Willamette Heritage Center adds to the depth of Salem's history and historic resources

Last September, Mission Mill Museum and the Marion County Historical Society announced the two groups would be merging to form a unique partnership, which became a reality January 1, 2010 with the creation of the Willamette Heritage Center.

The fusion of Mission Mill and Marion County Historical Society strengthens the attractiveness of both organizations and further enhances our region's clout as a major heritage destination. The Willamette Heritage Center will provide enrichment to the region's culture, history, artifact collection, interpretation, preservation and overall education of our community. It opens doors to new opportunities and programs - such as a potential national heritage area designation for the Willamette Valley, and an opportunity to gain accreditation from the American Association of Museums, which in turn would strengthen support for future tours and exhibits.

According to Travel Salem's Visitor Profile study conducted by Dean Runyan Associates, 41 percent of all Salem area visitors are very satisfied with the historic attractions; and visiting a historic attraction is one of the top three activities that visitors enjoy while in the region. Travel Salem works to promote Salem as a heritage destination because cultural and heritage visitors are also interested in wine, outdoor recreation and a variety of interests that can be found in abundance in the Salem area.

Visitors are looking for an experience - a meaningful and authentic experience. Salem's historic attractions have done a wonderful job of creating that kind of experience for visitors through living history, exhibits, holiday lights, teas, wine dinners, concerts, education and special events. Blending the gems of history with all of the attractions of the region make the Salem area a vibrant and sought after destination.

The creativity and forward thinking of and the collaborative initiative is a perfect example of Salem's pioneering spirit, and illustrates what can be accomplished with innovation and a united vision. Travel Salem salutes our historic partners and the new Willamette Heritage Center!

~ Angie Morris, President and CEO of Travel Salem
*Originally printed in Statesman Journal, 1/31/10

Additional Resources