Photo from the Oregon Historical Society, Jacob Kamm House in its original location, Org. Lot 300, BB002981.
Courtesy of Portland Children’s Museum.


ortland’s Director of Recreation in 1946 was a woman named Dorothea Lensch. As someone very passionate about serving marginalized community members, she always looked for opportunities to bring Portland together in accessible ways. One of these ventures was the creation of the Junior Museum and Adventure House located in a mansion in SW Portland with exhibits on natural history, art classes, and even a “pet lending library.” The original Junior Museum was located inside of the Jacob Kamm house, which was the first mansion in Portland. The entire house was lifted from the ground in 1950 and moved to another location in SW Portland where it is preserved today. In 2001, the museum moved to a building in Washington Park that used to house the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Rebranded as the Portland Children’s Museum, the facility had the goal of familiarizing children with the fascinating world around them through interaction and problem solving. The museum now hosts 300,000 visitors each year and contains 13 exhibits including Outdoor Adventure, Twilight Trail, and Water Works.


Historic photographs for this series are provided by the Oregon Historical Society, a museum, research library, archive, and scholarly asset located in the heart of Portland’s Cultural District. View more photos of historic Portland on the new OHS Digital Collections website here.

Have an anecdote or old school photograph of you posing in front of the building? Post it! Don’t forget to tag #Artslandia and #ThenAndNow!