CORVALLIS - Oregon State University has reached agreement-in-principle with the Benton County Historical Society to manage the university's Horner Collection, which has more than 60,000 artifacts, photographs and documents.
The collaborative venture will become official this Tuesday, Aug. 4, when officials from the two organizations sign the agreement. The ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. at the Benton County History Center in Corvallis.
Since OSU's Horner Museum closed in June of 1993 due to a lack of funding, the artifacts have sat in the basement of Gill Coliseum, according to Kevin McCann, director of community and government relations for the university.
"The Benton County Historical Society is launching a fund-raising campaign for a new building to safely store not only their own artifacts, but those of the Horner Collection," McCann said. "We have developed a contract with the society to manage the Horner Collection during the fund-raising process, and when the new building is complete, we will transfer ownership of the materials to the Benton County Historical Society.
"We are excited to have access to the historical society's professional expertise, and to have a local home for the collection," McCann added.
The Horner Collection artifacts focus not only on the history and fauna of the Pacific Northwest, they offer exposure to Native American cultures throughout the U.S., as well as cultures of Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America and Polynesia.
Prior to its closure, Horner Museum drew an average of 42,000 visitors annually.
The Horner Collection has an endowment through the OSU Foundation which the university will still manage, McCann said. The money will still support the educational, research and outreach goals of the collection.
"The Horner Collection is a valuable resource and we're ecstatic that the people of Oregon will once again have access to its materials," McCann said.