feature tantalizing exhibits that tell Central Oregon history in detail …  

    … and houses the museum’s research library, community room and new exhibits.  

    Wind your way through exhibits, discover how Crook County has changed …      
  • LIVING TRADITIONS traces native peoples …

    … that have shared the history of Crook County.  

Welcome to Bowman Museum

We exist to inspire, entertain, educate and involve our local community, as well as visitors from all over the world, in the stewardship of our unique history.

We serve Crook County residents and Central Oregon visitors by offering new exhibits every year. We also feature exciting speakers, area tours, historical and genealogical research assistance, annual celebrations, regular visitation hours, newspaper articles and quarterly publications.

What’s Happening

This telephone was donated by Jerry Heston on September 29, 2014, and made part of the Crook County Historical Society’s collection on November 6, 2014.

This Just In!
Kellogg Switchboard and Supply Co. Telephone

On the south end of Powell Butte the Heston family’s farm was on a party line with eleven other nearby family homes. Jerry, Mayme and their two sons, Jerry and Jimmy, used this very phone – made by Kellogg Switchboard and Supply Co. – in their home during the 1930s and the 1940s.

The young Jerry Heston remembers, “Our ring was three longs and three shorts. Fred and Neva McCaffery’s ring was a long, a short and a long. Jack and Sara Shumway’s ring was two shorts. One crank on the phone would be answered by the operator at the Redmond Telephone Company. All rings on the phone and conversation could be heard by all of the people on the line, so there was a lot of ‘rubbering,’ or listening in on others’ conversations.”

Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Company was a major manufacturer of telephone equipment. It was founded by electrical engineer, Milo G. Kellogg, in Chicago, Illinois. Along with Western Electric (The Bell system), Automatic Electric (General Telephone) and Stromberg-Carlson, Kellogg’s company dominated the nation’s source of telephone equipment until after WWII.

This telephone was donated by Jerry Heston on September 29, 2014, and made part of the Crook County Historical Society’s collection on November 6, 2014. While the phone itself is an amazing artifact, the Bowman Museum’s Collection Committee was fascinated by the story that Jerry was able to relay about the different rings throughout the party line. It is the story behind the artifact that really brings an object to life.          

 Our Story

 The Bowman Museum is operated by the Crook County Historical Society, which was founded in 1969 to preserve and promote understanding of the history of Crook County.  

In 1971 the A.R. Bowman family boosted the Historical Society’s efforts when they donated the Crook County Bank for use as a museum. A Kansas native, civic leader Arthur Ray Bowman served as Crook County Judge and promoted initiatives creating the Ochoco Irrigation District, the Prineville Airport, U.S. Highway 26, and the Crooked River Project, which today includes the A. R. Bowman Dam.

Through generous public and private support the Bowman Museum has created a vivid collection of pioneer history and organized programs serving more than 10,000 people annually. In 1991 its building was entered on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1996 it hosted the first Smithsonian exhibit in Central Oregon. In 1997 it won national recognition from the Institute of Museum Services.

Today, in addition to hosting students and visitors, the Bowman Museum publishes books and field guides, presents a lecture series, conducts historical field trips, and through the Internet links its collection with museums and libraries throughout the world.


Museum Info

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246 North Main Street,
Prineville, Oregon 97754


Tues. – Fri.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat. 11 – 4 p.m.

(Memorial Day thru Labor Day)
Mon. – Fri.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat. & Sun
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Closed major holidays & January


Research Library Hours
Tues. & Thurs. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Special hours by appointment

Staff Contact: (click to email)

Museum Staff:

Gordon Gillespie, Museum Director

Steve Lent, Museum Historian

Eloise Brummer, Collections Assistant & General Info

Bonnie Williams, Saturday Attendant