Benton County Historical Society & Musuem, Oregon Benton County Historical Society Museum logo


P.O. Box 35
Philomath, OR 97370
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+ Cockrell Quilts
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Museum Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday
10:00am - 4:30pm

Horner Homecoming

Spring 2008 marks the renaissance of the OSU Horner Museum as the Horner collection moves from the dusty basement under Gill Coliseum to a brand new climate controlled facility just a few miles away in Philomath, Oregon. In collaboration with Oregon State University, the Benton County Historical Society is providing a new home for 60,000 artifacts which have been steadily collected since Mr. Horner started the museum in 1925.

"Horner Homecoming" was our first exhibition of Horner Museum artifacts at the Philomath museum, which opened 10/24/2008. We intend to build exhibition space downtown Corvallis to increase public access to our collections.

Slide show updated June 8, 2010:

Evolution of the Collection Care Facility!
Horner Museum History
Significant Collections
Brief History of the Museum
Major Collections
Horner Collection: In The News
Taxidermy Collection
Cockrell Quilt Collection

Featured Artifacts:
The Horner Collection

J. B. Horner breifcase 19th century theodolite Mercury bronze statue Union Applique Quilt
Erector Set Ferris Wheel Taxidermy bird Daniel Boone Family Powderhorn Sigma Alpha Epsilon OSU pennant
antique radio, Horner Museum collection Lewis & Clark Centennial Expo Gold Medal 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldier helmet
Horner Collection: In the News February 2008
Horner Collection: In the News March 2008
Horner Homecoming: In the News October 2008

Oregon Museum Historic Quilt Collection

Horner Museum History

Some of the significant early collections contributed to the Horner Museum were natural history, geological, and archaeological collections. John Horner and two of his friends, Dr. J.L. Hill, an Albany, Oregon physician and Mr. J. G. Crawford, an Albany, Oregon photographer, worked together to collect archaeological specimens as part of their natural history studies.

All three men were schooled in the late 19th century intellectual tradition of "total culture". Hill was a physician as well as an amateur taxidermist. There is a photograph of Hill's taxidermy mounts on a parade float in Albany that was taken in 1911. Crawford was a photographer as well as an amateur archaeologist. And, Horner was a scholar as well as an educator and historian. Horner was an original member of the Oregon Geographic Names board in 1911, and became interested in heritage through the naming process.

Significant Collections

  • J.L. Hill collection of birds, mammals, Indian artifacts and pioneer artifacts numbered over 1,000 objects.
  • D.E. Boord's Great Lakes area collection of wildlife mounts.
  • Wm. Thos. Shaw's zoology collection: Shaw was a professor at Oregon Agricultural College and his taxidermy bird mounts won a gold medal at the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, Oregon in 1905.
  • The Andrew Sherwood geology collection from Pennsylvania. This collection was amassed in the late 19th century. Sherwood traded Louis Agazzis at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology for some tiny fossils in hand-blown test tubes that are in the Horner collection. Sherwood was a contemporary of Agazzis and Asa Gray. This connection illustrates the academic connections that OAC had to other institutions. The Museum of Comparative Zoo may still have the transfer records.

Brief History of the Horner Museum

  • 1888-College Hall housed the College Museum or General Museum.
  • 1902-Museum moved to Agricultural Hall fourth floor.
  • 1913-Dean Bexell of the School of Commerce wanted a museum for the public as well as students and faculty. He arranged objects on the third floor of Agriculture Hall and named it the Commerce Museum. Horner came under Bexell's influence because the History Department was in the School of Commerce.
  • 1923-24 Horner succeeds in getting large, private collections of anthropological, geological, zoological, and historical artifacts. He adds these collections to the remnants of the Commerce Museum and assembled a museum in the basement of the Library. The College Museum opened in 1925.
  • 1933-Collection moves to the Women's Gymnasium, lower level.
  • 1933- Horner dies. A letter is found in his typewriter. It is a proposal to Henry Ford, requesting $1,000,000 to create the finest museum on the Pacific Coast.

Major Collections of the Horner Museum

Natural History Collection
1. J.L. Hill Collection
2. J. G. Crawford Collection
3. D.E. Boord Collection
4. Wm.Thos. Shaw Collection
5. Andrew Sherwood Collection
6. Julia Beard Shell Collection
7. J.C. Braly Collection

Artifact Collections
1. Harriett Moore Collection
2. Florence Kohlhagen McHenry Collection of textiles and costumes
3. Donnegan Wiggins Collection of arms
4. Annie Fortmiller Collection of dolls
5. Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Bailey Collection of dolls
6. Conrad Lindberg Collection
7. Kirby Austin Collection
8. Gladys R. Blood Collection of glassware
9. Louis C. Raymond Collection of international artifacts
10. Bing Francis Collection
11. Michael and Sonia Spiegel Collection of dolls
12. Mrs. R.E. Duniway Collection of dolls
13. Marie Ruston Collection of Chinese artifacts
14. Ira Gillet Collection of African artifacts
15. Mr. and Mrs. Mark Price Collection of ceramics
16. Bill Charnholm and Bert Platz Collections of toy trains



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© 2008 - 2014 Benton County Historical Society & Museum
Philomath, Oregon
The Benton County Historical Society is a nonprofit corporation that operates museum facilities for the preservation of history and culture.  Its mission is to:

  1. Preserve the material and intellectual culture of Benton County, Oregon, by acquiring and caring for significant collections that illustrate and interpret the history of the area and its relationship to the world;
  2. Enrich people's lives through exhibitions and educational programs.