When it seems like the rain is never going to stop, don’t despair! Whether your tastes run more towards Portland puppets or Troutdale trains, Multnomah County has no shortage of fascinating and quirky museums that won’t cost you anything. (Check the links for updated hours and contact information.)
Whimsy. Revisit the toys of your (or your grandparents') childhood at Kidd's Toy Museum. And if your pipsqueaks are pleading to ponder a plethora of puppets, perhaps Ping Pong's Pint Size Puppet Museum is your pleasure.
History. We love that the Gresham Historical Society museum is housed in an original Carnegie library! Not to be outdone, the Troutdale Historical Society has three museums: The Barn Exhibit Hall, and The Harlow House. And don’t forget, the expansive and amazing Oregon Historical Society is free to all Multnomah County residents; just be sure to bring a proof of residency that includes photo identification.
Miscellany. Check up on medical history with the fascinating exhibits in the Main Library of Oregon Health & Science University or the Dr. Ernest E. Starr Memorial Museum of Dental Anomalies in the OHSU School of Dentistry. If you're interested in "the art and industry of the cast letterform," then the Museum of Metal Typography is definitely your type. Then float on over to the Lincoln Street Kayak and Canoe Museum to learn more about indigenous small watercraft and suck up some cleaning history at the Vacuum Museum at Stark's Vacuums.
P.S. More in the mood for an art gallery ? Check out Rainy Days, Part 1: Free Art.
When it seems like the rain is never (ever) going to stop, don’t despair!
The area’s colleges and universities are a treasure trove of free art galleries! Here are links to some all over town:
- Portland State University's multiple galleries.
- Portland Community College’s Cascade Paragon Gallery, Rock Creek Helzer Gallery, North View Gallery (Sylvania campus) and Southeast Campus Gallery.
- Lewis & Clark College’s Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art.
- the galleries of Oregon College of Art and Craft.
- Pacific Northwest College of Art campus galleries.
- Reed College’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery.
- the Buckley Center Gallery at the University of Portland.
Government buildings are a great place to see rotating exhibits, usually by local artists. Experience interactive and experimental media installations in the Portland Building Installation Space; visit the art gallery in the Gresham City Council Chamber Foyer; and check out the current exhibition at Central Library’s Collins Gallery.
The Regional Arts & Culture Council has a searchable database of public art around the county. (Tip: Click on Advanced Options to search by Collection and Discipline.)
View work by local photographers at Blue Sky Gallery, originally founded as the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts.
Learn more about contemporary art in the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Resource Room. It is both an archive and library, housing over 3,500 artist publications, magazines, and audio and video recordings, as well as a video archive of performances and lectures presented by PICA over the span of the organization's history.
But wait, there's more! Check out Rainy Days, Part 2: Free Museums!
At Multnomah County Library, our mission is “empowering our community to learn and create.” This can take many forms. For teenagers like Maria, Blanca, Mariah and Alex, it means taking ideas from imagination to reality, while gaining knowledge and confidence at the Rockwood Library makerspace. This video shows that happening.
A year ago, the library opened its first makerspace at Rockwood Library, which was made possible by funds from the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission and The Library Foundation. The makerspace is a special place, designed just for teenagers. Young people there can learn to create video games, build robots, design jewelry or make a movie. More importantly, they learn to take risks and adapt when things don’t go as planned. They build confidence.
To me, this represents the essence of a public library. A place to seek new ideas and skills with support and resources provided by people who care. We’re all learners with infinite paths for growth. Find yours today at the library.
Director of libraries
Solve One Problem, Solve Them All
by Sarah Binns
Willow Kelleigh is one of those people who gives you hope about the state of the world. Although she is a freshman at Franklin High School, she's been volunteering at the Belmont Library for four years. It all started with a middle school service learning requirement. After Willow's class learned about volunteering from Jane Corry at the Belmont Library, Willow recognized a great opportunity. “I've always been a bookish person, so after the class visit I begged my dad to take me back to the library after school that same day.” Thus, a volunteer all-star was born!
Willow's weekly tasks at Belmont vary, but she does everything from clean the toddler toys to emptying the book bin, from withdrawing old or weather-beaten books to tidying staff desks. When I express surprise at her workload, Willow laughs. “I don't do all of those things in one day!”
The staff at the Belmont Library have clearly made an impression on Willow. “They're all very kind people. Anyone can come to the library, so we see people who need a lot of help, but the staff are so nice and are still kind to the next person in line. They have a lot of patience and I really admire that.”
In her spare time, Willow does homework and participates in Key Club, an international service organization. While it's too early to think about college, don't worry, she's definitely considering librarianship in the future. “For a school assignment I had to pick two careers I was interested in,” she says. “I chose a librarian and an actuary,” a mathematician who works in statistical analysis, often for insurance companies. As much as she loves her library work, Willow also excels at and enjoys math: “I like the simplicity of math and the formulas. Once you know how to solve one problem, you know how to solve all of them,” she says. Here's to Willow's intrepid problem-solving, at the Belmont Library and beyond!
A Few Facts About Willow
Favorite browsing selection: Fiction, realistic fiction, historical fiction, and young adult genres are all great!
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
Finding affordable housing is hard. How do you search for rentals? What do you do if you get an eviction notice? How can you get along with your landlord while knowing your rights? Get started here:
Looking for housing
Here are a few places to start your search. While you search, be aware of scams! Be careful of ads that ask for advance payment for housing. If a listing looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have limited income or other special needs for housing:
Bridges to Change provides housing support for those struggling with addiction, mental health issues, poverty and homelessness.
- Housing Search NW (Washington State)
El Programa Hispano Católico can provide assistance in Spanish.
Search HUD for Section 8 Housing in Oregon
HUD Resource Locator provides real time HUD housing information.
Proud Ground helps low/moderate-income first-time home buyers.
If you've received an eviction notice or a big rent increase:
211info can help with renter resources including deposit fee assistance, eviction prevention, housing search assistance, neighbor and landlord mediation, renters rights, and renting classes.
Oregon CAT - Community Alliance of Tenants is an organization made up of low-wage workers, families with children, people living with disabilities, seniors, and people of color. They offer advice about rent increases and no-cause evictions. You can call their Renters’ Rights Hotline (503) 288-0130. They provide information on finding emergency shelter, how to research a prospective landlord, and what to do if your landlord refuses to make repairs.
Contact us if you'd like help getting connected to the right housing resource.
David Naimon is a writer and host of the radio broadcast and podcast, Between the Covers, honored by The Guardian as one of the best book podcasts today. He has interviewed such authors as Anthony Doerr, Colson
There’s a lot of talk these days about building walls, but little discussion about one already built, a long-standing high-security literary wall. As the host of a book podcast, I’m often thinking about how to curate a roster of writers who reflect the multiplicity that is the literary world, guests writing from a wide array of backgrounds as well as writers writing in different or harder to classify literary forms. As a nation that historically has regarded itself as a welcoming place to immigrants, we love narratives — from Saul Bellow to Viet Thanh Nguyen, from Maxine Hong Kingston to Junot Diaz — written by or about immigrants becoming American. But, oddly, at the same time, we seem incurious when it comes to literature not originally written in English.
--By the Hollywood Teen Book Council
There have always been conflicts in the world that leave innocent populations vulnerable. Currently, there has been a lot of recent news around refugees from various parts of the world. We are always curious to learn more either through fiction or from true accounts. Here are some of the resources that we have found particularly meaningful in understanding our world better, and what others are facing.
While exploring conflicts in Central America in the 1980, this podcast explores the “social movement based on the ancient religious concept of ‘sanctuary,’ the idea that churches have a duty to shelter people fleeing persecution.”
This podcast looks at the government response to churches’ response as being sanctuaries by launching a full-scale investigation into the sanctuary movement.
Staff members of This American Life explore a refugee camp in Greece. They discuss how the Greek government is handling the refugee crisis; explore an abandoned baseball stadium in Athens where about a thousand Afghans are living; talk to a mother about what it is like to be a parent in a refugee camp; and what it is like for a refuge to call the asylum office via Skype.
The second part of the staff's visit to Greece explores what it is like to build a life living in a refugee camp.
Many of this year's Oscar nominated documentary shorts were about current refugee experiences. Look for these:
Short documentary that follows a coast guard captain on a small Greek island who is suddenly charged with saving thousands of refugees from drowning at sea.
Ten different TedTalks about that explore the refugee crisis and refugees' experiences.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Migrants and Refugees Sept. 28, 2015
By Derek Thompson in The Atlantic
Explores how taking in people who have no safe home isn't about GDP growth; it's about basic decency.
Microfilm & microfilm readers
Microfilm is photographic film used to record miniaturized images on sheets or reels. Often these are images of pages from newspapers and magazines. The reels of film use less space than the original items (for example, 50 years of Sports Illustrated on film takes up the same space as 1 year of the paper magazine, and the boxes of microfilm can fit in one small drawer). To read the microscopic images on film, you use a microfilm reader which enlarges them for you.
Two digital microfilm readers are located at Central Library. These readers offer many new options for editing and saving images from microfilm, including the ability to crop, enhance images and add notes.
So, what kinds of magazines and newspapers does the library have on microfilm?
All sorts! Here is a selection of historic gems that are available at Central Library for your micro-perusing:
- The Black Panther, 1968 to 1980
- Harper’s, 1963-2013
- Macworld, 1984 to 2005
- Reader’s Digest, 1922 to 2013
- TV Guide, 1953 to 1994
- and many, many more!
In addition to national publications like the ones listed above, Central Library also has a large collection of local newspapers on microfilm, including the Oregon Journal, The Oregonian, The Portland Telegram and the Willamette Week. For more information about searching in local newspapers, take a look at the blog post “Research with historical Portland newspapers, beyond the Oregonian.”
Microfilm readers are also located at the Gresham and Sellwood libraries. These locations have smaller collections of microfilm materials which are specific to their communities like The Gresham Outlook and The Sellwood Bee.
A couple of notes before you begin your micro-searching:
- When you use microfilm, it is like browsing through a big stack of newspapers or magazines arranged by date. If you don’t know the exact date for the article that you are seeking, you might need to use an index (usually this index is a book or an online resource) to look it up.
- Some magazines and newspapers are only available on microfilm at the library, but many are also available through the library’s online databases. These databases can sometimes be a better choice for your searching.
Remember, you can always Ask a Librarian and we will be happy to help you find the information or articles that you need!
It's said that history is written by the winners but many stories go untold, especially when they concern women. For instance, have you ever heard of Nellie Bly?
I had a vague notion about her buried somewhere in my brain - 'a reporter, wasn't she?' - but I knew nothing more. As it turns out, she entered journalism at a time when the only role for female reporters was to contribute to the society pages. In a bold move to show her editor that women could do hard-hitting journalism, she volunteered to go undercover, and committed herself to the notorious women's asylum on Blackwell's Island. Bly reported that if one wasn't insane when committed, one would most certainly lose one's sanity in the horrendous conditions on the island. Her work resulted in improvements to the facility and better care for inmates.
A good reporter can never rest on her laurels though, and so in 1889, Bly set out to race around the world in 80 days or fewer to see if the journey that Jules Verne imagined in Around the World in 80 Days could be accomplished. What she didn't realize was that a rival paper decided to make it a race by sending the young Elizabeth Bisland around the world in the opposite direction.
You can follow this riveting story by reading Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-making Race around the World, by Matthew Goodman, which describes a great chase by ship and train across many countries. The excitement of the race is nicely balanced by the historical detail, and satisfies the curiosity while reading like a novel. You can also join fans of Nellie at an upcoming event that will give you an inside perspective on this remarkable woman.
For more inside stories about surprising women in history take a look at the accompanying reading list.