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Oregon: Portland – Portland Art Museum

We have lived in Oregon for nearly 15 years and have visited Portland on numerous occasions, and have been to many of the city’s attractions, but we have never made it to the Portland Art Museum. So, when our son bought us tickets to go, we were very excited.

About the Museum.

The largest museum in Oregon and the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Art Museum was founded in late 1892 when seven leaders from Portland’s business and cultural institutions created the Portland Art Association. The goal of the Association was to create a first-class art museum that would be accessible to all citizens.

The Museum purchased its first collection, approximately one hundred plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculptures, with a gift of $10,000 from prominent local citizen Henry Corbett.

Now with a collection consisting of some 42,000 objects, the Portland Art Museum is one of the leading cultural institutions in the Pacific Northwest. 

The Collections

The Museum covers a wide range of styles. Whilst appreciating the quality and brilliance of traditional European art, it is our least favourite area of an art museum to visit. But nonetheless, we did take time to stroll through the galleries of European and American classic art and to be fair there were several pieces that caught my eye.

Formal Gallery
Can't help be reminded of the juke 'How much dies a Grecian urn?'

We love, love contemporary art in whatever form it takes. Luckily, for us, the Portland Art Museum has a lot to offer.

Cover of album of original prints from Vollard Gallery - Pierre Bonnard
The Lie - Félix Vallotton
Art in the form of an electronic circuit board
William Morris wallpaper
'The composer Paul Terrasse and his two sons' - Pierre Bonnard

Portland has a long history of trade and cultural interchange with East Asia, and this engagement is reflected in the Portland Art Museum’s Asian art collection. The origins of the collection can be traced to work donated by some of the Museum’s founding trustees. The collection has grown steadily, especially in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean artworks, the majority of which have been gifts from Portland individuals and families. Exhibited on the main floor of the Main Building, the Asian art collection today totals nearly 4,000 objects.

The Portland Art Museum also has a fine collection of Native American Art. We were very impressed by the wide variety of pieces from traditional clothing and sculptures to the work of modern artists.

As well as celebrating Native American culture the Portland Art Museum also supports the work of African American artists.

Basketball art

In conclusion …

We really enjoyed our time at the Portland Art Museum and only wish we had discovered it sooner. Everything above is a permanent exhibition, but they have temporary exhibitions too. During our visit, they had an exhibition of Egyptian art, which we didn’t really fancy. So, if you plan to visit check out their website and see what special exhibitions they have coming up.

About the Portland Art Museum

Address:1219 SW Park Ave, Portland
Website:https://portlandartmuseum.org/
Telephone:(503) 226-2811
Hours:Wednesday to Monday: 10 am to 5:30 pm, Closed Tuesdays
Fees
Adult: $18.95, Senior (65+): $16.25, Student (with ID): $15.25, Youth (6-17): $13.50, Child (5 and under): Free

Getting to and around Portland

Portland is a very easy city to get to. The Portland International airport is located on the east side of the city and is served by numerous airlines including some low-cost carriers. It is a relatively small airport and easy to navigate get around. There is an extension of the Portland light rail service that is close to the airport that will take you right into the heart of the city.

Getting to Portland by car is also easy with major freeways running from the North, South (Interstate 5) and the East (Interstate 84). Seattle is about 175 miles north of Portland and San Francisco is 640 miles to the south.

There is an excellent public transport system serving the Portland metro area, including light rail and busses. It is also a walkable city, so when we visit we usually like to walk as much as possible.

Best time to visit Portland

The best time to visit Portland is from June to August, when consistently warm weather allows the city’s outdoorsy culture to thrive. Plus, summer is when the city’s roses (especially at the International Rose Test Garden) are in full bloom. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so you’ll have to book at least a couple months in advance to ensure availability and the best room rates. If you’re looking to score a bargain on a hotel, consider a winter trip. Chilly temperatures repel sightseers, but Portland’s proximity to Mount Hood makes it a great destination for winter sports enthusiasts. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find a variety of niche local events to choose from.

Where to stay?

1. SOCIETY HOTEL

The Society Hotel is located in the heart of Portland’s China Town. The building was built in 1881 by the Seaman’s Friends Society as a safe haven for sailors.  Several years after The Seaman’s Friends Society opened as a hotel, the business began to dwindle, and the building was eventually rented to the Portland Hospital for one year.  In 2013 a group of entrepreneurs purchased the building with the intention of revitalizing it into something lasting and that would have a positive impact on the area.

The hotel is located in Chinatown and is only a 10-minute walk from the fashionable Pearl District and 20 minutes from the main downtown areas.

2. HI PORTLAND NORTHWEST

We recently stayed at the HI Portland Northwest hostel during a short visit to Portland. I had booked us into a private room which was fantastic with double bay windows on two sides of the room.

Apparently, this is considered the 3rd best hostel in the world and you can see why. The common facilities, from the lounge to the community kitchen are wonderful. There is also a cafe that serves great food and craft beers!

The hostel is located only a few minutes from the popular Pearl District and other shopping areas

3. THE VINTAGE HOTEL

The Hotel Vintage – a Kimpton Hotel is located at 422 SW Broadway, on the corner of Broadway and Washington. The hotel is centrally located in the heart of downtown Portland – just 6 blocks from the waterfront and in the heart of downtown Portland’s shopping, dining, entertainment and business district. One block away is Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square and access to MAX, our convenient light rail system. Pioneer Place Mall is located one block away and has 70 speciality shops. Close to several theatres, Portland’s art museum and restaurants.

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