Oregon Historical Society

Portland, OR
Wayfinding Through History

A wayfinding program helps visitors to the Oregon Historical Society feel welcomed upon entry and oriented within the building’s multiple floors and collections.

Although history can be a maze, making your way through a historical museum shouldn’t be. A comprehensive wayfinding program clarified the path through history. At the Oregon Historical Society, incremental growth and increased square footage for exhibits have meant more room to tell the stories of Oregon’s past — from its Native American heritage to its progressive environmental initiatives. But the growth has come at a cost: new additions and renovations have created complicated passages for more than 50,000 visitors each year. The signage made it simpler for all, from staff to large groups of school children.

The building entry now features a bolder and more informative graphic composition, while the entry desk features an overhead sign clearly visible to everyone in line. The “You Are Here” maps illustrate how the building levels are arranged and identify spaces for exhibits, the library, and important amenities such as restrooms. Maps also detail the easiest routes to the building’s three elevators, and visitor brochures feature Knot’s new map design. The signage and wayfinding solutions help bring history alive—guiding visitors to the museum’s interactive exhibits, visiting exhibits, and the rich selection of permanent artifacts on display. The museum’s wayfinding program complements the mission of the museum to be a valuable resource and helps bring Oregon’s history alive.

90,000 SF
Oregon Historical Society
Oregon Historical Society
Photography Credits: Josh Partee