Bowman Museum in Prineville – Central Oregon Attractions

Bowman Museum showcases the best of the West

If you are looking for something to do that isn’t too far away from Bend, consider a trip to the Bowman Museum located in downtown Prineville. The main part of the Museum is in what used to be the Crook County Bank building, built in 1910. You walk past bank teller cages and through the vault doors as you explore the Museum. Downstairs there are displays on the railroad, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Prineville Hotshots, local sports, and an interesting firearms exhibit.View of the Bowman Museum in Prineville Oregon

There is a great collection of books for sale near the Museum’s entrance. Many relate to regional and local history. There are also nature related books and several novels.

Bowman Museum in Prineville, OregonUpstairs, themed rooms show some of the ways people lived and the services they used. A dining table sits ready to feed a large family. A medical office shows what a typical exam room looked like. Be sure to pull open the drawers to get a closer look at some of the medical tools of the time. A tack room contains intricately designed saddles and bridles as well as more utilitarian chaps and lassos. A general store shows some of the items early settlers purchased.

Crook County History Center

In 2012, the Crook County History Center opened in an adjoining building. Displays along one wall focus on the local cattle business, the roles women played in the family and business, local businesses and events, and Native Americans. In one corner of this building there is a research library maintained by The Genealogical Society. Another room is devoted to the history of Les Schwab and his now thriving business. The company started in Prineville with the purchase of a run-down tire business.

Crook County History Center in Prineville, Oregon   The Timber Exhibit Hall has lifelike models of ponderosa pines shading parts of the exhibit. You will learn about the history of logging in the area and the process a log goes through in becoming usable in a variety of ways. Open the cabinet doors and look inside for a few examples of wood products.

Here are a few facts learned on a recent visit with Bend Park and Recreation District. Be sure to visit the Bowman Museum to see what new things you can discover.

  • When the railroad bypassed Prineville and decided to build the rail lines to Bend, the city of Prineville voted to fund their own line. They thought it would cost $100,000 but it ended up costing $300,000.Crook County History Center in Prineville, Oregon
  • Loggers who used the two-man whipsaw burned 8,000 calories a day.
  • Unlike some other North American tribes, the Northern Paiute were able to retain much of their language.

 

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