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“quaint, lovely, dramatic, refreshing” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Willamette Heritage Center

Willamette Heritage Center
Ranked #15 of 78 things to do in Salem
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Willamette Heritage Center, formerly the Mission Mill, is a National Parks-designated American Treasure. Take a trip to the past with a costumed guide-led tour through all stages of the wool production process at the restored 1889 water-powered wool mill. Located on a beautiful 5-acre campus in the heart of Salem, the Willamette Heritage Center is also home to the oldest homes in the state. The Lee House and Methodist Parsonage, both built in 1841, as well as the Boon House (1847) and Pleasant Grove Church (1858), are all available for tours. With a total of 14 historic structures, permanent and changing exhibits, a cafe, shops, art galleries, and event spaces, there's always plenty to see at the Willamette Heritage Center. The site is a paradise for history buffs, explorers, and photographers alike. Stop by Monday through Saturday, 10 to 5, to discover the history of the Mid-Willamette Valley.
Level Contributor
104 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“quaint, lovely, dramatic, refreshing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 21, 2012

The rolling waters of the millrace, beautiful montages and displays of the Mill's historical significance, and my favorite ~ the shops and cafe. All together they make for a lovely day with the family ~ and of course, feed the ducks!!!

1 Thank tabisuki5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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67 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
621 reviews
203 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 238 helpful votes
“A very interesting museum tucked away behind the railroad tracks”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2012

We visited the museum during their annual holiday lights event. The grounds are lit up with thousands of LED lights, making for a festive atmosphere. We walked in past many little shops in the old entry building. We had fun browsing. Among them is a terrific little yarn shop. We thoroughly enjoyed walking around the grounds. The combination of antique housing and the mill makes for great visuals and makes us feel we are going back in time. The museum was open, and we had all the options available. We declined the opportunity to go on the house visits to the antique houses of early settlers. We had see them before. We noticed that they had a couple of areas of the mill open that we had never seen before, so we headed into the labyrinth of the various mill buildings. The history of wool fabric making and the techniques that were used is fascinating. There are signs all over the mill that explain the operation of the machinery you are looking at, and the steps in the process. You get a feel for the work, and the workers who worked here. The smell of lanolin permeates the antique wood structures and gives the feeling that you are there in the old days, alongside the workers. We enjoyed our visit and would come back again to learn more. They also have meeting and banquet facilities. We have attended events here in the past and it is a perfect atmosphere for reflection or celebration.

Visited January 2012
Thank pkrissel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Improvements make this a new draw”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2012

Every few years, I visit the museum to see what's new. In August of 2011, I observed that the museum and the historical society have combined forces. Several exhibits are up and running that had been in earlier planning phases on my previous visits, so it was neat to see just how much history has been preserved.

Among the working items are the machine that weaves the blankets (it has a name, I've just forgotten it already), and for a few short moments the docent turned it on. It is astonishing to watch it in action. The originally installed electric lighting demo in the basement level is also fascinating, and the blacksmith's shop (with its occasional live demos) is a window into history.

Thank Parabasis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harbor Springs, Michigan
Level Contributor
392 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 203 helpful votes
“Well worth a visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 3, 2011

The entire complex, which included an old mill, an old church, and houses from the 1800s, is well worth a 2-3 hour visit. Admission fee ($6/adult) is modest. There is free on-site parking, as well as a cafe.

Visited December 2011
Thank LouBobHarborSprings
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madras, Oregon
Level Contributor
92 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Freedom to roam around”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 19, 2011

I enjoyed the slide show and appreciated that we were given a key to enter the outbuildings on our own. It was done very tastefully. very helpful staff. I look forward to going back.

Visited November 2011
Thank jaypoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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