After the Mission Mill Museum and Marion County Historical Society merged in 2010 to become the Willamette Heritage Center (WHC), the museum’s focus shifted to educating the public about the diverse culture in the Willamette Valley. To better carry out that mission, WHC redesigned and reinterpreted the permanent exhibits in the historic houses on site to broaden the stories the houses tell.
Built in the 1840s, these historic houses predate the Oregon Trail and are among the oldest frame houses in existence in the Pacific Northwest. The Methodist Parsonage was expanded to tell the story of the culture of Kalapuya, the First People of the Valley. And the John Boon House was redesigned to interpret the story of development and growth of major businesses in the Mid-Valley region as told through Boon’s life.
The five-acre museum in downtown Salem, Oregon, is a popular field trip site, and about 100,000 people visit WHC every year to see the historic Woolen Mill and frame houses on site. The Murdock Trust is pleased to support WHC, where people learn about the Oregon Trail, the Boon Family, early industry and agriculture in Oregon, the Kalapuya, early family life in the region and historic preservation.