In addition to the library, the Oregon Historical Society houses exhibits relating to the history of the Far West. In 1892, the Portland Art Association, a group of the city's civic leaders, founded the Portland Art Museum, and then later established a school of fine arts. The University of Oregon in Eugene has a museum of art. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a privately funded science center in Portland. Several museums, such as Fort Dalles Museum and the Heritage Museum in Independence, have displays of local history. The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center/Wasco County Historical Museum, opened in 1997 and located in The Dalles, houses exhibits on regional as well as natural history. The Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, which opened in 1998 on the Umatilla Reservation, documents the tribal history and contemporary life of the Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Cayuse. The institute is one of five museums and interpretive centers located along the route of the historic Oregon Trail through the state of Oregon.
The development of libraries in Oregon began in 1842 with a circulating library in Oregon City. The number of private libraries in the territory grew from 3 in 1850 to about 30 by 1860. The Library Association of Portland, which was privately maintained when it was founded in 1864, became a public library in 1902. Over the course of the intervening years, the Association grew into the Multnomah County Library system, which is now the state’s largest public library system. The Oregon State Library in Salem, organized in 1905, provides information to state government agencies, serves as the Oregon regional library for the blind and print-disabled, and works with local communities to improve their library services. In the 1950s, federal funds were made available under the Library Services Act for the extension of library services to rural areas.
The state now has 125 libraries serving its residents. Each year the libraries circulate an average of 14.5 books for each resident, one of the highest rates in the country. The library of the University of Oregon and those of other colleges and universities maintain important academic holdings. Among the special collections in Oregon’s libraries are the Shakespeare collection at the Southern Oregon University library, the Finnish books in Astoria Public Library, and the reference library of the Oregon Historical Society in Portland. "Oregon" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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