While outdoor recreation is a huge draw for Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory, many people come here to take in the cultural tourism assets that make The Territory such a unique destination. The story of Oregon's rich history and diverse culture is told at the many museums throughout The Territory and the talents of the many artists are on display at galleries both indoors and out. The passions of our performing artists are showcased at productions in theaters and play houses throughout The Territory.
Lake Oswego's Gallery Without Walls is an ever-growing walking tour of the city now featuring 66 sculptures from numerous local artists. The pieces are chosen by the Arts Council of Lake Oswego and local residents and displayed at prominent public locations. A walking tour has been developed that changes each year to include the latest works. You can take the self-guided option and visit the works of art yourself or contact the Arts Council to set up a docent-lead tour. Either way, you are bound to find some truly captivating sculptures.
While you're in Lake Oswego, take in the performing arts and head over to the Lakewood Center for the Arts to catch a show. The Lakewood Theatre offers a full schedule year-round with dramas, comedies and other critically-acclaimed productions.
Clackamas Community College's theater program, the Clackamas Repertory Theatre, is well known for great performances from their student casts. The shows take place at the beautiful Osterman Theater, with a playlist that includes musicals, comedies and dramas.
Over on the east side of The Territory is the Sandy Actor's Theatre. Also offering year-round performances, they are currently staging Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park" to be followed in April with Paul Osborn's "Morning's at Seven."
History buffs are truly in their element in The Territory. There are numerous heritage sites and museums that put a spotlight on the storied past of Oregon's history. Walk in the footsteps of the early pioneers along the remnants of the Barlow Road, following the emigrant trail from around Mt. Hood to Oregon City. You can still see the ruts in the trail caused by the many thousands of wagons hundreds of years ago.
While many people are familiar with The Oregon Trail from elementary school social studies classes (or playing the computer game as a kid) The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center tells a fuller version of the story, bringing to life through interactive exhibits the real experiences of pioneers who made the journey westward.
Kids can experience first-hand what life was like for the early settlers to Oregon at Philip Foster Farm starting in May. Hands on activities include grinding corn, using the crosscut and taking part in the games pioneer kids used to play in centuries past. Their time at the museum will help them see what life was once like for their settler counterparts, while also clarifying how much different life is today.
The Molalla Museum Complex houses a number of exhibits and culturally significant buildings, including two homes listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The history of both the Native American tribes indigenous to the area and pioneers is chronicled here, painting a complete picture of life in this part of Oregon in the 1800s.
One place to immerse yourself in history is at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. The lodge was commissioned as a WPA (Works Project Administration) project to help put Oregonians back to work during the Great Depression. Nearly a century later the lodge continues to provide employment and recreational opportunities to millions of people a year who take in the intricate carvings, stained glass work and other original touches that make the lodge such a unique destination.
Also keeping that tradition of artistry alive in the mountains is the Cascadia Center for Arts and Crafts. Formerly known as the Arts Cabins, studio space for numerous media has been crafted out of a series of cabins dotted in the Mt. Hood National Forest surrounding Government Camp. Scenic settings combined with classes taught by experts in fields such as blacksmithing, glass work, fiber and other media keep alive the WPA era techniques that make The Timberline Lodge. New programs are planned for the coming year, and will soon be outlined on their website.