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Byline: Christine Sherk The Register-Guard

For each item in the display cases at the U.S. Cavalry and American Indian Museum in Blue River, there's a story.

Coho Miner, of Ojibwe and Cherokee-Choctaw descent, points out a tiny basket made by renowned Tohono O'odahm artist Annie Antone. "It's the story of woman," she says, pointing to the tiny bud motif that blossoms across the basket into a full rose.

Antone made the minuscule basket for Miner in appreciation. Miner first had purchased at auction a basket Antone's mother had made. Antone was so grateful because her mother had taught her everything she knew about basketmaking, but had never received much fame from her own handwork - certainly not the fame Annie Antone has gained through her intricate basketwork.

Side by side sit mother and daughter's baskets in the display case, and nearby is a gnarly ball of devil's claw, the material Antone used to make the basket. "Can you imagine?" Miner asks. "Making this tiny basket from that?"

Miner's American Indian artifacts fill a large portion of the museum she and her husband, Ron, opened in 2012. The items reflect artistry and practicality: a burden basket with a tump line that the user would attach to her head; arrows and atlatls; a mano and metate; a decorated travois.

Some of the items are recreations Miner has made, painstakingly, using traditional methods. Two parfleche boxes, crafted from rawhide and painted in geometric designs, illustrate one of the ways Native Americans transported belongings, much like a suitcase we would use today. Also, there's Miner's fringe dress in the shape of eagle's wings: "There's no way to walk in a fringe dress without being graceful," she says.

Opposite Miner's artifacts is husband Ron's collection of U.S. Cavalry equipment spanning from the Civil War through 1943 when the cavalry disbanded. Ron Miner has been collecting since he was 7 years old. "My primary interest is guns," he admits. "The history of them. The mechanics. It's all of deep interest to me."

Ron, an avid historical re-enactment participant, has collected carbines, pistols, revolvers, rifles, as well as uniforms, saddles and cavalry accessories to fill more than a dozen display cases organized by periods of war and conflict in U.S. Cavalry history.

These items have stories, too. Take the Civil War repeating carbine: "The very first one was a Spencer," he says pointing to the gleaming firearm in a case. "It was invented in 1860 but wasn't adopted by the cavalry until 1863. The story goes that the purchasers thought it was a waste of ammunition. But President Lincoln shot with it against a wood board and wondered, 'Where has this been?' So they adapted it and used it in the Battle of Gettysburg. They say that if they had used it earlier in the war it could have shortened the war."

Visiting with Coho and Ron Miner at their museum reveals how different they are, and yet, how their passion for collecting has bridged moments in time and cultures. They met as children going to school at McKenzie Bridge. They have been married for 22 years. "There is a big difference between the way I think and the way my husband thinks," Coho Miner says. "Our spaces reflect that."

Personal, eclectic histories

Special interest collections often reflect the personal, which is part of their appeal for visitors turning into the parking lot rather than driving on by.

At the Applegate Pioneer Museum in Veneta, many items have been donated by longtime families living in the Veneta area: quilts, shaving implements, kitchenware, tools, even family photographs. Veneta Hunter, the town's namesake, is visible in a photograph grouping. The museum, housed in a 100+-year-old schoolhouse built by George Briggs, moved from Crow to its present site in 2000. It sits now where the Johnson family's lumber mill used to be, explains longtime museum volunteer Richard Charboneau.

Inside the museum also is a washroom with a hand-crank washing machine. An addition was built in 2013 to house tools, machinery and a reading room with a near-complete set of Elmira High School yearbooks.

At the Conger Street Clock Museum in Eugene, owner J.D. Olson along with his wife, have been collecting for years. Clocks. Telephones and telegraph equipment. Electric trains. Toys. Household items. And more clocks. The couple stored their collections at home before he began incorporating them into his Creative Clocks repair shop space. Now, throughout the store, there are cabinets of wonder for visitors to enjoy. Almost everything didn't work, Olson says, when he purchased it. The challenge for him was to fix it, of course. Congreve's Rolling Ball Clock? Here. Even a pipe organ which used to sit in the University of Oregon's Beall Concert Hall.

Other collections, such as at the Bohemia Gold Mining Museum in Cottage Grove, illustrate the history of specific industries and technologies.

Duane Mayberry at the gold mining museum describes a time of great excitement and ingenuity during the gold rush on Bohemia Mountain in the late 1800s. "When they first found gold they didn't know how to process it, so they went down to Sutter's Mill in California to see how it worked. They saw how those guys were sawing lumber, using timber for everything. When they came back, all the material they got up there was from the trees they cut and milled on site. What they couldn't use for lumber they would use for firewood."

Old photographs reveal trees felled almost willy nilly beside ingenious snow sheds, stamp mills and a mountainside tram and pulley system for moving ore.

As for museum items, "A lot of this stuff has been found up there and people just bring it in for the museum," Mayberry says. Miners' lamps and hats, tools, cookware, assay kits - all are part of the story.

Follow Christine on Twitter @CSherkRG. Email

Museums in Lane County

Take time this summer to stop at some of the area's many historical and special interest museums.

Applegate Pioneer Museum: On the corner of Seventh and Broadway, Veneta. Specializes in history of local pioneer families, with items from personal collections given to the museum through the years. Includes quilts, kitchenware, tools, furniture, a washroom and a reading room. Open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. the first and third Sunday and the second and fourth Saturday of each month, or by appointment. Free; donations accepted. Call 541-935-1836.

Bohemia Gold Mining Museum: 737 E. Main St., Cottage Grove. Serves as a memorial to the gold mining era on Bohemia Mountain about 35 miles southeast of Cottage Grove. Displays mining equipment and a model stamp mill. Open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Note: The museum will be moving to the former Boots and Sandals Dance Barn at 10th and Jefferson in Cottage Grove in late July. Free; donations accepted. Call 541-942-5022.

Cottage Grove Museum: 147 North H St., Cottage Grove. Items on display capture history of Cottage Grove area. Open Friday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A $3 donation is suggested;

Conger Street Clock Museum at Creative Clocks: 730 Conger St. Owner J.D. Olson and his wife have been collecting clocks and all kinds of Americana for years. Displays include telephones and telegraph equipment, Lionel trains and many clocks, some dating as far back as the mid-1700s. Highlights include Congreve's Rolling Ball Clock and the mechanism of a tower clock from 1780. Free;

Creswell Historical Society and Museum: 55 N. Fifth St., Creswell. Open from March through November, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, and by appointment for groups. Exhibits of the Lost Wagon Train of 1853 and the Applegate Trail of 1846, with a miniature version of a Studebaker covered wagon. Free; donations accepted. Call 541-895-5464.

Eugene Telephone Pioneer Museum: 112 E. 10th Ave. Open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A snapshot of the area's telephone history, with examples of phones and phone systems used through the 1970s. Many highlights, including the phone booth that used to sit next to the Welcome Oregon sign near Collier Tunnel at the California-Oregon border. Open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays. Free; donations accepted. Call 541-484-8268.

Junction City Historical Society: The Lee House Museum, 655 Holly St. at Sixth Avenue, and the Pitney House Museum, 289 W. Fourth Ave., are open from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on every first Saturday of the month. Self-guided walking tours are encouraged; downloadable brochure online. Admission is free;

Lane County Historical Museum: 740 W. 13th Ave. Exhibits include logging equipment, transportation, Oregon Trail items of interest and a current exhibit on Oregon wine. Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for teens 15 to 17, free for children 14 and younger;

Oregon Air & Space Museum: 90377 Boeing Drive, near Eugene Airport. Depicts the history of Oregon's aviation heritage with aircraft and artifacts on display, including aircraft engines, fighter suits and gear, timelines and models. Summer hours April through October are from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for youths 6 to 17, free for children five and younger;

The Science Factory: 2300 Leo Harris Parkway. Children's museum with focus on science. With hands-on exhibits, special events and camps and an Exploration Dome. Current exhibit is Outreach to Space. Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with Exploration Dome open Saturday and Sunday. Admission ranges from $3 to $7;

Shelton McMurphey Johnson House: 303 Willamette St. This Victorian-era home of one of Eugene's first families displays period clothing, furniture, etc. Also, open for high tea on special dates. Open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children;

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum: 278 Maple St., Florence. Home to historic displays about the Siuslaw River area, including the lives of pioneers, loggers and fishermen. Information available for a self-guided historic walking tour. Open for summer hours from May through September, from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults, with children 16 and younger free if accompanied by an adult. Call 541-997-7884.

Springfield Museum: 590 Main St., Springfield. Includes exhibits about Springfield's history with photos, logging equipment as well as a life-size, cardboard replica of Matt Groening's Simpsons family. Current exhibit on the early art of printing. Open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday; from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. No admission fee; donations accepted;

University of Oregon Museum of Natural & Cultural History: 1680 E. 15th Ave. Exhibits of 300 million years of Northwest natural history; also a focus on the roadside geology of Oregon. Museum acquired the Arctic collection from former Jenson Arctic Museum in Monmouth in 2013. Open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; general admission is $5; youths 3 to 18 are $3; children younger than 2 are free;

U.S. Cavalry and American Indian Museum: 52281 McKenzie Highway, Blue River. Husband and wife Ron and Coho Miner display a full range of U.S. Cavalry equipment from the Civil War through the end of the Cavalry in 1943 as well as American Indian artifacts from the Northwest and the Southwest. Open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. No admission fee; donations are accepted. Call 541-822-1139.
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Title Annotation:Out and About
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 13, 2015
Previous Article:Spring into action with host of events.

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