And Now Dear David, Live Well
The Wagner Family
The title of this exhibition is in reference to a letter sent between two brothers, Johnathan and David Wagner. Johnathan moved to Honfleur, France and eventually became America’s vice consul.
David eventually joined Dr. William Keil’s Colony and came to Aurora, Oregon with his family.
Their brother Jacob, shown here with his wife Christina Heydt, settled with other dissidents of the Harmonist Society at Phillipsburg, PA in 1832. Since 1892, Phillipsburg has been known as Monaca.
Gifts to the Colony 2016
Enriching the Aurora Colony Collection
For the ninth consecutive year we celebrate annual artifact contributions to the Aurora Colony Historical Society with our end of the year “Gifts to the Colony: 2016” exhibit which opens November 5th and continues through December 31st.
Gifts this year include four quilts, an office table, and a wide variety of manuscripts and photographs which add so much to our understanding of the Aurora Colony and its member’s relationship to the broader French Prairie region of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
A Family Dynasty
The Geer Family in Oregon 1847 - 1902
This exhibit explores the Geer Family in 19th and the early years of the 20th century in Oregon. The exhibit is the culmination of a two year collaboration between GeerCrest Farm and Historical Society and Aurora Colony Historical Society. ACHS secured two grants from the Helen E. Austin Pioneer Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation to fund this collaboration. This exhibit describes just some of the unique and fascinating stories from this family’s long history in this state. Do bring your friends and family to enjoy this exhibit this summer!More about this exhibit and photos
Pieces of the Puzzle
Our Own Mysteries of the Museum
Oregon Governor Mark Hatfield dedicated the Ox Barn Museum- now know as the Old Aurora Colony Museum on September 25, 1966. Fifty years after that momentous opening day, we are still discovering Aurora Colony artifacts and trying to tell their stories through exhibits and other educational activities here at the Museum.Our first exhibit of 2016, “Pieces of the Puzzle”, focuses on artifacts that have come to us with only part of their story known.Through research and great detective work we have filled in the gaps- thus gradually solving the puzzles. Sometimes by solving one puzzle we only find another to uncover! Come to the Old Aurora Colony Museum to enjoy all of our mysterious “Pieces of the Puzzle”. This eclectic collection of museum mysteries will be on exhibit through June 2, 2016.More about this exhibit and photos
Gifts to the Colony 2015
Donations Continue to Enrich the Collection
Three very special Aurora Colony trunks were donated to the museum during 2015. As one can imagine they were filled with a variety of family papers, photos and artifacts, and some of these gifts added tremendously to our understanding of the families and lives within the Colony and after.More about this exhibit and photos
“How Do You Like Those Apples?”
Settlement of the French Prairie
To Dr. William Keil, the settlement of a Christian Communal Society in the newly settled Far West of America was an opportunity to establish a “Second Eden” in which the necessary steps to the achievement of the highest ideals of his Christian vision could be practiced.
To approach such an ideal required not only complete cooperation and commitment from his members but also the establishment of business, social and political relationships with his surrounding neighbors.
Why Not Willapa?
The Story of How Aurora Almost Didn't Happen
This newest exhibit at the Old Aurora Colony Museum features historic photography, personal letters, artifacts, art and even a miniature model of the “Lot Whitcomb” paddlewheel steamship.More about this exhibit and photos
Gifts to the Colony 2014
The importance of Donations
Every year the Aurora Colony Historical adds artifacts to our museum collection through the generosity of donors. As in years past, a significant number of the artifacts come from the descendants of Aurora Colony families. Increasingly, however, our curatorial staff has been evaluating items that either come from some of the colony’s surrounding families who shared political, social and business ties on the French Prairie with the colony without becoming members of the colony themselves. Also, in 2014 we accepted a few items from the post-colony era, and a few from well into the twentieth century.More about this exhibit and photos
A Face in the Crowd
"A Summer Reunion 1874-2014"
The Old Aurora Colony Museum’s special summer exhibit titled “A Face in the Crowd: A Summer Reunion” will celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Oregon Pioneer Association’s reunion of 1874.More about this exhibit and photos
Rudimentary Studies and Tall Tales
One Hundred Years of Schooling in Aurora
The Spring 2014 exhibit is titled “Rudimentary Studies and Tall Tales”. The title comes from the observation of an outside observer who noted that the Aurora Colonists aimed to teach their children only the rudimentary studies of reading, writing and arithmetic. This summation was not entirely accurate.More about this exhibit and photos