In the mid-19th century, the Oregon Territory was a land of promise and plenty. Thousands of hardy individuals set out along the Oregon Trail, crossing a vast and rugged country to reach the fertile valleys of this region. Others came by ship around Cape Horn. At this compelling museum, you’ll learn about the people who “discovered” Oregon—along with the folks who were here 12,000-or-so years before they arrived. The permanent exhibit “Oregon, My Oregon” offers 50 different displays of artifacts and re-created environments, telling the story of the state from many different perspectives—Native American, settler, 20th century immigrants, and more. Everything from a 9,000-year-old sandal made out of sagebrush to a lunch counter salvaged from Newberry’s downtown department store is on display. Museum docents, with roots stretching back to the days of the Oregon Trail, are often on hand to answer questions. Tip: The temporary shows are usually too specialized to be of general interest, so concentrate instead on the permanent exhibit and the Northwest Art Gallery, which presents an overview of Oregon artists.