Pittock Mansion Seeks a Full Time Facilities and Collections Specialist

October 23, 2017

Pittock Mansion is a house of historical significance and visual magnificence, offering a uniquely personal opportunity to peek into the past. Attracting over 100,000 visitors per year, Pittock Mansion is one of the top destinations in Oregon, and the perfect place to experience the story of Portland. We are seeking a Facilities and Collections Specialist to join our team. Please submit cover letter and résumé to jobs@pittockmansion.org. No phone calls, please.

The Pittock Mansion Collections and Facilities Specialist attends to facility and collections needs to ensure the visual integrity of the Mansion and outbuildings, and support the appropriate care of its collections. This position works with Management and Visitor Services staff to ensure a positive, comfortable, and memorable experience for museum visitors.

Position: Facilities and Collections Specialist
Type: Full Time, Non-exempt
Reports to: Manager of Adminstration
Compensation: $17-$19 per hour DOE + Benefits Pittock Mansion offers an excellent benefits package including Health, Dental, PTO, EAP, and retirement plan.

Essential duties and responsibilities include:

Facilities Specialist

  • Follow scheduled care and cleaning plan and monitor the 3 buildings and grounds for cleanliness and needed maintenance.
  • Perform minor repairs that do not require the services of Parks staff or outside contractors.
  • Submit and coordinate repair/maintenance work orders submitted to Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R).
  • Act as liaison to PP&R Central Services staff when on site to conduct repairs, including January Maintenance period.
  • Maintain inventory of cleaning/custodial supplies and MSDS records.
  • Assist with event setup and take down as needed.
  • Support manager in department budget planning.
  • Maintain equipment as needed, including delivering to offsite service and repair.

Collections Specialist

  • Follow schedule for care and cleaning of museum artifacts. Artifacts range from small personal accessories to large furniture.
  • Support the Curator in the documentation, storage, care and handling of collection items.
  • Assist the curator in the installation and de-installation of exhibits. This includes the holiday exhibit in November.
  • Scan and upload artifact documentation to Past Perfect database.

Additional duties as deemed necessary by management.

Skills and Qualities

  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to use hand tools and small electrical tools
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Dependable transportation
  • Basic computer skills and ability to learn new programs
  • Basic facility maintenance and repair
  • Ability to follow sound safety practices
  • Courteous and professional communication
  • Record of dependability, timeliness, and good attendance
  • Some college preferred

Work Environment and Physical Demands

Pittock Mansion consists of three buildings located within a City Park at an elevation of 1,000 feet. Most work will be conducted indoors; however some outdoor work may be required. All buildings are multiple levels with stairs; the main building has a small residential elevator. This position will require a wide range of physical activity and ability, including but not limited to:

  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Bending, crouching, reaching
  • Lifting up to 40 lbs
  • Navigating stairs
  • Climbing ladders up to 20 feet
  • Using hand tools and small electrical tools


Henry Pittock’s Outdoor Adventures

October 3, 2017

Henry Pittock on the Georgiana Trail, sometime between 1914-1918.


Like many Portlanders, the dream of outdoor adventure is part of what attracted Henry Pittock to the Northwest. As a young man in Pittsburgh, PA, he read an account of a rafting adventure on Idaho’s Snake River in his local newspaper and was inspired to head west. Over the decades, Henry approached the outdoors with as much passion and drive as he did his business pursuits. An avid hiker, climber, and bicycler, Henry loved the outdoors and encouraged his family and community to enjoy the outdoors as well.


Left: Henry Pittock working on a trail on the Pittock estate. Daughter Lucy is standing next to him. Right: The mattock Henry used to clear hiking trails.


Henry chose Pittock Mansion’s location because of its forested setting and outstanding view of the Cascade Range. He enjoyed exploring the forest behind the Mansion and clearing hiking trails. The mattock Henry used to clear brush is in the Pittock Mansion collection. James Skene, the Pittocks’ estate steward, said Henry also kept a small axe in the Cloak Room and would take it with him on walks to maintain the trails. Henry named one of his trails the Georgiana Trail in honor of his wife. The Georgiana Trail ran along the hillside north of the Mansion and Garage towards what is now Macleay Park.


Mazamas on Mount McLoughlin, 1896. Henry Pittock is standing in the center of the back row.


Henry and his daughters Lucy and Kate were avid mountain climbers and belonged to the Mazamas mountaineering club. Henry was a part of the first authenticated climb to Mount Hood’s summit, and climbed other major peaks in the Northwest including Mount Rainer and Mount McLoughlin. Henry also financially supported expeditions when he was unable to join in the climb itself. He helped fund exploration on Alaska’s Mount McKinley in 1910 and in recognition, a ridge on the side of Mount McKinley was named “Pittock Ridge.”


Henry on a bicycling outing circa 1900.


In the late 1800s, the bicycle came into vogue and Henry helped start the Oregon Road Club, a cycling and road improvement organization. In a 1906 letter, Henry’s daughter Caroline wrote: “Father is as much of a wheel rider as ever takes a spin nearly every Sunday. Was out here over Sunday a week ago having ridden his wheel out and back to town–42 miles.”


Henry Pittock, center, possibly atop Mount Hood during his 1895 climb. The other man may be mountaineering guide Will Langille.


Henry’s passion for the outdoors never waned. He climbed Larch Mountain, elevation 4,061 feet, in 1915 when he was 80 years old. When one of his younger companions suggested the group stop to rest, Henry demonstrated the determination that led him to his success in business by replying: “I’ve noticed that the fellow who stops to rest never gets anywhere.”


Water Intrusion at Pittock Mansion Addressed by Drainage Improvements

October 3, 2017

Digging the dry well that will divert water from a problem downspout.


An ongoing challenge to the preservation of Pittock Mansion and the Gate Lodge is water intrusion. Over the years, shifting hillsides and changing landscapes have resulted in new opportunities for water to infiltrate the buildings during periods of heavy rainfall. As any repairs must be done with an eye toward preservation, creative solutions to direct water away from the buildings without impacting the original architecture were implemented.


New grate installed in front of the Mansion’s French doors.


In order to address water that comes in through the northwest side of the Mansion and seeps into the basement, Portland Parks & Recreation installed a new drain system to pull water from an existing downspout and direct it away from the building. In order to achieve this, Parks installed a new grate in front of the French doors and dug a trench for a new pipe system that shifts the water flow to a newly installed dry well in the lawn just outside the Mansion.


Sandbags help protect the Gate Lodge from water infiltration until drainage systems can be improved.


In addition to the new drain system by the Mansion, Parks will be installing a curb along the pathway in front of the Gate Lodge to direct water runoff away from the building. Currently, sandbags keep water from seeping into the Gate Lodge’s Butler’s Pantry and basement.

The above projects are just two examples of how the partnership between Pittock Mansion and Parks protects and preserves this beautiful historic site.


Portland’s 1905 World’s Fair

September 6, 2017


Drawing of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition on view in Pittock Mansion’s West Dressing Room. Click for larger view.


In the late 1800s and early 1900s, cities across the globe hosted elaborate “world’s fairs” to promote progress and showcase the industrial might, products, arts, and culture of their region and the world. In 1905, Portland held its own world’s fair, the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition–named in honor of the 100th anniversary of Lewis and Clark’s arrival in Oregon–to promote Portland to potential residents and businesses. The Exposition ran June through October and attracted 1.5 million visitors­–a huge number, considering Portland’s population was about 120,000 at the time.


Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Grand Opening. Photo courtesy of the Morning Oregonian.


The full name of the Exposition was the “Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair,” emphasizing Portland’s proximity to Asia and its wonders. In addition to exhibits from Japan, China, and India, European countries like Italy and France participated, as well as states from Oregon to Maine. Other exhibits highlighting advancements in agriculture, technology, and the arts educated visitors, while blimps, hot air balloon rides, “moving picture shows,” trained animals, and performances entertained them.


Left: Dancers from Kiralfy’s Carnival of Venice at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Photo courtesy of University of Washington Libraries. Right: A crowd marvels at a blimp. Photo courtesy of The Morning Oregonian.


Pittock Mansion overlooks the former Exposition site along the Willamette River in Northwest Portland. Exhibition organizers built grand-looking but temporary buildings around Guild’s Lake and on an artificial peninsula. After the Exposition, developers tore down most of the buildings and filled in Guild’s Lake. The area first became a railroad switching yard, then wartime housing, and in the 1950s, became the industrial district we know today.


The Foreign Exhibits Building. Photo courtesy of the Official Catalogue of the Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair.


A handful of the Exposition’s buildings survived. The Fairmount Hotel still stands at its original location, while the American Inn was relocated closer to downtown. The National Cash Register Building was moved to the St. Johns neighborhood in North Portland and is now the McMenamins St. Johns Theater and Pub. The Forestry Building, dubbed “the world’s largest log cabin,” was a showcase for the timber industry until it burned down in 1964, leading to the construction of the World Forestry Center in Washington Park.


Left: The Forestry Building exterior. Photo courtesy of the City of Portland Archives. Right: Forestry Building interior during the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Captivated by the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition? Check out our current exhibit, Untold Stories of Pittock Mansion Treasures, which includes souvenirs from the Exposition such as fair albums, postcards, drinking glass, plate, and commemorative medal.


Souvenirs from the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition on view in our Untold Stories of Pittock Mansion Treasures exhibit.


Henry’s 1910 Letter from Europe

August 1, 2017

Henry’s handwritten letter to Georgiana and a photo of Henry in the Netherlands later on the same trip.

Henry Pittock was an avid traveler, visiting regional destinations like San Francisco and more exotic ones like Hawaii and Mexico. In 1910, Henry traveled to Europe, stopping in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and England. Throughout his trip, Henry wrote his wife, Georgiana, vivid letters about his travels. This one from August 24, 1910, describes his visit to Switzerland:

Regina Hotel Jungfraublick

August 24, 1910

Dear Wife,

When I closed my letter at Lucerne John was hurrying me to a Sunday excursion on the Lake. We went on board one of the many pretty and swift excursion boats at 9 o’clock and were soon under way. The peaks rise up on every side of the lake, some sharp and high, and some partially covered with snow. On Rigi we could see a hotel and there is a railway to it, but for want of time we shall not go to it. Everywhere where the hills are not too steep there are cottages and hotels. The lower hills are wooded—mostly fir—while the mountains are rocky and bare. Almost two thirds the way we stopped for lunch, and then took carriage to see the roadway cut under arching rock and through tunnels.

William Tell’s Chapel circa 1890-1900. Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.

On the way passed William Tell’s Chapel and the scene of the well-known apple story and his troubles with Gessler. At Fluelen—the end of the Lake (28 miles) we again took the boat for the return trip. Immediately on our return we went to see the Lion of Lucerne. This is the life size figure of a lion carved in the face of a cliff in the center of the city to commemorate the overthrow of the Swiss Republic by Napoleon and represents a lion wounded to death defending the coat of arms—a shield bearing a square cross. It is a fine piece of carving. Below is a clear pond stocked with gold and other fish and a small park surrounds it. I forgot to mention that in coming down the lake we passed a natural stone column rising from the water eighty feet on which was a long inscription by Schiller to the memory of William Tell in gilt. The boat went by so fast I did not have time to read it.

Lion of Lucerne circa 1890-1900. Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.

Sunday night it stormed hard, and our trip to the glacier which is the source of the Rhone was not a pleasant one on Monday. Showers fell every little while, and the mountains were hidden by the clouds. Our route was by train almost to the mouth of St Gotthard tunnel, which you know penetrates the Alps to Italy. We left it at Goeschan [sic Goschenen], but in that distance had made two loops entirely under ground in the solid rock. From Goschan [sic Goschenen] we took a carriage and at night stopped at one of the many wayside hotels called F___(?). Notwithstanding the showers and clouds it was surprising to see how many sight-seers were plodding along on foot—men, women and children—some in raincoats, some with umbrellas, and many without either, but all seemed to enjoy it. Early on Tuesday morning we came to the glacier—close to the road it is a fine one, but insignificant when compared with Muir. It was the first one John had ever seen, so we spent some time there. He went over it about a mile, while I picked edelweiss and flowers near the edge. In my light shoes I could not continue far on the ice. The clouds now cleared away and we had a pleasant drive down the glacial stream and over the next mountain.

Historic photo of Sigmund-Thun-Gorge. Photo courtesy of Kaprun Museum.

We lunched at Handeck Falls, where the river Aare makes a tremendous plunge into a narrow and deep gorge and seemed to disappear. Following down the rather pretty valley our driver stopped before a curiosity shop in a garden, on the door of which was a poster “Entree 1 fr.” We asked an explanation, and was [sic] told half in English and French, that our driver wanted us to go through a gorge while he drove over the mountain. Well, it was worth the frank [sic] for we walked for a mile through a fissure in the mountain sometimes twenty feet wide and sometimes less than half that, and except in some short tunnels we did not put our feet on ground. A board walk about three feet wide was built the whole and bolted into the stone walls and under this the river swept in a torrent. The walls must be 2000 feet high. At the sortie was a shop containing some of the finest wood carving I have ever seen. Two companion pieces—mountaineers—took my fancy and should have purchased if my purse was not so light. They were 500 francs.

Jungfrau and Jungfraublick Hotel circa 1890-1900. Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.

Our carriage having come we were soon at M___(?) where at 7pm. we took a train for Interlaken. The train however did not take us far but transferred us to a boat on Brienz Lake. It was now dark, but we were told this lake was connected with Thun Lake by the river Aare, and at the end of this lake was the town of Interlaken (10 miles) where we stopped for the night at the Hotel Regina. This morning we took the train for Jungfrau and though the distance is not great (we could see the mountain from the hotel) it took us a long time to reach it, the cog wheel engines being so slow. We had been told we could go to the summit by train and elevator, but found the work not finished. The train took us up almost 11000 feet to Eismeer Station. A great distance is in a tunnel cut in solid rock, and at different places lateral tunnels are cut so that you can look out. At the last station a large room is cut out for an eating house. All is lighted by electricity. I have mailed you a printed description, so shall not say more now. To-morrow we go back to Lucerne, and at once take train for Cologne. Our aim is to go by Rotterdam and Amsterdam and take steamer for London to reach there by Sept 1st. It may be that John will be obligated to go to Brussels again but hopes not. I have requested Mr. Geernicks to forward my mail to Amsterdam, and hope to get papers covering dates giving particulars of Mr. Scotts [sic] death. I received at Lucerne all the dates to Aug 5.




Sept. 5 – Dec. 31 10am – 4pm Daily
Nov. 17 – 19 CLOSED
Thanksgiving Day CLOSED
Christmas Day CLOSED
January CLOSED
Feb. – May 10am – 4pm Daily
Jun. – Labor Day 10am – 5pm Daily

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*Please note admission increases $1 during our holiday display Nov. 20 – Dec. 31

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