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Monmouth's Jensen Arctic Museum To Close

OPB | Sept. 18, 2013 1:05 p.m. | Updated: Sept. 18, 2013 2:42 p.m.

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The Jensen Arctic Museum at Western Oregon University is about to close and send its 5,000 artifacts to Eugene for storage.

The museum in Monmouth was established in 1985 with artifacts collected by the adventurer and educator, Dr. Paul Jensen.

Jensen Arctic Museum collection,  ivory doll with traditional St.Lawrence Island clothing donated by Paul Jensen

Jensen Arctic Museum collection,  ivory doll with traditional St.
Lawrence Island clothing donated by Paul Jensen

Over the years, hundreds of others have donated dolls, masks, beaded mittens, bone spears, even a long boat.

But because of a lack of funds, the collection is moving to the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon.

“People walk into the museum and they’re greeted by a  polar bear  and then immediately can see the types  of clothing and tools that are used in the environment where the polar bear lives,” said museum curator Roben Itchoak.

“You get to see a full piece of baleen that comes out of the whale’s mouth. But then you can see a child’s sled that was made out of the baleen that was used to transport the children to and from school in the ‘60s.”

Jensen Arctic Museum collection,  Russian trade beads donated byHarley & Betsey Branigar

Jensen Arctic Museum collection,  Russian trade beads donated by
Harley & Betsey Branigar

Itchoak calls the move bittersweet because most of the collection will no longer be on public display, but it will be preserved in an archival facility.

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