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Friends of Horner Museum Records, 1989-1999

By Finding aid prepared by Tiah Edmunson-Morton.

Collection Overview

Title: Friends of Horner Museum Records, 1989-1999

Predominant Dates: 1995-1999

ID: MSS FriendsofHorner

Primary Creator: Friends of Horner Museum

Extent: 1.0 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Horner Museum closed to the public in 1995 due to statewide budget cuts. The Friends of Horner Museum was organized to locate both a new facility for the collections and new resources for funding maintenance of the museum. This collection consists of records generated by the Friends of Horner Museum, including correspondence, financial and administrative records, and newspaper clippings.

Scope and Content Notes

This collection consists of records generated by the Friends of Horner Museum. It includes records pertaining to the organization's dissolution in 1999. Specifically, it is comprised of notes and memos from the Board of Directors meetings, notebooks for the Citizens for the Horner Museum Board, association by-laws, brochures and other publicity materials, membership and mailing lists, correspondence, a director's notebook, tax records, financial statements, pictures, information about other Benton County and museum resources, survey materials, a historical timeline, and newspaper clippings from 1992-1997 that document the uncertainty and debate surrounding the closing of the museum. Of particular note are the documents that define and chart the establishment of the group and the original articles of incorporation for the Friends of Horner Museum. There are also draft copes of a detailed report that includes information about the value of the museum, development plan, financial resources, budget, collection assets, educational programs and services, Horner Museum history, a brief biography of John Horner, and appendices.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Established by Oregon Agriculture College and Professor John Horner in 1925, the Museum of the Oregon Country was a place where people could "see the world" without leaving Corvallis, Oregon. The museum housed an eclectic mix of artifacts, photographs, oral histories, and other archival materials. It was renamed the John B. Horner Museum of the Oregon Country in 1936, three years after he died, and became commonly known as the Horner Museum.

The museum was located in various locations on the Oregon State University grounds, until it moved to its final campus location in Gill Coliseum in 1951. In 1995, the 60,000-artifact museum officially closed to the public due to the statewide budget cutbacks resulting from the passage of Oregon Ballot Measure 5 (1990). Ten years later, in 2005, a final agreement for transfer of physical custody was signed between OSU and the Benton County Historical Society. The society transferred the collections to their facility in Philomath, OR, and plans to create a museum in downtown Corvallis to showcase some Horner artifacts.

In 1996, a year after the Horner museum was officially closed to the public, the Friends of Horner Museum was organized as a non-profit corporation. Guided by officers, including Pete Smith and Robert Lowry, the group sought to establish or find a new facility for the Horner Museum collections as well as to locate new resources of funding (other than state government) for the maintenance of the museum. The group disbanded in 1999.

Pete Smith, who served in an official capacity for the Friends of Horner Museum organization, assisted fellow OSU alumnus Kenneth Munford in the organization of tours for the Horner Museum. In addition to giving the tours, he researched accomodations and sites for overnight trips. These tours started in 1982 by Horner Museum Director Lucy Skjelstad and Munford.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 22 photographs; 1 box

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Related Materials: The OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center holdings include many collections that pertain to the Horner Museum, including the John B. Horner Papers (MSS Horner), Horner Museum Records (RG 199), Academic Affairs Records (RG 022), and the Pete Smith Papers (MSS SmithP).

Preferred Citation: Friends of Horner Museum Records (MSS FriendsofHorner), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Friends of Horner Museum
Lowry, Robert R. (Robert Ronald) (1932-)
Smith, Pete (1918-)

People, Places, and Topics

Corvallis (Or.)
Friends of Horner Museum
Horner, John B., 1856-1933
Horner Museum
Local History
University History

Forms of Material

Photographic prints.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.