OREGON SPORTS HALL OF FAME and MUSEUM
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: AN EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE
The Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum was founded in 1978. In the beginning, the Hall of Fame’s purpose was simply to preserve a rich legacy of athletic excellence in the State of Oregon. As the organization grew and evolved, the purpose evolved as well. The purpose today is best described by the Hall of Fame’s mission statement:
To recognize and appreciate Oregon’s rich athletic history. Our goal is for this legacy to inspire participation in sport and foster awareness of the values and life-long rewards gained from this participation.
The organization is built on the premise that the lessons of sports have a tremendous impact on society. Sports provide a unique opportunity for self-discovery. This is especially true for children, who learn about their physical capabilities, confronting both physical and mental challenges everyday in practice. With proper guidance, they learn that hard work and perseverance bring results.
Sports also provide an opportunity for all kinds of people from differing backgrounds to interact with and enjoy each other. The values gained from team work result from individual competitors making themselves part of a greater effort. The lessons of sports provide valuable guidance in the quest for a happier, healthier and more productive life. Sports do more than help participating individuals have better lives. Sports serve society by educating youth regarding the virtues of pursuing excellence within the principles of fair play, team work, friendship, solidarity, and a mutual understanding and respect for human dignity.
HOW WE TEACH THE IMPORTANCE OF SPORTS
Preservation of history, regardless of the discipline, is extremely valuable. It identifies the people, the challenges and the triumphs of the past. It provides insight into the human spirit. This motivation is a key reason that the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame was created and continues to this day: the many dedicated board members, volunteers, important employees, and generous donors and members of the Hall of Fame make it possible for our organization to serve its stated mission.
The organization started out small; without staff or budget, it was literally just a group of extremely dedicated people. In 1980 that group selected the first class of inductees and an event developed from that: the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame Annual Induction Ceremony. Membership drives, board recruitment and annual induction ceremonies followed, still with no paid staff or funding base. The Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (OSHFM) gained strength and stature, in these early years, as a volunteer organization.
Since 1984, a major component of the Hall of Fame’s educational emphasis is the high school scholarship program which annually awards six $3,000 scholarships. Over the years, we have awarded scores of scholarships to deserving student-athletes. Each year recipients are chosen from dozens of outstanding applicants for having best met the criteria of academic achievement, athletic accomplishments and financial need. This valuable program has enabled fine student-athletes to attend a variety of Oregon schools while beginning a lifetime of lasting accomplishments.
The OSHFM hired its first paid staff person in 1985. Exhibits were built through volunteer labor and donated materials. The annual induction ceremony grew and became a “must-see” event for sport enthusiasts. The Board of Directors saw the value in having an ongoing platform to pursue the mission of showing how sports are an important part of the community.
Beginning in 1990, the OSHFM carefully investigated the feasibility of having its own museum to display artifacts and create exhibits that told the story of Oregon’s sports history and the role such history played in the overall history of the state. Over the next seven years, the OSHFM planned its museum, raised $1.2 million in private funding and built what was considered to be one of the best sports museums in the country. The new museum opened to the public in 1997.
Over the years, the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum hosted numerous important and well-received exhibits to complement our standing exhibits and our ongoing programs such as the Induction Ceremony. Some noteworthy exhibits include:
- An Olympic exhibit from the U.S. Holocaust Museum: The Nazi Olympics: Hitler’s Use and Abuse of Sports. This powerful exhibit showed the courage of Jesse Owens and other African American and Jewish athletes putting the lie to Hitler’s propaganda of a superior race.
- We hosted an exhibit highlighting the importance of baseball as a society focal point for Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II.
- We curated and hosted several exhibits highlighting Oregon’s connection to the Olympic Games. These exhibits included visits from Oregon Olympians and impressive displays of medals and other Olympic artifacts.
- We hosted several auto-racing exhibits with cars of various sizes on display, showing the ingenuity and skill of race car builders and drivers.
- We created several expansive exhibits celebrating Oregon sports, such as the Civil War Game and the Trailblazers.
In mid-2008, the museum was closed due to corporate expansion needs of the museum’s landlord. The Hall of Fame and Museum’s extensive collection of exhibits and memorabilia is now displayed at the Oregon Sports Offices at 4840 SW Western Avenue in Beaverton, and selectively at various events and venues, such as at the Oregon History Museum, Providence Sports Medicine Clinic and the Multnomah Athletic Club. The Hall of Fame is actively seeking venue partners to display our collection and exhibits and spread our message that sports are an important part of society.
In addition to a museum and displaying our collection, the OSHFM continues to educate kids and the public about the benefits of sports through our primary programs:
- The Oregon Sports Hall of Fame Annual Induction Ceremony. Hundreds attend each year and thousands watch the program on Comcast Sports.
- Our website, which has had many added features and information. Please follow the links to our YouTube channel and Facebook page. With these new media outlets we are able to reach more people than ever.
- The Oregon Sports Hall of Fame television series: Great Athletes, Great Oregonians. This was aired on Comcast Sports and is available by DVD.
- The radio segments on the Bald Faced Truth program hosted by John Canzano: Tales of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
- The Hall of Fame Scholarship Program continues to award scholarships to outstanding student athletes attending Oregon colleges.
- We have just completed a comprehensive archiving and memorializing of our collection, making access to our artifacts and information much easier.