In addition to its well-known historic districts, Albany and the surrounding area have enough museums to keep history buffs busy for days. Here are some of the places to explore when you visit the mid-valley. (Because of Covid-19 restrictions, some museums hours have changed. For current status or other information, please call ahead or check online sites before visiting.)
Monteith House Museum
P.O. Box 965 | 518 2nd Ave. SW
Albany, Oregon 97321
The Monteith House, the first frame structure built in Albany in 1849, is one of the most authentically restored homes in Oregon. It is now a house museum, where visitors can see the pioneer kitchen Christine Monteith used to prepare meals, or the original piano brought by covered wagon to help make the wilderness a bit more civilized. The house is open to the public Saturdays, 12 to 4 p.m., or by appointment by calling 541-220-0421, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Albany Regional Museum
136 Lyon Street SW, Albany, OR 97321
This museum’s collections of old Albany memorabilia, photos and artifacts are fascinating and educational. View a shoeshine stand popular in Albany for decades or the Camp Adair exhibit, and be sure to stop in the Tripp Research Room. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and during other times by appointment. Catch “History Bites,” a lunch time presentation that occurs each month on a Wednesday. Be sure to check the museum’s events page or Facebook page for other special presentations and exhibits.
Albany’s Historic Carousel and Museum
503 1st Ave W, Albany, OR 97321
Albany’s Historic Carousel and Museum is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to building a traditional old-world carousel in Albany’s Downtown Historic District. The carousel, museum and carving studio are located at 503 First Ave. W., in downtown Albany. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Benton County Historical Museum
1101 Main Street / PO Box 35
Philomath, OR 97370
The Benton County Historical Museum in Philomath, Oregon, is housed in the former Philomath College Building. The central part of the building was completed in 1867. The left wing was added in 1905 and the right wing in 1907. The college remained open until 1927, and was turned into a museum in 1980. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site
32655 Boston Mill Dr.,
Shedd OR 97377
Located 1 1/2 miles east of Shedd, Oregon, the mill is free to visit and guided tours are offered daily. It is the oldest water-powered mill in the state and its turbines can be seen in action on guided tours. The Mill and grounds are open daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Self-guided tours may be taken any time the mill is open. Free guided tours are offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday and last about one hour. Masks are required. The Mill and grounds are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.
East Linn Museum
746 Long Street
Sweet Home, OR 97386
This little gem features a collection of several thousand artifacts, photos, documents and records dating back to 1852. Housed in a former church, the 3,000 square foot building provides plenty of space to wander through a variety of period rooms such as a pioneer kitchen, parlor or bedroom, as well as outdoor displays of logging, mining and farming tools and equipment. Hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Linn County Historical Museum
101 Park Ave., Brownsville, OR 97327
Linn County Historical Museum was established in Brownsville in 1962 by the Linn County Historical Society in cooperation with the City of Brownsville. It’s located at the historic Brownsville railroad depot where exhibits are contained within six Union Pacific boxcars. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Group tours of the historic Moyer House on weekends is possible by pre-arranging with the museum staff at 541-466-3390. On Saturdays, tours are held on the hour at 12, 1, 2 and 3 p.m., and the cost is $5 per person.