Impressive eight-story-high trompe l'oeil murals of Lewis and Clark and the Oregon Trail cover two sides of this downtown museum, which follows the state's story from prehistoric times to the present. A pair of 9,000-year-old sagebrush sandals, a covered wagon, and an early chainsaw are displayed in "Oregon My Oregon," a permanent exhibit that provides a comprehensive overview of the state's past. Other spaces host large traveling exhibits and changing regional shows.
The center's research library is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday; its bookstore is a good source for maps and publications on Pacific Northwest history. Every month the Oregon Historical Society has a day on which kids are admitted for free. Check the website for dates.