Current Projects – Outdoor History Panels

Capital Cornerstones – Outdoor History Panels – COMING SOON!

  • Seven electrical boxes in Salem will be wrapped with a vinyl material that is printed with facts and photos about Salem’s history
  • These vinyl wraps will last for many years but can be easily removed if necessary
  • Graffiti resistant material
  • Each box text will be translated into an appropriate language (Spanish, Chinese, or a Kalapuyan dialect)
  • Inexpensive and funded through a grant program with the State Historic Preservation Office
  • City of Salem Community Development partnering with the Salem Culture and Heritage Forum and other institutions listed below

Short description of topic and partners:

  • Public Amusement (Liberty and Court Streets):
    • Types of amusement in Salem. Modern day festivals like World Beat or activities like the Salem Riverfront Carousel. Historic focus on parades in Salem.
    • Partners: Salem Multicultural Institute, Salem Riverfront Carousel
    • Translated into Spanish
  • Theater History (Court and High Streets):
    • History of many theaters in Salem’s downtown. Including Bligh’s Capitol Theater, Ye Liberty Theater, and the modern-day Elsinore and Grand Theaters.
    • Partners: Elsinore Theater, Enlightened Theatrics, Grand Theater
    • Translated into Spanish
  • Salem’s Moving History (Church and Court):
    • History of moving buildings in Salem. Will feature Post Office (now Gatke Hall of Willamette University), and several buildings moved to the Gilbert House Children’s Museum and the Willamette Heritage Center.
    • Partners: Willamette Heritage Center, Gilbert House Children’s Museum
    • Translated into Spanish
  • Salem Chinatown History (State and High):
    • History of Salem’s Chinatown, including history Sanborn Maps of the area, and information about several of its important residents, like George Lai Sun – the Mayor of Chinatown and successful merchant.
    • Partners: Salem Chinese Shrine Advisory Committee (including participants from the State Historic Preservation Office, Willamette University, Salem Pioneer Cemetery, Hoy Yin Association, Willamette Heritage Center, City of Salem, and others)
    • Translated into Chinese
  • Indigenous Art (State and Cottage):
    • History of Indigenous Peoples in the area. Will feature information about Tsamikiti (anglicized Chemeketa and now Salem), and the cultural practices of the Santiam Kalapuya who lived here.
    • Partners: Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, Hallie Ford Museum of Art
    • Translated into a Kalapuyan dialect
  • Mission Street History (High and Mission):
    • History of Mission Street individuals include the Bushes, Lord and Schryver, and Deepwood residents.
    • Partners: Bush House Museum (Salem Art Association), Deepwood Museum and Gardens, Lord and Schryver Conservancy
  • Chinese Ceremonial Table (Salem Pioneer Cemetery:
    • History of the Chinese section of the Salem Pioneer Cemetery, including the historical and modern use of a ceremonial table used during Qingming – similar to American Memorial Day.
    • Partners: Salem Pioneer Cemetery, Chinese Shrine Advisory Committee
    • Translated into Chinese

Draft of Public Amusement Box:

Public Amusement Proof

Questions or comments can be directed to Kirsten Straus, Historic Landmarks Commission Staff Assistant, or 503-540-2347

Apr. 5th: Qing Ming Festival at the Salem Pioneer Cemetery

Qing Ming Festival and Blessing at the Salem Pioneer Cemetery, near the Chinese Shrine at 10:00am on April 5th

This festival is a traditional Chinese festival which involves cleaning ancestors’ graves and paying them homage. We will be honoring the Chinese citizens that lived and died in Salem around the turn of the twentieth century.
All are welcome! Please join us!

Excavated Chinese Funerary Shrine
Chinese Funerary Shrine at the Salem Pioneer Cemetery

Feb. 6th-Mar. 8th: Workshops, “Conversations with Partners and Funders” with the Oregon Cultural Trust

More than $5 million in funding will be on the table when Oregon Cultural Trust Manager Aili Schreiner joins with colleagues from the Cultural Trust’s Statewide Partners and other funders Feb. 6 through March 8 for “Conversations with Funders and Partners,” a 14-stop state tour. Attendees will learn about grant programs available from multiple grantmakers and will have the opportunity to discuss their projects and programming (find shared Grant Calendar here). Other statewide programming resources also will be presented.

Make sure to check out the schedule here!

Jan. 29th-Feb. 15th: Timber Culture at the State Capitol

Open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm

Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center’s exhibit “Timber Culture” will be on display in the Oregon State Capitol Galleria for part of Black History Month. The exhibit offers an exclusive look at Oregon’s multicultural logging industry. The exhibit depicts the lives of loggers and their families drawn together from different cultures during the great migration. Visit to learn more.

This free visitor experience is sponsored by the Capitol History Gateway, a project of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation. With your support, the Oregon State Capitol Foundation works to provide free cultural and educational opportunities for the public.

For more information about events at your Oregon State Capitol, please call Visitor Services at 503-986-1388 or go to the events page at:

Jan. 27th-Apr. 21st: Special Exhibit at the Willamette Heritage Center

Join the Willamette Heritage Center for their new exhibit starting on January 27th and running through April 21st.

Arrival: Stories of Migration, Immigration, and Journeys in the Mid-Willamette Valley

Locomotive arriving at train depot in Turner, Oregon (WHC 0085.076.0026.012)

This is the 8th Annual Heritage Invitational Exhibit. WHC joins with organizations from all over the valley to present you with this special exhibit about how and why people came to the Willamette Valley.

Check out this link for more information!

Jan. 19th: Fine Art Friday at Bush Barn Art Center

Make sure to join the Bush Barn Art Center for Fine Art Friday on Friday, January 19th from 5:30-7:30 pm!

On view during the first reception of 2018 will be Nancy Lindburg – Images of Time: 65 Years of Art and LifeMatthew Boulay: Combat GrassFeatured Artist: Stephen KekuleEmerging Artist: Aaron Wilson; and Artist-in-Residence: Eilish Gormley. Come mingle with artists and other people from the arts community. Light refreshments will be provided by the SAA Gallery Guides and Roth’s Fresh Markets.