Center Sights - Six Themes

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center uses exhibits, sound effects, video presentations as part of its permanent exhibit telling the story of the emigrant experience and the impact of the Oregon Trail.

The Center focuses on six themes related to westward migration and settlement:

  1. Pioneer Life on the Oregon Trail
  2. Mountain Men and early Trail Travelers
  3. Native Americans along the Oregon Trail
  4. Natural History along the Trail and in Eastern Oregon
  5. Mining and Early Settlement
  6. History of the General Land Office - Grazing Service - Bureau of Land Management.

Living history is used to literally bring to life aspects of the Trail experience. Presenters create factual and emotional perspectives of the era by using historically accurate words, music, songs, costuming, and props. In addition to an outdoor pioneer wagon encampment and a mining site, the 150 seat Leo Adler theater provides a "front row seat" to live history as the site of living history presentations and other educational programs.

An outdoor trail system provides four miles of hiking to see scenic vistas of the Blue Mountains, the Wallowa Mountains, and the Baker Valley and Virtue Flat, where the original route of the Oregon Trail can be clearly seen from atop Flagstaff Hill. Visitors may take one of the hiking trails down to the Oregon Trail, and walk in the actual ruts made by the pioneers.

Special exhibits in the Flagstaff Gallery provide extra focus on topics related to the six themes of the Center.