Our Collections

The Museum Collection

The High Desert Museum possesses a collection of approximately 29,000 objects from the Great Basin, Plateau and Pacific Northwest territories (includes portions of Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Idaho and California). The collections range from historic artifacts of the pioneer days to cultural artifacts from various Native American groups and consists of clothing, regalia, furniture, tools, archaeological materials, basketry, paintings, drawings, sculpture, and western and contemporary art, rare books and photographs.

The authentic DeMoss Stagecoach is a representative Old West artifact in our collections and possibly the most famous Western American stagecoach. This stagecoach was once owned by Henry James “Hank” Monk, who used it to run great quantities of gold before railroad times, as well as to transport passengers such as Horace Greeley, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, Prince Alexander of Russia (to a Bill Cody buffalo hunt) and President Rutherford B. Hayes.

Our Native American collections include historic and prehistoric cultural artifacts as well as outstanding contemporary works by regional masters such as Rick Bartow, Pat Courtney Gold and Lillian Pitt. Other non-native western artrepresented include works by Nick Eggenhofer, Edward Borein, Edward Quigley and Charles M. Russell.

The Museum also houses and interprets the renowned Doris Swayze Bounds Collection of Native American artifacts, a legacy of native Columbia River Plateau heritage donated in 1990. Bounds passionately collected and exhaustively documented exquisitely beaded bags, moccasins, and saddles, headdresses, breastplates, paintings, sculpture, and drawings; all within the High Desert region. Groups represented in this collection include: Umatilla, Wasco, Wishram, Paiute, Washo, Chehalis, Quinault, Nez Perce, Skokomish, Chinook, Tillamook, Yakima, Warm Springs, Haida, Salish, Yaqui and more.

The Museum’ s collection is particularly strong in the realm of United States Forest Service objects and archives, the history of the Basque in the region, Native American regalia, and ‘ buckaroo’ artifacts regionally reflecting the California vaquero rangeland traditions. The Museum also houses an impressive collection of objects reflecting the Chinese experience in the region, frontier medicine artifacts, Native American basketry, Edward Curtis photographs, period costumes, furniture and firearms.

Accessing the Collection

To access our collections for research or otherwise please download and submit a Request for Access to Collections form.

For questions concerning the collections, please contact Manager of Exhibitions and Collections Sarah Baylinson at 541-382-4754 ext. 392 or contact us.

Donating or Selling Objects to the Museum

Please do not bring objects to the Museum. They will not be accepted. Please contact the staff via the Object Donation form.

The High Desert Museum collects art, history and natural history objects related to the High Desert and the American West. Please know that we are presently in the midst of a multi-year inventory of our entire collection and during this process we are accepting objects on a limited basis. In order to consider your donation of artwork, artifacts or specimens, submit an object donation form to be considered by our curatorial and collections staff. Please do not bring objects to the Museum. We cannot accept them without first evaluating your proposal.

Once we receive your complete proposal, Museum staff will carefully consider your offer and make a decision based on criteria such as its relevance to the Museum’s mission, how it fits with plans for the Museum’s collection, the condition of the object and our ability to adequately care for it in the future. We will also discuss how the object would fit into our collection, whether as a part of our permanent collection or as an educational tool or exhibition prop. Not all donation or sale offers can be accepted. If the object is accepted, you may be asked for formal documentation of ownership. We respond to all proposals. It may take anywhere from one month to six months for us to respond because of the unique considerations of each proposal.Please note that we cannot offer appraisals nor can we recommend appraisers. For these questions, please visit the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) website or call ASA at 800-272-8258. Object Donation Form

Please do not bring objects to the Museum without prior arrangements. For additional information, contact Manager of Exhibitions and Collections Sarah Baylinson at 541-382-4754 ext. 392 or contact us.