A Unique Piece of Oregon History
Has it really been 50 years? On September 25, 1966, then-governor Mark O. Hatfield formally dedicated the Old Aurora Colony Museum- then known as the Oxbarn Museum. In the intervening years, the Museum has grown from a small town museum to a regional historical and genealogical center showcasing the achievements of immigrants who founded Aurora Mills in 1856 AND their successful relationships with their French Prairie neighbors.
The article below is from the now-defunct Capital Journal Newspaper, published in Salem, Oregon, on Wednesday, Jan.8, 1964. The article reports on the purchase of Aurora’s historic Ox Barn for future use as the Old Aurora Colony Museum.
“Ox Barn to Become Museum”
Aurora- An Aurora ox barn that celebrated its 100th birthday in 1956 will be turned into a museum soon.
The barn also served as store, freight office and home during its century of service.
Located at Second and Liberty streets, the structure was purchased by the Aurora Colony Historical society, aided by a $3,500 gift commemorating the 90th birthday of one of Aurora’s oldest residents, Dr. Burt Brown Barker.
For years the Will General Store and home of the Frederick Will family, it was sold to the historical society by Mrs. Ezra (Amy) Hurst, one of the Will daughters. Mrs. Hurst was born in the structure 80 years ago.
The Will family lived in one end of the building and stored four trucks, used in a valley freight line, in the other side.
“To see the plans they’ve got for the building,” Mrs. Hurst said,”you’d never know the place. It’s going to be wonderful.”
The museum will house some of the furnishings of the old Aurora Colony homes. It is expected to be completed in less than a year’s time.
President of the Historical Society, which numbers 70 members, is Wayne Yoder.
Learn how you can explore the Old Aurora Colony Museum with a guided or self-guided tour of the five building museum complex including: the Ox Barn, Steinbach Cabin, Kraus House, Will Family Summer Kitchen and Tie Shed.
The Old Aurora Colony Museum offers a variety of museum exhibitions throughout the year, displaying lively displays, artifacts and collections that bring the Colony’s history alive nearly every month. Learn more about the Current Exhibit or view an Archive of Past Exhibits.
Get details on admission fees and finding your way to Aurora on our Directions and Hours page.
Take A Virtual Tour