Grants available to document, preserve and share Oregon history

ONTARIO – (Release from the Oregon Parks and Rec Department) The Oregon Heritage Commission is offering grants for qualified projects for the conservation, development, and interpretation of Oregon’s cultural heritage. Awards typically range between $5,000 and $20,000. Projects can include anything related to Oregon heritage, and priority will be given to projects that preserve, develop or interpret threatened heritage resources or heritage resources of statewide significance. The grant application deadline is October 20, 2021.

Projects funded by the Oregon Heritage Grant may include collections preservation and access, exhibits, oral history projects, public education events, organizational archives projects, films theatrical performances, teaching traditional practices, public history interpretation, organizational planning that supports heritage resources, and more. Previously funded projects included a variety of projects around the state. 

Past projects included:

  • Bend Parks and Recreation district established long-term collections management and care, interpretation, and exhibit management of the Hollinshead-Matson Historic House.
  • Chetco Historical Memorial Committee installed an interpretive area in partnership with local Tribes. 
  • Columbia Gorge Discovery Center scanned and cataloged photographs and negatives from the archives of The Dalles Chronicle, dating from 1940s to 1970s.
  • The Four Rivers Cultural Center provided folk arts programming derived from the Basque, Japanese, Native American, European, African, and refugee heritages found in the Ontario area.
  • The Harney County Library Foundation digitized all local history oral interviews professionally into archival and accessible files.
  • The High Desert Museum revamped their spring education program to include more diverse stories. 
  • Linn County Museum partnered with Oregon Black Pioneers to incorporate African American history in the permanent exhibit. 
  • Cascade AIDS Project collected oral histories and made them accessible. 
  • Metro Historic Cemeteries researched and shared historic records that highlight the contributions of women buried in Metro’s historic cemeteries to the suffrage movement, especially women of color.
  • Oregon Historical Society provided professional development for educators to meet the ethnic studies requirements. 
  • Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education created “To Bear Witness: Extraordinary Lives” an exhibit which chronicles the lives of ten Oregonians who arrived from their homelands as refugees. Opening October 2021. 
  • Oregon Nikkei Endowment digitized, translated and made available online historical newspapers and Japanese American internment related FBI documents.
  • Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation installed a historic turntable for railcars at the center.
  • Southern Oregon University developed the Rogue Valley Women’s Movement oral history project. 
  • The Talent Historical Society developed local history curriculum in partnership with local teachers. 
  • The Tillamook County Pioneer Museum developed the “Her-Story; The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Oregon and What It Means Today” exhibit and a companion book of essays and interviews with Oregon women of today.
  • The Vanport Mosaic brought together organizations and individuals from across Oregon to share ideas, challenges and plans to document how our past can inform our present and define our future.

“We hope to see projects that engage Oregonians in heritage, from a variety of organizations, not just traditional heritage organizations,” states Katie Henry, Oregon Heritage Commission coordinator. “We encourage the documentation, preservation and exploration of all aspects of Oregon’s heritage.”

Applications are submitted online. There is plenty of support for preparing them. “Our goal is to support organizations of all sizes all over the state in their valuable work. We provide assistance in the application process,” notes Kuri Gill, grants and outreach coordinator. Oregon Heritage grants programs staff is happy to discuss projects and review applications in advance.

Registration is required for two free online workshops. Each addresses the application questions and explores the online application system.

  • September 2, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • September 9, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. 

The grant directly supports the four Oregon Heritage Plan goals:

  • Include More Voices: Expand the narrative of history told and preserved in the state to capture previously excluded or marginalized voices for a more complex and accurate depiction of Oregon’s historical events.
  • Increase Access to Heritage: Strive to engage more community members and visitors in local heritage by increasing awareness of resources and making them available to diverse audiences and potential stakeholders.
  • Promote the Value of Heritage: Share the economic, cultural, and educational value of heritage with the public and decision makers to inspire awareness, funding, and respect for long-term preservation of Oregon’s heritage.
  • Pursue Best Practices: Pursue professional standards and best practices related to heritage processes, standards, and organizational management to ensure healthy, sustainable heritage organizations.

The Oregon Heritage Commission is comprised of nine people representing Oregon’s heritage and geographical diversity who have been appointed by the Governor. There are nine advisory representatives from state agencies and statewide organizations. The commission’s mission is to secure, sustain, and enhance Oregon’s heritage by ensuring coordination of heritage initiatives by public and private organizations; advocacy on its behalf; education of the public about its extent and value; and promotion and celebration of its diversity.

To learn more about the grants, visit or contact Kuri Gill at or 503-986-0685.