Heritage Station Museum encourages you to experience the richness of the region’s fascinating history. Because there are so many facets to local heritage, the Umatilla County Historical Society chooses to pursue a "changing" exhibits philosophy in order to fully tell the story. There is always something new to see.
Pendleton’s 1909 train depot houses the exhibit galleries of Heritage Station Museum. Renovated as part of the facility expansion (completed in 2003), the building with its high, coved ceilings and interesting architectural details provides a portal into the past. Explore the galleries, brimming with exhibits that showcase the region’s unique mix of tradition and ingenuity.
On the grounds you’ll be able to ride the rails in the caboose, attend class in a 1879 one-room schoolhouse, view a 1938 fire engine, and walk through an 1879 homestead.
Modern Times in Umatilla County, 1910s - 1920s
Immerse yourself in the entertainment, music & major themes of the period; learn about Hollywood’s early presence in Eastern Oregon -- films, stars, locales, and theaters; watch movies of the era; pass beneath the shadow of WWI through a remarkable collection of conflict memorabilia; experience the impact & history of Prohibition and much more.
Rails through Umatilla County
Expanded diorama of the county’s diverse terrain with a continuously running model train.
Celebrating the Individual Collector
Series of rotating exhibits from private collections throughout Umatilla County.
Pendleton Woolen Mills Part of the continuing exhibit features information about the Pendleton Woolen Mills. In 1909, the Bishop Family started this famous clothing line made of fine wool and woven into blankets, coats, dresses and other fine products.
When Union Pacific Railroad decommissioned some of its cabooses, The Umatilla County Historical Society added one to its collection and sited it on the museum grounds. It is open so visitors can experience what it was like to ride the rails in the last car on the train.
The caboose played several important roles for the railroad: it served as the office where the business of the train was conducted, home to crew members as they traveled, and it was an observation post from which the crew could watch for problems with the train and tracks.
Fix Cabin & Homestead
A windmill, typical of those that dotted the local landscape, whirrs in the breeze. This windmill has a unique history: it was used to replenish water tanks on steam engines pulling trains through the Blue Mountains. Suspended beneath the blades is a wooden reservoir that held the water for the next train.
Byrd School House
Located on the east end of the museum, the Byrd School House was built in 1879, seven miles south of Pilot Rock on land donated by Maria Byrd. In the very early days, Byrd School was a tuition school usually operating for three months, or as long as a family could afford the expense.
Students rode horses to school or walked. When there was deep snow, their fathers often hitched up the horses to a wagon with sleigh runners and took the children to school.
In 1940, it was felt that busing the students to Pilot Rock was more economical than keeping the school open. For many years the building was used to store grain.
The building was moved onto the museum grounds by volunteers in 1990. Today, it has been restored to look much like it would have been 100 years ago. As you visit the school, visualize how eight grades were taught in a one-room schoolhouse!
To qualify for recognition as an Oregon Century Farm or Ranch, the operation must have continued in the same family for 100 years or more. Umatilla County’s roll of Century Farms and Ranches grows each year.
A special exhibit honors these farm families, telling a little bit of each farm’s unique story—how it was founded, its products, and how it survived through trials and tribulations, both man-made and natural.
The celebration of Umatilla County's Century Farm families' achievement continues with an annual program featuring each of the newly-recognized farms and with a Century Farm Tour, a bus tour that not only takes participants to visit the farms, but raises awareness of the agriculture industry.
Extend your visit to Heritage Station Museum with selections from the Museum Store. Merchandise is chosen to expand on information presented through the exhibits and programming.
The Museum Store offers books, jewelry, regionally-made products, children's books and toys, CDs, videos, and many other items that make thoughtful and appreciated gifts.
Beautiful photographs of the Heritage Station complex and scenic views around Umatilla County have been captured by photographer Bill Peal and produced as notecards. One-of-a-kind pieces of beaded jewelry made by local artists will bring rave reviews and the question "Where did you find that?" Heritage Station's "branded" items include shirts, hats, quills with ink, and blue camp mugs. You can even find wooden representations of Pendleton's train depot, Heritage Station Museum, and the Byrd Schoolhouse, all produced in conjunction with Cat's Meow.
Several unique books published or co-published by the Umatilla County Historical Society can be purchased in the Store. Umatilla County: Pioneer Schools documents the many one-room schools that dotted the County well into the 1930s. Umatilla County: The Early Years presents a wonderful collection of vintage, regional photographs. A compilation of pioneer stories, Reminiscences of Oregon Pioneers, originally published by the Pioneer Ladies Club (Pendleton) in 1937, was reprinted with the Historical Society in 1993. Current and back issues of the Umatilla County Historical Society's historic journal, Pioneer Trails, are available. Gift certificates can be purchased in any amount.
The Museum Store is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Umatilla County Historical Society members receive a 10% discount on most merchandise. We are happy to fill your mail or phone orders and will ship anywhere in the United States for a reasonable shipping and handling fee. Visa and Mastercard debit or credit cards are welcome.
For more information or to place an order, please call the Museum Store at 541-276-0012.