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Circa 1920 Now Open at the Benton County Museum

Guest Author | 02/13/2018 | Art Galleries, Arts and Culture, Family Friendly, History

“Circa 1920: Roaring into the Modern Age” is 2018's year-long exhibition, now open at Benton County Museum, in Philomath, Oregon. The exhibition provides an opportunity to reflect on the similarities and differences of life in America 100 years ago as illustrated through the objects in our museum collections.

The social and economic structure of American society changed radically from 1914 to 1925. Women’s right to vote, migration from farm to city, expansion of big business and resulting income inequality, restriction on immigration and rising nationalism (among other issues) were embraced by some and rejected by others.

It was a time of technological change as well: airplane technology developed rapidly during World War I, automobile use increased seven-fold and road-building proliferated, and electricity became widely available and “modernized” the home. The Panama Canal was completed during this era, which shortened the route from New York to San Francisco by nearly 8,000 miles.

Many of the objects on display were part of the Horner Museum collection, formerly at Oregon State University. General U.G. McAlexander, known as “The Rock of the Marne”, donated many personal artifacts from his WWI experience. Hand-painted porcelain by Royal Doulton painter O.H. Copson are also on display. Themes in the exhibition include art, fashion, music, the influenza epidemic, troops at the Mexican border, World War I, the Panama Canal, prohibition, technology in the home, community developments and transportation technology.

About the Benton County Museum
Enjoy a visit to Oregon’s past AND present! Located six miles west of Corvallis on Hwy 20/34, at 1101 Main Street, Philomath, Oregon, the Benton County Historical Society operates the Museum facilities for the preservation of history and culture. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 4:30pm. Admission is always free.

Article by Mark Tolonen of the Benton County Historical Society.

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