Tales from the Vault: Exhibit Center

Posted on Oct 4th, 2012 in OSF Archives

The Exhibit Center began in the Swedenburg House on the SOU campus with a grant from the American Revolution Bi-Centennial Commission of Oregon in the amount of $3,000. It opened on June 14, 1975. Kay Atwood and Skip Hubbard developed the project there and returned five years later when it arrived “on campus” in the old bank building, now known as the Administration Building. It reopened on February 27, 1981.

For the first fifteen years, Nora Yeoman was the driving force behind the Exhibit Center. As archivist and volunteer coordinator as well, she was able to marshal volunteers and facts. Supplementing this were props, sets and costume pieces from each season’s shows. She also initiated The Dream Begins and Set Changes videos (produced in the mid-1980s and shown several times a day in the Exhibit Center), but the area closest to her heart was the Fantasy Gallery. People young and old would don costumes and take the stage, as it were, before the mirror and dream they were their favorite actor.

When word came that the Exhibit Center was to be transformed into the current Margery Bailey Room and Welcome Center, the one thing Nora wanted as a souvenir of her work there was the sign that said “Fantasy Gallery” hanging above the hat rack. And so she has it.

Other staff directly involved were Marla Malby, Rae Campbell, Betty Smith, Jean Thomas, Jane Hibbert, Jane White, Kristen Schulz, Bow Seltzer and Dale Wessels. A host of departments lent staff such as Bill Bloodgood and Lynn Ramey. Notable volunteers, Maxine Hunnell and Arnold Kohnert, helped with the build.

And now, as every volunteer who has ever greeted the public said: Welcome!

Written originally for
The Company Call, January/February 2001, by Kit Leary.