Who we are
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums and a trusted educational resource for communities throughout Oregon and the region. Through museum exhibitions, public programs at the museum and across the region, outdoor programs, traveling exhibitions, digital learning, and learning research and design, OMSI nourishes a lifelong love of science, curiosity and learning for diverse audiences.
OMSI's mission is to inspire curiosity through engaging science learning experiences, foster experimentation and the exchange of ideas, and stimulate informed action.
Our vision is to collaborate with partners to ignite an education transformation at the intersection of science, technology, and design. We will weave a thriving innovation district into the fabric of Portland that spreads opportunities across the Northwest.
OMSI is committed to working with partners and community members to include diverse perspectives in learning experiences, and dismantling systemic barriers by addressing disparities in our staffing, business practices, and public engagement. We participate in ongoing community conversations to evolve and create opportunities for all people to reach their full potential. We are committed to leading with racial equity.
In 1896, C. Hart Merriam challenged Oregonians to support a permanent site displaying Oregon’s rich natural resources. His suggestion was met with great enthusiasm by Oregonians who donated many of their own pieces in order to see his dream become reality. By 1906, Merriam’s dream became reality with a display established in Portland’s City Hall. This lasted until the 1930s when the City needed more space for offices. The public display was placed in storage until after the Great Depression and World War II.
Portland area civil engineer and museum enthusiast, J.C. Stevens, became a great supporter in the late 1930s, and was a driving force behind the museum’s reopening in 1946 at the Portland Hotel. Subsequent small exhibits occurred around town to generate interest and donations for a more permanent solution. In 1949, Ralph Lloyd hosted the temporary “Oregon Museum of Science and Industry” in his house on NE Hassalo Street, boasting the Northwest's first public planetarium and its 20-minute trip to the stars.
In 1951, OMSI sponsored the fossil expedition led by Lon and Berrie Hancock for young students to what later became the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. From that first rustic tent camp, Hancock Field Station (Camp Hancock) has grown into a permanent camp facility that hosts 3,000 students, campers, and families each year through outdoor school and summer camp programs.
With annual attendance swelling to over 25,000 in 1955 and the house scheduled for demolition to make room for the new Lloyd Center, the City Council stepped forward to lease land in Washington Park to OMSI for the sum of one dollar per year. Students across Oregon raised funds for the projects and in the spirit of pioneer barn-raisings, over 400 volunteer union bricklayers laid 102,000 bricks in one day, and on June 7, 1958, the dream of a dedicated, hands-on science museum became a reality.
By the mid-1980's, OMSI's popularity surpassed the size of its facility six times over and a new group of community leaders began a $32M campaign to build a state-of-the-art science center, culminating with a milestone donation from longtime supporter, Portland General Electric, of an 18.5-acre site that held a historic sawdust-fired power generation plant. On October 24, 1992, the new 219,000 square-foot facilities opened, adding the USS Blueback, the last non-nuclear powered submarine built by the U.S. Navy, just two years later.
In 2014, a generous gift from John Gray enabled OMSI to purchase a 20-acre site in Newport to build The Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray. Opening to outdoor school and summer camp programming in 2016, Camp Gray hosts 5,000 students, campers, and families each year through outdoor school and summer camp programs.
In the years since, OMSI has continued to update science learning experiences and spaces at the museum and in its remote locations. Today, the museum serves over 1 million visitors at the museum and through education programs around the region. OMSI is ranked as one of the top science centers in the United States and has an international reputation for its innovative exhibits and educational programs.
President and CEO
VP, Finance and Technology
Eric Buenrostro Azua
VP, People and Culture
VP, Marketing and Retail
VP, Real Estate
Our Board of Trustees
A special group of volunteers with a passion for the museum, our community, and science education.
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We are an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that receives no state or local tax support and relies on admissions, memberships and donations to continue our educational mission, programs and exhibits.