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.
Since some locations may have flexible hours, we encourage visitors to call ahead.
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 pioneer-era homes in Oregon. It is now a house museum, where visitors can see the kitchen Christine Monteith used to prepare meals, or the original pump organ brought by covered wagon to help make the wilderness a bit more civilized. The house is open to the public Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by appointment by calling 541-220-0421, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In the summer, hours are extended to Wednesday through Saturday,11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Albany Regional Museum
136 Lyon Street SW, Albany, OR 97321
If you want to get a slice of what life was like in Albany at various points in history, visit the Albany Regional Museum. The museum recently renovated all of its exhibits and the first you see as you enter is titled “Hub City,” which is about transportation. There are other exhibits about architecture, mercantiles, schools and more. You can also find some history particular to the city like Albany’s historic Chinatown and the Timber Carnival that was held every year from the early 1940s until 2001. In the children’s area, which is themed around movement, there are derby cars that the kids are able to climb into, a pinewood derby track they can race cars down, and a magnet wall where everything can be rearranged.
Check the museum’s website or Facebook page to find its next History Bites event, which is held the second Wednesday of the month. History Bites is a popular series of noontime talks about interesting and sometimes offbeat local topics. A similar program is History Sips, where engaging presentations are held in the evening at a local pub. Be sure to check the museum’s events page for other special presentations and exhibits.
General admission is $5 and $3 for seniors. Children under 12 and military (active or veteran) are admitted free. Group Tour rate is $2 per person; School Tours no fee (All Tours must be scheduled in advance). Use of the reference room is free. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Albany’s Historic Carousel and Museum
503 1st Ave W, Albany, OR 97321
Albany’s Historic Carousel & 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. 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 Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Thursday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
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.