Willamette Heritage Center offers summer history lessons for the whole family

Families can learn about Salem’s Indigenous residents, the history of the Oregon Territory and more in a series of weekly summer classes offered on Fridays at the Willamette Heritage Center.

The new series is called Family Fun Fridays and begins July 12 at the heritage center, 1313 Mill St. S.E.

The program is a spin on the field trips the heritage center offers during the school year. Families can attend and learn together, with lessons geared toward kids age 6 to 14.

Tickets are $10 per person, free for those under age 5 and include full entrance to the museum along with the Friday lesson. Families can buy tickets for both lessons on Aug. 9 or 16 with a 25% discount.

Families who receive food benefits or have an Oregon Trail card can receive free museum entrance and a scholarship to participate in the lessons. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Here’s the schedule: 

  • Friday, July 12, 1 – 2 p.m., The Kalapuya 
  • Friday, July 19, 1 – 2 p.m., Before Oregon Statehood 
  • Friday, July 26, 1 – 2 p.m.,  Fiber to Fabric 
  • Friday, Aug. 2, 1 – 2 p.m., Archaeology: More Than Rocks!  
  • Friday, Aug. 9, 11 – 12 p.m., The Kalapuya     
  • Friday, Aug. 9, 2 – 3 p.m., Before Oregon Statehood        
  • Friday, Aug. 16, 11 – 12 p.m., Fiber to Fabric         
  • Friday, Aug. 16, 2 – 3 p.m., Archaeology: More Than Rocks! 

Lessons will be taught by volunteer docents and Education Manager Kathryn Fox. 

The center’s goal with educational programs is “to bring people together, foster a sense of belonging, and create an opportunity for dialogue, reflection, and appreciation of the diverse stories that make up our community,” Fox said in an email. “By exploring the rich history and culture of the area, we instill a sense of pride and connection to their roots in visitors.”

The museum is also hosting an adults-only tour on Friday, July 12, at 5:30 p.m. led by Curator Kylie Pine. Called “Museum After Dark,” the event includes stories of the mill not normally shared on tours and a chance to enjoy adult beverages at the Taproot Old Mill Cafe on-site. Learn more and register here.

Willamette Heritage Center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and families can bring lunch to eat at picnic tables on-site. Learn more about Family Fun Fridays on the events page.

The historic mill building at Willamette Heritage Center (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.