Southern Oregon Historical Society Museum Plan

The 76-year-old Southern Oregon Historical Society has announced plans to re-establish a public history museum. For many years SOHS operated a museum in Jacksonville which closed in 2010 following the halt in public funding originally authorized by Jackson County voters in 1948.

SOHS holds the second largest collection of historic materials in Oregon. With assistance from the Jackson County Library Services District, the Society’s two-dimensional artifacts have remained available to the public in our Library and Archives at SOHS headquarters, the historic J. C. Penney’s
building at 106 N. Central Avenue in Medford. However, since the Society’s 2010 museum closure, SOHS’s huge three-dimensional collection has gone unseen for 13 years.

In February 2023, the Society initiated a tentative return to exhibiting some collection items in the lobby of the J. C. Penney’s Building along with some loaned exhibits from the Oregon Historical Society in Portland.

For over a decade, SOHS has received regular requests for us to re-establish a public museum. And now, thanks in part to funding from the Marie Lamfrom Foundation, the Roundhouse Foundation, and gifts from Society members and the general public, SOHS is beginning the installation of a new public museum on the second floor of the Society’s downtown Medford headquarters in space recently vacated by the Rogue Valley Times.

“One of the most exciting parts for me is bringing some of our more beloved collection objects out of storage so that the public can learn from them first-hand,” says SOHS Curator Anna Sloan. “Our SOHS collection contains hundreds of thousands of historic documents, photographs, films, and 3-
dimensional objects — everything from tea cups, to butter churns, to baskets, to mining equipment, to Victorian dresses, to vehicles and beyond. As the region’s principal repository for the materials that document our heritage, the museum will allow us to share more of our community’s stories with the public.”

SOHS anticipates opening its new Southern Oregon History Museum in October 2023, enhancing the ways in which we pursue our mission of bringing history to life and life to history.

Event Center 1
Event Center 3

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BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE (deferred maintenance)
New Roof$300,000
Clean/Paint Building$57,000
HVAC Replacement$95,000