Our Story

Our Mission and History

The mission of the Oregon Military Museum is:

To inspire and educate visitors about Oregon’s military heritage and legacy to include the National Guard, the state’s early militia, and all branches of the Armed Forces

To meet its professional stewardship obligations for the historical artifacts and archives entrusted to its care

In 1975, the Oregon Military Department established the Oregon Military Museum as the official state repository for military weapons, documents, and artifacts relating to the military history of the citizens of Oregon. This collection of irreplaceable treasures defines Oregon’s military legacy, preserving it for future generations.

Until 2009, the Oregon Military Museum collections were housed and displayed in several buildings located at Camp Withycombe, including the 6,000 sq. ft. main facility, the 1911 Battery A Field Artillery Horse Barn, and the World War II Quonset Hut. As the result of a massive base realignment process, the Museum has relocated to the 32,000 sq. ft. old Clackamas Armory at Camp Withycombe. OMM’s move into the much larger building provides it with unique opportunities to expand operations as well as increased exhibition, collections care, program, and education spaces to better fulfill the Museum’s mission.

Evolution of the Oregon Military Museum

1909: Clackamas Rifle Range is established as a training camp for the Oregon National Guard (ONG), becoming the earliest organized firing range in the state of Oregon and one of the oldest in the western United States

1911: The Quartermaster Storehouse and Battery A Horse Barn are built at the Clackamas Rifle Range for the growing post

1916: “Camp Withycombe” is first used to designate the Mexican Border Mobilization Camp at Clackamas Rifle Range

1919: Battery A Horse Barn is used to house officers’ horses, whose names are painted above each stall and still visible over a century later

1934: Clackamas Rifle Range is designated as a federal military reservation and permanently renamed Camp Withycombe after Governor James Withycombe

1954: Future site of the Oregon Military Museum, Clackamas Armory, otherwise known as the Camp Withycombe Armory, opens on post

1975: The Oregon Military Museum (OMM) is established by the Oregon Military Department as the state’s official military history repository

1988: An ORNG detachment of 12 service members is created to support the Museum

1988: The Museum, housed in its own building for the first time after initially being housed within the Clackamas Armory, officially opens to the public with guided tours of collection items on display

1996: Battery A Field Artillery Horse Barn officially becomes part of the Museum and displaying artillery for the first time to the public

2001: OMM transitions to a civilian-led organization, hiring professional staff

2005: OMM celebrates its 40th anniversary since being first established as a museum in 1975

2008: After 40 years open to the public, OMM closes for Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), making space for the 41st Infantry Division Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC)

2009: OMM moves into its current location, as well as its 1975 initial home, and begins the process of renovating and expanding the Camp Withycombe Armory to retrofit the building as a 21st century museum

2009: Battery A Field Artillery Horse Barn moves to the Museum’s new Historic Park area, anchoring the Park for future additions

2009: OMM moves its recently acquired WW2 era Quonset Hut (Q-Hut), once used on post and by OMM’s former foundation, into its Historic Park

2014: The Quartermaster Storehouse, one of the first structures built on Camp Withycombe and recently acquired by the Museum, moves to its current location in the Historic Park after nearly being demolished

2016: The Museum’s detachment closes with the retirement of Chief Warrant Officer Ryan and transitions to a corps of skilled restoration volunteers

2019: All elements of Oregon Military Museum’s Historic Park are in place—Battery A Field Artillery Horse Barn, Quartermaster Storehouse, and the newly-installed multi-tank display

2019: OMM marks 10 years since being open to the public while it continues to unpack from the 2009 move and manage building renovations, along with continuing collections care, restoration, and research services

2019: Renovation of the Quartermaster Storehouse as an interpretive center is completed but not yet open to the public

2020: OMM’s main building remodel is completed, including renovating the drill floor into an exhibit gallery space, the development of the Thomas E. Withycombe Library, and the finished Education Wing and Hall of Valor additions

2022: OMM opens its Historic Park to the public for the first time with a weekly schedule, including a wider array of programs and services with the help of a growing Volunteer Corps

2022: The Museum begins design of its first generation and rotating exhibits while hosting events in its Education Wing and event spaces

2023: OMM fully reopens to the public after a 15-year hiatus, including gallery exhibits, educational outreach programs, and onsite research services

2025: The Oregon Military Museum, now in its new home and expanded to include its Historic Park, celebrates its 50th anniversary since first established as a museum and as the state’s official military history repository

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