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BRIDGE of the GODS Magazine

27 Columbia River Gorge Museums

Mar 15, 2021 07:50PM ● By Bridge Of The Gods

Approaching the Maryhill Museum from the front - cc Glen Bledsoe

The Columbia River Gorge has fascinating natural and cultural histories. It has drawn seekers and visionaries, nurtured creativity and cultures, and motivated many to preserve and share Gorge stories through museum exhibits and collections that you can visit. Daydream a little, then make plans to see them for yourself.

You can get started with a Columbia Gorge Museums pass from Gorge Culture. Visitors can use the pass for discounted one-time entry for up to 4 people at several Columbia Gorge museums. 


Two Rivers Heritage Museum

This well-curated museum chronicles Camas and Washougal history with Chinook Indian arrowheads, hunting tools and baskets, photo collections, writings, displays, and volunteer-docent-told stories illuminate the lives of Camas and Washougal founders. An adjacent carriage house is home to a 19th-century covered wagon and doctor's buggy.

"To be honest, I was just going to breeze in and out, but, WOW! This little museum is a wonderland of historical Camas and Washougal information!"Trip Advisor

1 Durgan Street - PO Box 204
Washougal, WA 98671 
(360) 835-8742


Barn Exhibit Hall

In addition to permanent compilations of vintage farm equipment and historical artifacts, limited-time exhibits focus on aspects of local and regional history to the delight of visitors young and old. 

"I wish that I had started HERE before starting the car ride on historic Route 30! This place was AWESOME..."Trip Advisor

732 E Historic Columbia River Highway
Troutdale, OR 97060
(503) 661-2164

Depot Rail Museum & Caboose

The Depot Rail Museum is a small building, but directly outside the museum is a 1975 Union Pacific CA-10 Caboose. Visitors describe their experiences as "fun" and "great for adults and children."

"...full of history so if you like history and trains then you'll enjoy this stop at ANYTIME." Trip Advisor

473 E. Historic Columbia River Highway
Troutdale, OR 97060
(503) 661-2164

Fred E Harlow House Museum

This turn-of-the-20th-century farmhouse was built by Captain John Harlow's son, whose 1870s rural retreat became Troutdale. The house and its furnishings give visitors a taste of 1900s life in this rural community.

"I first visited this landmark 15 years ago with my Girl Scout troop. I have returned over the years to volunteer and love how well the history has been preserved. Fun place to visit to learn about Troutdale and its origins"Trip Advisor

726 E. Historic Columbia River Highway
Troutdale, OR 97060
(503) 661-2164

Cascade Locks

Cascade Locks Historical Museum & Oregon Pony

The Oregon Pony is the first steam locomotive built on the Pacific coast. It is preserved in a climate-controlled exhibition chamber next to the Cascade Locks Historical Museum.  The museum is in one of three original locktender's houses and contains fascinating artifacts, information, and photographs. Native American history and material about the Cascade Rapids, railroads, fish wheels, sternwheelers, steamboats, and the Cascade Locks are part of the offerings.  

1 NW Portage Road near Port Marina Park
Cascade Locks, OR 97014
(541) 374-8535


Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center

As a Museum dedicated to preserving, conservation, and interpreting the cultural and natural history of Skamania County and the Columbia River Gorge, the Columbia Gorge Interpretive gets rave reviews. It also has the world's largest rosary collection, more than 4,000 rosaries. 

Took our kids to the county fair, then decided to stop in at the museum on the way out of town. What a pleasant and enjoyable place! Staff was very helpful and friendly, giving the children a scavenger hunt page to help them interact with the exhibits. Very well laid out, modern, and informative regarding the history of the area from early Indian times to the present and included a short film presentation in the little theater that showed how the Columbia River influenced the geography and people of the area. Well worth the price of admission."Trip Advisor

990 SW Rock Creek Drive
Stevenson, WA 98648
(800) 991-2338

Hood River/Mt Hood

The History Museum of Hood River County

Charming and quirky, this is a place dedicated to telling the area's diverse stories. Permanent Exhibits include Native American Culture, Pioneer Settlers, Timber and Logging, Agriculture, Recreation, the Hood River Japanese American story, and Luhr Jensen & Sons: Where Legends Were Made.

"This museum is very well-curated and exhibited, with the largest display being about the Columbia River highway (excellent history, video, drawings, and a Model T car!). Another thought-provoking section concerns the local Japanese population and history, with a related display on current immigration issues."Trip Advisor

300 E Port Marina Drive
PO Box 781
Hood River, OR 97031
(541) 386-6772

Hutson Museum

One Trip Advisor reviewer wrote, "Great little history lesson on the quaint town. Interesting old-time displays and fun collections. Takes you back to your childhood."

The Hutson Museum and the Ries-Thompson House, the oldest remaining Parkdale residence, are designated a National Historic Site.

4967 Baseline Drive
PO Box 501
Parkdale OR 97041
(541) 352-6808

Mt Hood Cultural Center & Museum

Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum homes many items related to Mt. Hood, Skiing, and trailblazing the Cascade Mountains.

Yelp contributor Eric B. says, "The Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum is located in an attractive building that was once a Bed and Breakfast. There are 6 galleries, conference room facilities, and a nice little gift shop. The woman at the front desk was also very friendly. Both of us lingered and enjoyed these interior sights before moving down the ruts of the historic Barlow Road." 

88900 Government Camp Loop
Government Camp, OR 97028
503) 272-3301

Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (WAAAM)

The WAAAM Air & Auto Museum has one of the largest collections of still-flying antique aeroplanes and still-driving antique automobiles in the country. The items on display at this museum are not only full of history, they're full of LIFE! Trip Advisor ranks this as the #1 thing to see in Hood River. 

1600 Air Museum Road
Hood River, OR 97031
(541) 386-1600


Gorge Heritage Museum

The Museum exhibits will acquaint you with pioneer clothing, house-hold items, logging and farming tools, medical and surgical equipment. Descendants of pioneer families and collectors have donated historical documents, newspapers, and Native American artifacts and crafts.

202 E Humboldt Street
Bingen, WA 98605
(509) 493-3228


Twin Bridges Museum

Twin Bridges Museum focuses on the Lyle history and that of the surrounding area. The collection contains photographs, newspaper articles, Lyle and Lyle School histories, mementos, and other memorabilia.

403 Klickitat Street
Lyle, Washington 98635
Barbara Sexton (541) 993-5374
Mildred Lykens (509) 365-0060

The Dalles/Wasco County

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum

The 48,200 sq. ft. facility is situated on a 54-acre point of land adjacent to the Columbia River and the Historic Columbia River Highway. The site provides walking trails, a pond, and scenic overlooks. A multimedia, interactive museum inspires appreciation and stewardship of the natural and cultural treasures of the Gorge and Wasco County.  95% of visitors rate their experiences as "excellent," or "very good."  "Amazing museum" "All the exhibits are top-notch."
5000 Discovery Drive
The Dalles, OR 97058
(541) 296-8600

Columbia Gorge Veteran’s Museum

The Columbia Gorge Veterans Museum inspires and educates visitors about the region's extensive military heritage and honors military veterans, past and present, from all branches of the Armed Forces with its memorabilia and displays. Its primary focus is on veterans from Wasco, Sherman, Klickitat, Skamania, and Hood River Counties. The museum is a collaboration between The Dalles Legion Post 19 and the Mid-Columbia Veterans Memorial Committee. 

The Dalles City Hall – 2nd Floor
313 Court Street 

Dufur Historical Society & Living History Museum

"A wonderful place to drift from exhibit to exhibit and think about what it took to carve a town out of the 19th-century wilderness."Trip Advisor 
The Dufur Historical Society operates the Living History Museum and coordinates Vintage Dufur Days, formerly the Threshing Bee, each second full weekend in August. The event recalls Dufur's history, celebrates the harvest, and shows the rewards of working together as a community. 

040 Main Street
PO Box 462
Dufur, OR 97021 
(541) 467-2205

Fire Museum

The Fire Museum, located in City Hall (originally the Fire Department), was curated by the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in cooperation with the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue District in partnership with The City of The Dalles. The Dalles City Hall.

"... when we walked into the door we said, WOW! The Museum is very small, but the old fire equipment they have on display is breathtaking. It was awesome to see how our Fireman in the old days fought fire, with the equipment in this Museum. From the original old fire pole, to the beautiful old fire engines, you will enjoy this quick historical adventure."Trip Advisor

313 Court Street
The Dalles, OR 97058
(541) 296-5481

Fort Dalles Museum and Anderson Homestead

Fort Dalles Museum is housed in the 1856 Surgeon's Quarters, once part of Fort Dalles. Opened as a history museum in 1905 by the Sorosis Club's local chapter, it is one of Oregon's oldest museums. The Anderson Homestead, built by Swedish Settlers in the late 1880s, was moved to its current site next to the museum in the 1970s. You can tour the Swedish Log Cabin, Privy, Granary, and Barn, as well as two buildings containing Antique Horse-Drawn Vehicles and Early Automobiles. 

"What History...  Jaw Dropping!! Only opened a few hours a week, but well worth 'the wait' to see OLD The Dalles! Put it on your list!"Trip Advisor

500 West 15th (at Garrison Street)
The Dalles, OR 97058
(541) 296-4547

Moody/Rorick House/Rorick House Museum

The oldest home in The Dalles was built sometime after 1850 by a non-commissioned officer stationed at Fort Dalles and operates today as a historical museum. Oregon State Congressman Malcolm Moody once owned the house. Eck and Mae Rorick later purchased it. The Moody/Rorick House is operated by Wasco County Historical Society and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

300 West 13th Street
The Dalles, OR 97058
(541) 296-5686

National Neon Sign Museum

"The Best Comprehensive Visual History of Illuminated Signage, period." Trip Advisor

The National Neon Sign Museum is located in the heart of The Dalles downtown historic district. The museum captures the history, craftsmanship, and culture that shaped America, as seen through the signage and advertising industry's lens.

The collection is filled with an expansive range of signage and artifacts related to the sign industry, including many one-of-a-kind signs and displays that are not on public display anywhere else in the world. 

200 East 3rd Street
The Dalles, OR 97058
(541) 370-2242

Old St Peter’s Landmark

St. Peter's Church was built in 1897 and dedicated on March 17, 1898. It served the local Roman Catholic congregation as its place of worship until 1968. In 1971, it was saved from scheduled demolition by a group of concerned citizens who formed Old St. Peter's Landmark, Inc., to maintain the building as a museum and site for weddings, concerts, and other cultural events.

"What a special experience this old church is. I had the place to myself...and had a private tour from the volunteer there. The stained glass windows, the Italian marble, the old organs...oh and the collection of holy water fonts & rosaries from all over the world donated by a couple was something you'll likely only see once in your lifetime. THE best part was when he let me pull the rope to ring the old church bell!" Trip Advisor

405 Lincoln Street (3rd & Lincoln Streets)
PO Box 882
The Dalles, OR 97058
(541) 296-5686

Original Wasco County Courthouse

This unassuming wood-frame, two-story building in The Dalles was once the seat of government for the largest county in the United States. The building is one of the last surviving territorial courthouses and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Films are presented about the history of Wasco County, the Columbia Gorge, and attractions in The Dalles area. Self-guiding walking tours of the downtown area begin at the 1859 building.

"In the early days this little building was the seat of justice all the way to the Rocky Mountains, symbolizing the importance of The Dalles in the settlement of the Pacific Northwest. Don't overlook this gem in a city filled with historical significance."Facebook

410 West Second Place
The Dalles, OR 97058
(541) 296-4798

The Dalles School District Museum

The museum’s collection features items that include yearbooks dating back to 1911, Booster Girls memorabilia from 1924-1974, letterman’s jackets, class rings, trophies, uniforms from sports and music, as well as countless photos.
Volunteers run the museum. Archiving, album making, and trophy refurbishing are made possible by donation.

"My graduating class recently had our 30-year reunion and went for a tour of our old Alma Mater. It was wonderful revisiting the old stomping grounds. The curators of the museum have done a wonderful job collecting and displaying memorabilia for both former school districts"Facebook

3610 W 10th Street
The Dalles, OR 97058
(541) 506-3449 ext 3114

Wonderworks Children’s Museum 

Wonderworks Children’s Museum was established in 1977. It brings families and young children together through activities and play spaces that cultivate, challenge, and uphold their creative and intellectual potential. Here, families find stimulating, engaging activities and can meet and connect with other people with young children.

"A great place to let a 2 1/2-year-old run off excess energy after a 3-hour road trip. Lots of hands-on activities and learning stations. The staff is very friendly and helpful."Trip Advisor

206 Madison Street
PO Box 355
The Dalles, OR 97058
Phone: (541) 980-5922


Maryhill Museum of Art

Maryhill Museum of Art is one of the Northwest's most compelling cultural attractions. The landmark building is open to the public from March 15 through November 15 each year. Maryhill's collections include a gallery of works by Rodin, American, European, Native American works of art, and a range of temporary exhibitions, programs, and activities annually. The immediate grounds surrounding the museum offer stunning vistas, formal and informal gardens, and overlooks. The museum is situated on a bluff with stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge.

"A Surprise Treasure - Even if it’s out of your way. GO THERE. It’s worth it. Famous artist displays and exhibits such as French sculpture Auguste Rodin. One of best collections of Native American items I’ve seen." Trip Advisor

35 Maryhill Museum Drive
Goldendale, WA 98620

Presby Museum and Klickitat County Historical Society

Delve into Goldendale and Klickitat County pioneer history. The Presby Museum was dedicated in 1962, with Supreme Court Justice Wm. O. Douglas delivering the keynote address. Two additional buildings have been built to display collections.  The "Annex" houses the actual Goldendale Sentinel print shop dating from 187, collections from early Goldendale businesses, and the Goldendale Railway Station.  In 2002 the Carriage/School House was built to present farm equipment and a one-room schoolhouse reproduction.

A gem of a retro museum crammed full of recent western American history. Great family stories. Respectful tributes to people who have supported their community over the years." - Trip Advisor

411 N Grant Avenue
Goldendale, WA 98620
(509) 773-4303

Wasco/Sherman County

Sherman County Historical Society & Museum

The Sherman County Historical Museum is a national award-winning museum located in Moro, Oregon. Dedicated to preserving the History of Sherman County. The Museum comprises 16,000 square feet and over 15,000 artifacts used in Native American families, Oregon Trail migration, rural households, churches, schools, businesses, livestock production, dry-land wheat farming and conservation, military units, and patriotic efforts. 

"The museum was a wonderful experience stepping us through time and showing us how the community was formed and has thrived from the time the pioneers settled it. There is a small tribute to the native peoples of the area as well. The collections include all sorts of antiques that have been collected from members of the community and have been very nicely displayed in the 3 rooms of the museum." - Trekaroo

200 Dewey Street
PO Box 173
Moro, OR 97039

Wasco Railroad and City Museum

Wasco Railroad Depot & Museum houses the Wasco Railroad and City History Center.  It promotes research and public education through its Museum collection. Visitors to the Museum can see Museum exhibits, attend events at the Museum, and access Museum educational programs.

1020 Clark Street
Wasco, OR 97065
(541) 442-5079