The High Desert region is a complex landscape that features more than just sagebrush. This exhibit explains the role of forests and their dynamic nature in an arid environment. Learn about nutrient cycles, soils, impacts, wildlife and the influences of the dynamic trio: water, sunlight and air in the life cycle of a changing forest.
One of the first things you see when you enter the Museum grounds is a little white building with a green roof. It’s an authentic forest ranger office from the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, built in 1933.
Authentic 1904 sawmill. See an authentic sawmill that was used at the turn of the 20th century to process wood with an enormous blade slicing through thick Oregon timber.
Get a close-up look at some of nature’s most spectacular predators – owls, hawks, eagles, falcons and even vultures. There are Charisma and Kokanee the bald eagles, Nicholas the golden eagle, Luna the great horned owl and more.
The Autzen Otter Exhibit is located outdoors and includes both outdoor and indoor viewing areas. Recently renovated, the outdoor glass walls provide great viewing for kids and those in wheelchairs to watch the otters.
Stop by and see what life was like for local homesteaders more than a hundred years ago. Mrs. Miller will get your kids to do the chores they may refuse to do at home: digging in the garden, washing the laundry, or cross-cutting firewood. And when they’re finished, they can enjoy playing some frontier games. On the weekends during the winter months, stop by and warm up by the stove while listening to tales of yesteryear.
Blanket Stories: Talking Stick, Works Progress, Steward was created by Portland-based artist Marie Watt for the Museum’s 2016 exhibition Art for a Nation: Inspiration from the Great Depression. In the spirit of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Museum commissioned Watt to create two sculptures for the exhibition: one from wood and one from blankets.
Honeysuckle, Juniper and Tumbleweed are a family of porcupines who live at the museum. Tumbleweed is a male porcupine who stars in our summer Desert Dwellers program. His mother, Honeysuckle, and his sister, Juniper, are females housed together in our natural habitat exhibit located in the Schnitzer Entrance Hall, just inside the Museum doors.
While bobcats are endemic to the High Desert, they are rarely encountered. They can thrive in woodlands and drier desert landscapes, and having a bobcat allows visitors to connect and learn how it can adapt to different habitats, including those inhabited by humans.
Meet some creatures of the High Desert in our Desertarium. Despite harsh conditions, the High Desert is teeming with life. Lizards, snakes and tortoises are well equipped for the dry climate and sandy soil, and where there’s water, there are turtles, frogs, salamanders and many species of fish.