Museum now open Tuesday thru Saturday 11-4, and Sundays 1:00 till 5:00 through Labor Day

Brownsville Historic Pioneer Museum

Looking for the Brownsville Historic Pioneer Museum? That’s our nickname. Officially, we are the Linn County Historical Museum, located in the historic town of Brownsville, Oregon.

Founded in 1962, the Museum’s exhibits are displayed in Brownsville’s original railroad depot and six Southern Pacific railroad cars. Our collections cover the lives, work, and cultures of Native People, Oregon Trail immigrants, Black and White pioneer settlers, and the early families and communities of Linn County.  You will also find exhibits on the Brownsville Woolen Mill, regional mining and the filming of the movie Stand By Me.  One of the boxcars is even a 29 seat theater, The Boxcar Theatre.  We also house a fairly extensive, and well used, Genealogy Section. Of particular interest is the Covered Wagon that carried the Drinkard family across the Oregon Trail  in 1865. Not to be missed is the elegant 1881 Moyer House, open for tours on weekends and by request.

Come by and see us soon!


	

Moyer House

The Historic 1881 Moyer House is also part of the Museum.  Located just a block and a half South of the main Museum, you can tour the house on weekends, or by prior arrangement on any day the museum is open.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic places, this beautiful example of Italianate  Architecture was built to as the home of John and Elizabeth Moyer.  The Moyers were an influential couple in Brownsville who created a beautiful home in which they could entertain in style.  The extensive painting and stenciling in every room is unique and impressive.

Lovingly restored over the years by the Linn County Museum Friends the Moyer House  is now visited by school groups, history buffs, senior groups and the general public. Between Labor Day and Memorial Day the Moyer House is open for tours every Saturday between 11:00 and 4:00, and now through Labor Day it is also open on Sundays between 1:00 and 5:00. Admission for adults is $5.00 and children under 12 is $1.00.  Weekday tours can be arranged by calling the museum at 541-466-3390.

History of the Museum

In 1962, the Linn County Historical Society and the City of Brownsville worked together to create the Linn County Historical Museum. Under the leadership of Floyd Jenks of Tangent and others, many county residents contributed time, talent, funds and artifacts to create the new museum. Frieda and Ben Fisher of Brownsville and Elaine and Edward Poland of Shedd led the search of the back rooms, barns and attics of Linn County for relics of its past. In only a few months they and others arranged for the June opening of the original store-front museum on Spaulding Avenue in Brownsville. Over the years, the collection grew and expanded into an adjacent building and in 1984 was moved to the current facility at 101 Park Ave in Brownsville. The new facility in the old relocated Brownsville Railroad Depot and  6 Southern Pacific boxcars was dedicated on June 16, 1984. It captures the essence of early Linn County life with replicas of a general store, a bank, a barber shop and milliner’s shop among others. Visitors are charmed by the “Grandmother’s Attic” feel of the museum with it’s scenes of domestic life and Main Street ambiance. Our exhibits are rich with the artifacts, clothing and turn-of-the-century tools of the trade.

Between Labor Day and Memorial Day the Moyer House is open for tours every Saturday between 11:00 and 4:00, during the summer months it is also open on Sundays between 1:00 and 5:00. Admission for adults is $5.00 and children under 12 is $1.00.  Weekday tours can be arranged by calling the museum at 541-466-3390.

The Drinkard Wagon

The Drinkard wagon is one of the museum’s treasures…one of a very few remaining wagons still intact after making the rigorous six month journey across the Oregon Trail.  This wagon brought the Drinkard Family from Missouri to Halsey, Oregon in 1865.  Seeing this rugged wagon brings home  the reality of the immense challenges early Euro-Americans actually faced during the great Westward Migration. William Drinkard was a Confederate soldier imprisoned in Iowa when his wife Martha Ann learned he could be released on promise of leaving the war effort behind.  Martha Ann sold their home and goods, purchased and outfitted this wagon, packed up the 4 kids and left Missouri for Iowa.  Accompanied by several other family members they then headed West.  Martha Ann drove this wagon, William drove his Mother’s wagon and the children walked or rode horses.  They arrived in Oregon in the Fall of 1865,  before Martha Ann gave birth to her 5th child in February, 1866.

The Boxcar Theatre

A truly unique feature of this museum is our Boxcar Theatre.  Housed in one of our 6 boxcars, the theater is equipped with 29 seats salvaged from Brownsville’s old Linn Theatre, along with the original neon sign. The theater is available for movie watching whenever the museum is open.  We have a large selection of movies; comedy, drama, westerns, Disney, documentaries, old and new.  Of course we also have the most famous movie filmed here in Brownsville…1986’s “Stand By Me”. This is a perfect place for Birthday parties, school visits, family gatherings, rainy afternoons, or just to while away a little time. Come in and let us entertain you! Movie list coming soon.

Entertainment:
Baby Take a Bow, Shirley Temple
The Blue Bird, Shirley Temple
Curly Top, Shirley Temple
The Littlest Rebel, Shirley Temple
Heidi, Shirley Temple
Heidi, Maxmillian Schell
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Shirley Temple
The Shaggy Dog, Disney
Alice in Wonderland, Disney
So Dear to My Heart, Disney
Mouse Hunt, Dreamworks
Snow White, Disney
Sound of Music
Annie, Carol Burnett
Wizard of Oz
Kid Millions
Mouse on the Mayflower
Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Stand By Me
Following the Tracks of Stand By Me (Documentary)
Be Big, Laurel & Hardy
Brats, Laurel & Hardy
Hog Wild, Laurel & Hardy
Red Skelton Show, 6 skits
Horse Feathers, Marx Brothers
Tillie's Punctured Romance, Charlie Chaplin
Dark Passage, Bogart & Bacall
Miracle on 34th Street
War of the Worlds
Great American Western Classics Arizona Gunfighter
Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap Abbott & Costello
Young Buffalo Bill   Roy Rogers
The Marauders  Hopalong Cassidy
Dracula Bela Lugosi  1931
Frankenstein Boris Karloff
Disney Cinderella
Disney Beauty & the Beast
Disney Lady & the Tramp
Disney 101 Dalmations
Disney  Lion King
Disney   Mary Poppins
An American in Paris
Out of Africa


Documentaries:

Donner Party, PBS 90 min
Growing Flax Fiber in the Willamette Valley OSU Crop Science 21 min
The Klondike Gold Rush  PBS 60 min
Lewis & Clark Great Journey West Nat'l Geographic 40 min
The Historic Expedition of Lewis & Clark 35 min
Ride the Albany Carousel 57 min
Road to Statehood   OPB  30 min
Capturing Oregon's Frontier 29 min
Free Emigrant Road
Lost Wagon Train  18 min
Oregon's Historic Covered Bridges   28 min
ExplOregon: Brownsville   OPB 28 min
Looking back at Linn County   20  min
The Oregon Trail 120 min
Pioneer Life for Children, Westward Expansion, 23 min
Pioneer Life for Children, Pioneer Journey Westward, 23 min
Pioneer Life for Children, Pioneer Life, 23 min
Historic Brownsville, Then & Now & Take Me Back
The Great Flood of '96

Genealogy Research

The museum has an extensive, well organized and well used Genealogy section.  We have:

  • Linn County Cemetery Records
  • Linn County Donation Land Claim information through 1855
  • Census Records from 1849-1910
  • Marriage records 1850-1921
  • Adoption records 1876-1919
  • Obituaries
  • Over 2000 photos of people, places and things from Linn County
  • Books and files on specific Pioneer families
  • General history books of Linn County places and people.
  • WPA Writer’s Project sponsored “Haskins Pioneer Stories” in 1936-1939 resulting in a wide ranging history of local residents and their memories of pioneers and early residents, all indexed by the names of people mentioned in the stories.
  • Historic Resources Inventories covering buildings and structures indexed by original owner’s name

Our wonderful staff and volunteers are always ready to help with your research. In addition to the museum collections, the Brownsville Library also keeps local history and genealogy information, a short walk from the museum.

Stand By Me Day 2024

Calling all Fans! 

Stand By Me Day is happening this year on

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024!

The Committee has been busy making plans and rounding up volunteers to bring you a full slate of fun!  There will be guided walking tours, a fan forum with videos, 50’s car Cruise In,  Food trucks, a visit from Ima Blueberry and, of course,  a down and dirty Blueberry Pie Eating Contest. 

Join us between 11:00 am  and 5:00 pm at Library Park in beautiful Downtown Brownsville.

 

Hands on History 2024

Saturday, August 24th, 2024  

 

Step back in time and try your hand at the crafts and activities practiced by the folks who lived here long ago.

Once again you can make a cornhusk doll, try cross-cut sawing, candle dipping, gold panning, wash clothes in an old tub and washboard, spin wool and ride in a cart pulled by Belgian Draft mules, Lizzy and Leslie, just to name a few. Returning from years past will be our high wheel bicyclist, apple cider pressing, 1800’s woodworking tools and the fascinating presentation on 19th century embalming practices during the Civil War.

This event is known for bringing you fascinating story telling and this year is no exception. Kalapuyan Elder, Esther Stutzman, will be telling Kalapuyan stories several times during the day in the Kirk Room, alternating with Gwen Carr sharing stories of the Oregon Black Pioneers. Gordon Munro will be telling his true stories of Oregon Pioneers in Library Park.

All of our delightful musicians will be back with music all day long.

Come be a part of this wonderful free event and go home with lasting memories. See you in August!

Don Day's Flint Knapping Spinning woolGold PanningWashtubs

Carriage Me Back 2024

Carriage Me Back will be taking you to 1894 this year


Thank You to all who joined us in spite of the miserable weather, and Thank You to all the wonderful presenters who did an excellent job telling the stories of 1894

This year you will board an antique tractor drawn wagon at the museum, travel around town with your host and a gaggle of local actors then be dropped off at the Moyer House where more scenes are presented.  It is history with a touch of artistic license for a fun day out and an important fundraiser for the Museum.

The 19th century is winding down, spirits are high and Brownsville is growing up!  Three enterprising young men are starting a Hops farm, there is a doctor, a lawyer, a woolen mill, a grist mill and benevolent Societies abound.  There are two hotels and the train comes through twice daily!  Brownsville and North Brownsville are about to consolidate into one incorporated city.

The Mazamas were founded in Portland, a mountaineering club for exploration and scientific achievement.   Across the nation times were hard for the under classes and full of life and gaiety for the upper classes.  An economic recession is coming and unemployment is high.  Enjoy a carriage ride around town while being entertained by skits based on history and flavored with artistic license before being dropped at the Moyer House for more entertainment.

We will be taking reservations starting April 1 .  The price is 15.00 for 12 and up,  under 12 is $5.00 and you can rent a whole wagon for $225.00 (holds 20 people)   For reservations call 541-466-3390.  We accept cash, check or credit card.

 

 

Plan Your Trip

Linn County Parks offers family-friendly well-maintained parks, fishing, boating, camping, museums, and historic sites.

Find a Park

Hiking trails, waterfalls, covered bridges, and swimming areas are among the points of interest at our 30 parks.

Places to Camp

Spend a weekend in the heart of the Willamette valley at one of more than 400 campsites.