Collections Program

Does your family have a collection of artifacts gathered in Oregon or Washington? Not sure what to do with it? The OAS can help. We have a program specifically designed to facilitate the donation of collections to regional museums or to help with the repatriation of artifacts to tribal institutions.

Oregon Archaeological Society Collections Committee

The Collections Committee of the OAS was formed in an effort to assist our members’ families and the general public in possession of prehistoric cultural artifact collections find established curation facilities to house their collections in perpetuity.

By encouraging the donation of a collection, the Collections Committee seeks to halt the dispersal and commodification of artifacts and encourage academic research. OAS strongly believes that an educational opportunity can be rendered to the community in this effort, and that we are uniquely positioned to provide that service.

The Oregon Archaeological Society was founded in 1951. Many of the original members have now passed their collections on to descendants that would like to honor and preserve the family heritage encapsulated in them, but are uncertain about appropriate ways of doing so.  They seek a path that gives something back to the organization that meant so much to their elders and also ensures long term protection of the artifacts, recognition of the family, and full accessibility for scientific research and public exhibits.

The committee provides a conduit that insures safe passage from the family to the repository deemed to be the “best fit” based on the collection’s place of origin and scientific or cultural significance. As part of that effort, the Collections Committee will assess each artifact collection and help facilitate the transfer to the curation facility.

Depending on the provenience of the donated collection, curation facilities include:

  • University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History
  • Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
  • Chachalu Museum and Culture Center of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde
  • Tamástslikt Cultural Institute of The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
  • The Museum at Warm Springs of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation

Founding members of the Collections Committee are David Minick, Dr. Patrick O’Grady, and Dan Stueber.

As it is currently configured, the committee facilitates movement of the collection to a repository through multiple lines of communication. Committee member David Minick documents each collection through professional quality photography, creating a treasured record for the family and the OAS and a means for showing the collection to various repositories to determine interest. Lithic analyst Daniel Stueber evaluates each collection for archaeological significance. Patrick O’Grady serves as a liaison between the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History Curation Facility and other repositories, and a source for student labor to catalog collections when needed. The OAS committee reduces the effort on both sides of the transfer, offering peace of mind to the owners and delivery to the repository that reduces the time and effort, and consequently, expense, for museum staff.

To contact us to discuss your family’s collection, send an email to:
oascollectionsprogram@oregonarchaeological.org

We look forward to hearing from you, and to helping preserve your collection
for future generations in the Pacific Northwest.