For the Baker City Herald
Baker Heritage Museum opened with new exhibits this season, but don’t worry if you missed last year’s — those have just moved to a different, permanent home within the building.
The Central Gallery now features “Baker County Fairs, 4-H and Agriculture.”
This display explores Baker County’s roots, featuring historic photos various crops (hay, rye, wheat, onions, cherries, peaches and strawberries).
One whole panel is dedicated to explaining the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted homesteaders 160 acres. They could file for a deed or title after five years, or buy it at $1.25 an acre after six months.
The Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 enlarged the parcels to 320 acres.
Chris Cantrell, museum director, said this new exhibit complements the new “Cattle Production in Baker County” exhibit located in the main gallery.
The 4-H section features all the Fair Families so far selected for the Baker fair, as well as many trophies, banners and historic photos. One display case is dedicated to home ec, with all the kitchen gadgets needed for preserving food.
Still in process is a remodel of the mining exhibit, located in the back corner of the main gallery. A gravel floor lays the scene for mining tools, a replica mine shaft featuring a full-size historic photo, and a mural that becomes three-dimensional into a sluice box.
Nearby is the exhibit “Lost Towns of Baker County,” many of which boomed during the mining era.
Upstairs, at the east end of the balcony, is a new display for the Palmer Optical Shop, thanks to a donation from Dick and Marge Haynes.
Palmer Bros. Jewelry and Optical Shop was located at 1801 Main St., the current home of Kicks (the original safe is now the dressing room).
Last year’s featured exhibit dedicated to Wally Byam and Airstream trailers has moved upstairs to its permanent home.
The museum is now open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors (60 and older) and youth age 13-17, and free for those 12 and younger.
For more information, call 541-523-9308 or visit the website www.bakerheritagemuseum.com.