Oregon Trail Pageant Research Project

Did you or your family members or friends participate in or attend any of the Oregon Trail Pageants held in Eugene between 1926 - 1950?

If so, please click the following link: http://pageant.voelkermorris.com/survey to complete the survey.

You may also contact Julie directly at pageant@voelkermorris.com.

Overview of Pageants

Between 1926 and 1950, the community of Eugene produced the largest known history pageants ever recorded. These shows commemorated the history of Oregon with particular focus placed on the Oregon Trail pioneer generation. Casts of 2000-3000 local community members performed as actors, dancers, singers, and ranch hands in combination with functioning steam train engines and airplanes as well as live oxen and horses.

Oral histories on the pageants are being conducted currently with Horace Robinson, Don Hunter, and Margory Ramey.  Web surveys and other personal interviews are being conducted to add further depth to the understanding of these pageants and their significance to the Eugene community and to the state of Oregon.

The goal of this research is to examine how the Oregon Trail Pageants developed in and effected the Eugene community since it was originally settled by Eugene Skinner.  Research will examine local, regional, and/or national impact.

It is hoped that this research will extend the awareness of the relationship between Eugene's historical roots and the arts, providing meaning and context to the integration of arts and civic participation. This study hopes to strengthen the dialogue of the importance of the arts in defining civic history and the overlapping cultural impacts of community settlements and the arts.

The intended outcome of this research is two-fold for academic and general public purposes.  Public exhibits, public lectures or workshops, or publications in local newspapers or newsletters are anticipated.  Academic presentations may occur in journal articles or websites, book formats, or conference presentations.   The intended audiences are theatre and arts historians, community leaders, community members-at-large, and researchers in the fields of arts, theatre, and community management.

Description of Researcher

In addition to being an independent scholar, Julie Voelker-Morris teaches courses in Art and Gender and Art and Human Values for the University of Oregon's Arts and Administration Program.  She holds a Master's degree in Arts Management and Bachelor's degrees in Theatre Arts and English.

Julie has a particular interest in theatre and how it affects the lives and involvement of community members in arts and other civic endeavors.