The SOHS Library is OPEN to the public at 106 N. Central Avenue in Medford, with FREE access to the SOHS Archives, from 12:00 - 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Appointments are not necessary. Please contact, or call 541-622-2025 ex 200 to ask questions or request research.



Collections Spotlight: Shining a Light on History #2

This virtual exhibit series is intended to showcase artifacts from the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s General History Collection and to bring attention to the breadth and importance of the people and things that have helped to shape local history and our place in it.

Games People Play exhibit Games People Play

The human instinct to compete and to play organized games is inextricably tied to our history. Evidence shows that humans have been playing games for thousands of years. Board games have been in existence for 5,000 years and dice and tile gambling games have been played for at least 3,000 years. Ancient cave paintings depict people playing dice games and indigenous cultures all over the world love gambling games among others meant to teach physical skills needed for survival.

Card games were played in the Tang Dynasty in China between the 6 th and 9 th Century A.D. and were introduced to Europe in the 14 th Century. Whether we play games to enhance our social lives or to challenge each other with our mental and physical skill, play is one of the foundational markers of the human race.

If the Shoe Fits...

It is estimated that human beings first began wearing shoes during the Middle and Upper Paleolithic Period, approximately 40,000 years ago.
Early shoes were made of plant fiber materials or soft leather that wrapped around the foot resembling sandals or moccasins.
It was not until the 1800s that men’s and women’s shoes began to differ in style and design. Before 1830, both men’s and women’s shoes were made using ‘straight lasts’ with no differentiation between the right and left feet.
Like so many other clothing categories, footwear indicates one’s social and economic status as well as occupation or profession. The shoes in this collection reflect the life experiences of those who walked in them and built the community we live in today.

Peter Britt: The Man Beyond the Camera

Once described as "a most cultured and interesting gentleman, always courteous and entertaining,"l Peter Britt embodied a unique blend of rugged individualism and Old World graciousness. As a pioneer photographer he counts as a folk hero, partly for his rich photographic legacy, and partly for his strength of character. 

Link to SOHS Magazine, March, 2004

School Days

One of the things that unifies humanity is our desire for education whether it be in the intellectual pursuit of knowledge, artisanal, hands-on crafting and production, scientific study and experimentation or in the fine and creative arts. There are many ways to attain our personal best and convening in person to celebrate our shared discoveries has always been central to our learning.

Treasured Toys

"Toys are more than playthings. From the most humble artifacts of primitive times to the elaborate art of exhibition pieces, toys have a special fascination for people of all ages. Certainly a great attraction is their extraordinary power to illuminate the past. Whether old, curious, beautiful or bizarre, these everyday objects mirror their time period and reflect the mental attitudes of the people who fashioned and owned them. The story of toys tells its own history of civilization…but surely the very special fascination of toys is their ability to open a perspective from the uncertainties of the present into an apparently secure past by evoking nostalgic memories of lost childhood.”, Robert Cluff, The World of Toys.