Monday, October 26, 2015

Washington County Museum

We visited the Washington County Museum to see what would be in their new exhibit, "Doctors, Dentists and Death".  It sounded perfect right before Halloween!  It turns out that the exhibit includes mainly intriguing artifacts from early Washington County professionals in the medical, dental and mortuary fields.  It had been quite a while since we visited, and we found the museum itself is becoming more and more jam packed with good stuff!  One of our favorite things is a really good replica covered wagon.  Something I've always wanted to learn about the Oregon Trail is what it would actually feel like to be inside a covered wagon. Well, now I know! The museum has also made quite an effort to educate about the native Kalapuya tribe whose land is now Washington County. The museum is right in the center of downtown Hillsboro, across from the courthouse with its small grove of awe inspiring sequoia trees, and within the blocks which feature lots of cute shops, restaurants, many antique stores and the Let's Play toy store, so you could easily spend hours exploring.  The museum has a free Family Day every month, and Washington County Libraries also offer a Cultural Pass to this museum.
This is from an exhibit called, "The Changing Face of Poverty in Washington County".  Unlike the rest of the museum, it was low on historical artifacts, and more a valiant attempt to create visual references for stories much more easily told in words. The card with this display said, "Car Living.  Homelessness in America is a 'revolving-door' crisis.  Many people exit homelessness quickly, but many more individuals become homeless every day.  On any given day, at least 800,000 people are homeless in the United States, including about 200,000 children in homeless families.  Homelessness can take many forms such as living in your car, bouncing around between friends or relatives, renting temporary living spaces or motels.  People in these situations meet the newly expanded federal definition of homelessness, and can be a part of the 'hidden homeless' population."  
Okay, this is a bit strange. They have a replica "outhouse" in the Poverty exhibit which says it's for photo ops.  The card says something about how many people in Washington County did not quickly get indoor plumbing when it became available.  I'm not sure what that has to do with poverty necessarily, since people were used to outhouses and 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'!
Ghastly souvenirs of Gustav Wachlin, convicted of murder in 1898, including his only known photo, a map of the crime scene drawn by a witness, a black-edged official invitation to his hanging, and a piece of the rope.  
Historical dentist artifacts.
More dentist artifacts.
Victorian mourning apparel.
A body transport casket.  A sign explains that willow baskets were first used during the Civil War when wood was too precious to use for this purpose.
Momento Mori, or souvenirs of lost loved ones.
Physician equipment from the 1950s.
Here it is! The answer to the question, "Mommy, why do we say 'hang up' the phone?".
Souvenirs of WWII. The flag was signed by the men who took it as a war trophy.
Souvenir of WWI.

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