About the Museum

Plan Your Visit

Check out current exhibits and daily programs, find directions, rates, hours and more.

Kids & Families

Explore Together

Learn about kid-friendly exhibits, activities, camps and more.


Teach & Learn

Lifelong learning starts here! Explore teacher trainings, memorable field trips and unique school programs.

Join the HDM Family

Make an Impact

Volunteer, become a member or donate to support arts, education, wildlife and more.

The Museum

History & Art

Otters, porcupines, owls, oh my! Encounter wildlife up close, explore the history and culture of the wild West and take in beautiful art. The High Desert Museum is a cultural gem set on 135 acres of awe. It’s no wonder visitors voted us one of the best things to do in Bend Oregon!


  •  02.01.24
     4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

A quieter time for children and adults who experience physical, intellectual and/or social disabilities to enjoy the High Desert Museum after hours. Explore the Museum’s newest exhibitions and revisit your favorites. Sensory packs are available to borrow with headphones, fidgets and more. 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm FREE for individuals, friends and family With support (more…)

  •  02.05.24
     7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Across the West, assorted dams block critical waterways and halt native fish migration. Opened in late 2019, the Opal Springs volitional fish passage project offers one pathway for native fish to bypass the site’s dam and access the Crooked River. Please join Chris Gannon, director of the Crooked River Watershed Council, to learn how steelhead (more…)

  •  02.13.24
     6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

  Please join us for our Annual Meeting with Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D., to hear about the Museum’s recent accomplishments and upcoming plans. Afterward will be festivities for our Member Appreciation Night. 6:00 pm — 7:30 pm Members free, member guests $5 Hors d’oeuvres, no-host bar   (more…)

  •  02.24.24
     10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Everyone gets in FREE!  10:00 am – 4:00 pm (more…)


10.21.23 -

Photography, History

Wolves: Photography by Ronan Donovan

Imagine taking an intimate look into the lesser-known lives of wild wolves through the lens of a decorated National Geographic photographer. Set to debut at the High Desert Museum on Saturday, October 21, the travelling exhibition Wolves: Photography by Ronan Donovan offers Museum visitors that remarkable opportunity. The stunning exhibition, created by the National Geographic Society and the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, will feature Donovan’s images and videos of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and on Ellesmere Island in the high Canadian Artic. Since 2014, the National Geographic Explorer and photographer has examined the relationship between wild wolves and humans to better understand the animals, our shared history and what drives the persistent human-wolf conflict.

11.11.23 -


Endangered in the High Desert

It’s been 50 years since Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a law that aims to protect vulnerable species from extinction. The ESA is often associated with the 1990 listing of the northern spotted owl. But there are other species in the High Desert, some lesser known, that face the threat of extinction, including the whitebark pine, the pygmy rabbit and the Oregon spotted frog. Visit the Museum’s new exhibit Endangered in the High Desert to explore the past, present and future of this region’s endangered species.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services named the High Desert Museum as one of six recipients of the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.

The Museum was recognized for providing dynamic programming and services through community outreach, working to create programs that offer rich educational programming and expand museum access.