I've always loved a good museum. Even back when I was a child, making my way through a museum was always a highlight on a family trip. My dream vacation for many years was to go to Washington, D.C., to check out all of the Smithsonian museums and I was able to go about a dozen or so years ago.
We have a pretty good one right here in Philomath with the Benton County Museum. They change out the exhibitions on a regular basis and host occasional community events. While I was there this afternoon doing interviews with the curator and a research volunteer, I had the thought that I'm glad the Benton County Historical Society will continue to use this grand Philomath College building even after its new museum opens in Corvallis (anticipated to open next year).
To me, the best parts of a museum are those authentic, firsthand accounts that give you a special sort of insight on a particular subject. This can be found in our local museum's “Circa 1920: Roaring into the Modern Age” exhibition with an excerpt from a woman's diary. She wrote about a trip from Corvallis to Newport during the summer of 1917. It took 8-1/2 hours and included stops for three flat tires, the first at Wren, lunch "way beyond Blodgett" and for the engine to cool at Toledo.
Whenever I'm in the museum, I always have to peruse the table of books that are available for purchase. Most of these involve those firsthand accounts on a variety of subjects at different points in history.
The museum in Philomath also features modern-day exhibits. For example, the 36th annual Art the 4th "R" event that showcases recent artwork by Philomath students will be going up in April.
Get in there if you haven't tried out the museum. It's free and the feel of such an important building in Philomath's adds to the experience.