The Southern Oregon Historical Society’s 26,000 square foot downtown Medford Headquarters, located in the historic J. C. Penney building at 106 N. Central Ave., suffered major water damage from the heavy rains that fell Sunday evening, June 18, through Tuesday morning, June 20. The building was being re-roofed at the time and water was able to penetrate the building as a result. 

According to SOHS Executive Director Ron Kramer, “We were extremely fortunate that our archive collection of 2-dimensional artifacts is in an area which was not affected. A portion of our collection of 3-dimensional materials, located in another area of the building, did suffer from water intrusion and we are evaluating which items need to receive special conservation efforts.” 

The damage to the building interior is significant, and Belfor Property Restoration has already begun the remediation and restoration process.

 On June 16th the Society had announced plans, which drew warm public response, to open a new History Museum in October 2023 in one of the building areas most significantly damaged by the rains. As a result, SOHS anticipates that the opening date for the Museum will be pushed back to Spring of 2024. “Our new Museum is still going to open, just somewhat later than we had intended,” Kramer added.

The SOHS Research Library, which is generally open to the public between noon and 4 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, was largely unaffected but was closed for about a week to allow Belfor Property Restoration to reduce humidity levels in the building and SOHS staff to complete assessment of Collection items which may require special conservation. 

On a brighter note, last Fall SOHS contracted with Rick Stevens Painting Company to repair and repaint three exterior building walls, and that work will commence in late July. The repainting was funded with a grant from the City of Medford. The colorful transportation mural on the building’s north wall will remain intact.

Reprinted with permission from a press release by SOHS. 

For additional information, contact Ron Kramer 541-601-9080 [email protected]

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