The High Desert Museum has been inspiring families since 1982 and is consistently rated as the top Central Oregon attraction by Trip Advisor. With 135 acres and more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Museum, it’s a “must see” for anyone travelling through – or living in – the region. Get a close-up view of native wildlife, such as river otters, porcupines and badgers. Talk with historic characters who share tales of early Oregon explorers and settlers. Visit an authentic homestead and sawmill from 1904.
Experience a close encounter with owls, falcons, hawks and even a vulture. Learn about Native American culture and history, and delight your children with one of many fun, hands-on programs that bring history and science to life.
The High Desert Museum is located just five minutes south of Bend, Oregon on Hwy 97, and includes a Museum store and café. Open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July.
Donald M. Kerr
Donald M. Kerr, a native of Portland, Oregon, was very aware of the preciousness of the High Desert landscape and its abundant life and fragility. He was a teacher to the core and felt strongly that if people were provided with good information, they would make wise decisions about this place he loved.
He determined that the best way to help people see what he saw and feel what he felt, to become stewards of this place and its resources, was to create the High Desert Museum. When he set his sights on something, the word “no” dropped from his vocabulary.
But it kept showing up, especially among potential donors. When Don told Robert Chandler, editor and publisher of The Bulletin, what he planned, Chandler said, “You need to get a real job. This’ll never work.” Don persisted and Bob Chandler became one of the Museum’s strongest supporters.
When the Museum opened in 1982, not even Don Kerr could he have imagined how those seeds of wonder, discovery and connection to place that he planted would blossom and grow, educate and enrich, hundreds of thousands of children and adults who come from near and far to experience what Don created.
2021 Board of Trustees
Executive Director: Dana Whitelaw
Board Chair: Ryan Hagemann
Collections Chair: Cameron Kerr
Finance Chair: Lori Ray
Development Chair: Tom Triplett
Governance Chair: Nelson Mathews
Ryan W. Bounds
Gail Hayes Davis
Peter J. Hall
Life Trustee: Michael P. Hollern
2021 Advisory Council: