The Children’s Museum of Eastern Oregon will provide children of all ages with opportunities for educational exploration and development through interactive exhibits and play.
The idea of the Children’s Museum of Eastern Oregon began with a group of 22 community members who were brought together by Debbie McBee in June, 1995. This group formed a Steering Committee which envisioned the development of a hands-on activity museum for children and families that would be open on weekday and weekends. They believed that hands-on play is one of the most important tools for children to learn about themselves and their world.
After the formation of the Steering Committee, there were several public meetings held that involved nearly 300 people to obtain input and vision from the community on what the museum should offer to visitors. This brainstorming and teamwork lead to the development of nearly 15 exhibits ready for fun on opening day. In July of 1995, a Board of Directors was formed, who developed the organizational structure and bylaws of the organization. On November 1, 1995, the Children’s Museum of Eastern Oregon was incorporated in the State of Oregon, and was later granted tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. After a huge community effort and collaboration, the Children’s Museum of Eastern Oregon then officially opened in August, 1996.
In 2001, the Museum temporarily closed due to financial challenges, but an overwhelming outpouring of community support allowed the doors to re-open and ensured that the Museum could continue to serve the families of the community. Shortly thereafter, the building housing the Museum in downtown Pendleton was purchased from the East Oregonian with the financial support of the Meyer Memorial Trust. The East Oregonian sold the building to the Museum at a cost well below market value helping the Children’s Museum of Eastern Oregon to become a permanent cultural attraction for the region. The Museum will forever be grateful to both the East Oregonian and the Meyer Memorial Trust for making this possible.
Since then, the Children’s Museum of Eastern Oregon continues to provide unique exhibits, hands-on programming, and fun experiences for children and families to the Eastern Oregon community.