhill Museum of Arthttp://www.maryhillmuseum.org
Just 29 miles from the Discovery Center near the eastern entry to the Columbia River Gorge in Maryhill, WA; features sculptures and other works from Rodin, and art and artifacts from around the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon History Museum (Oregon Historical Society Museum)http://www.ohs.org
Located in Portland, OR; preserving and thoughtfully interpreting Oregon’s past.

Yakima Valley Museumhttp://www.yakimavalleymuseum.org
Offers historical displays focusing on the Yakima Valley; its natural history, Native American culture, early pioneer life, and the roots and development of the Valley’s fruit industry.

The Museum at Tamastslikt Cultural Institutehttp://www.tamastslikt.org
Located in Pendleton, OR; dedicated to the cultural history of the indigenous Cayuse, Walla Walla, and Umatilla tribes.

The Museum at Warm Springshttp://www.museumatwarmsprings.org
Conceived and created by The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, OR.

State Visitor Information Links

Columbia River Gorge Travel Information with Road and Weather Conditions

TripCheck ODOT Road Conditions

Oregonhttp://www.traveloregon.com

Washingtonhttp://www.experiencewa.com