The nationally acclaimed High Desert Museum is dedicated to broadening the understanding of the High Desert’s wildlife, culture, art and natural resources. In doing so, it strives to promote thoughtful decision making to sustain the region’s natural and cultural heritage.
From the dreams of a young biology student ….
Donald M. Kerr, a native of Portland, Oregon, founded the High Desert Museum out of a passion for natural history that began when he raised a wolf cub for his high school biology class. This experience inspired his lifelong interest in environmental issues and the lives of predatory animals. Out of the belief that we can make well-informed decisions if we understand all sides of an issue, he envisioned a new kind of museum that would show the close connections between people and their environment.
“I’ve raised a wolf and two great horned owls,” Kerr said. “I’ve been lucky to have these experiences that aren’t possible for most people. I wanted to bring others closer to nature, to experience it, to learn to maintain it.”
Kerr’s dream became a reality through the creation of the Western Natural History Institute in 1974, and its evolution into The Oregon High Desert Museum, which opened in Bend in 1982. To give it a greater regional role, the name became the High Desert Museum. Today, the Museum remains true to his guiding principle that education and experience are the basis for thoughtful decisions.
Through exhibits, wildlife, and living history, the High Desert Museum creates learning experiences to help audiences discover their connection to the past, their role in the present, and their responsibility to the future.
The High Desert Museum is located just three miles south of Bend, Oregon. The best way to see the Museum is to design your own personal tour of our exhibits and wildlife, and find out what’s happening. Volunteer interpreters will appear at various locations to enhance your experience. Please allow at least 3 to 4 hours for your visit.