New museum design (copy)

The Benton County Historical Society hopes to open its new museum in downtown Corvallis by late 2018 or early 2019.

Brooklyn Digital Foundry

You have an extraordinary opportunity to participate in the building of a landmark.

This landmark will tell the story of Benton County’s past, examine its present, and serve future generations. This landmark will anchor downtown Corvallis. It will serve lifelong learners, enhancing their lives and their sense of place. It will provide historical context to guide our citizens and leaders as they make decisions important to our community. It will engage youngsters with artifacts and exhibits that spark curiosity, creativity, and interest in future occupations. It will attract out-of-town visitors, enriching them and our economy.

This landmark is the new Corvallis museum, and construction is beginning.

Approximately $8.9 million to fund construction has been raised from major donors and foundations. We need another $700,000. We could continue to raise money quietly from major sources, but we believe it is important for the community at large to have the opportunity to invest in the museum. We want you to feel that this museum is your museum, to take pride in its presence in our community, and to have the satisfaction of knowing that you contributed to making it a reality.

Our community campaign to raise the last funds needed for construction was launched with yard signs around the county that feature Bruce the Moose. Bruce the Moose is the mascot of the campaign because he needs a home. Bruce was a beloved presence in the Horner Collection, a museum in the basement of Gill Coliseum, until it closed in 1995. Since then, Bruce and thousands of other artifacts from the Horner Collection, now in the care of the Benton County Historical Society, have been in storage due to space limitations at the Philomath museum. And, since 1995, Corvallis has been the only city of its size in Oregon without a museum.

We have the collection; we need the building. We have the community; we welcome your support. No contribution is too small; every donation matters.

Need ideas? Encourage youngsters to pledge part of their allowance to the museum or ask for donations to the museum rather than holiday gifts. Parents and grandparents can offer to match the funds. Neighborhoods or other groups can raise funds for the museum in ways that will also bring them together. Yard sale or car wash, anyone? There are many meaningful ways you can contribute.

Imagine walking into the newly opened Corvallis museum knowing that you, your family, your neighborhood, or your group of friends helped to build a landmark that has the power to enrich so many lives now and into the future. You can have that pride-of-ownership feeling by contributing to the Corvallis Museum Community Campaign. Your donation will help to build a landmark and our community.

We would love to know the creative, community-spirited ways you participate in our campaign. Post your activity to Instagram #bentoncountymuseum.

And, you can go to www.bentoncountymuseum.org to see the architectural plans for the Corvallis museum and to donate. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to help build a landmark!

Kathryn Collins is a member of the Benton County Historical Society's Corvallis Museum Community Campaign Committee. She also writes on behalf of Doug Collins, Jay Conroy, Rod Harvey, Susan Klinkhammer, Mark Rampton, and Ann Smart.

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