New exhibition signage in the Child’s Bedroom.

A visit to Pittock Mansion has become more enjoyable and engaging thanks to our Visitor Experience Project. The project will increase Pittock Mansion’s value to our community in three phases by encouraging visitors to actively engage with history by sharing more relevant, poignant and consistent stories.

The first phase of the project, way finding sign enhancements, was completed in October 2014. These signs make Pittock Mansion easier to find and easier to navigate between the parking lot, park grounds and buildings.

In the second phase, we enhanced the permanent exhibit by installing new interpretive exhibit panels, interactive elements, and multi-sensory features. Working with a local exhibit design firm, we have creatively woven compelling stories throughout the Mansion and Gate Lodge, such as: what was Portland like in 1914, and how does that relate to today; what new technologies were built into house; and what values did the Pittocks have that are shared by Portlanders today.

In 2015, the unused third bay of the Garage will be transformed into a welcoming admissions area. The current admissions and entry often gets crowded and allows no transition from buying a ticket to enjoying the historic house. By early next year, we will use the space inside the third bay to provide orientation information and sell admission tickets. On the walls we will share information about the Garage (like the fact that it had a 500-gallon gas tank and a mechanic’s pit), the Pittocks (like the fact that they were pioneers who came west on the Oregon Trail, worked hard, were active members of the community and built this house), and upcoming programs and events.

The third phase, which we will work on through 2016, will give visitors access to more detailed information and additional resources through technology. These tools will allow visitors who are inspired by Pittock Mansion’s main exhibits to further probe Portland’s history, tracing the values, achievements and characters that link the Pittock family’s era to Portland today.

We’re pleased that as we develop and implement these improvements, we’ve also secured several grants. Currently, over $83,000 have been committed to support our efforts, including funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Jackson Foundation.

“I am excited and proud of the work we’re doing and look forward to seeing how visitors respond and interact with the new exhibit elements,” remarks Executive Director Marta Bones with a smile. “Please come see for yourself and let us know what you think.”