SOHS hosts new Britt display in Jacksonville

The Southern Oregon Historical Society's newest exhibit, — "Peter Britt: The Man Beyond the Camera," opens to the public this weekend. — The exhibit, housed in the Jacksonville Museum, features nearly 400 artifacts — and images from the society's extensive Peter Britt collection, many of — which will be on public display for the first time.

The goal of the 1,000-square-foot exhibition is to present — the many interesting facets of Peter Britt's life in a contemporary, entertaining — format. Items featured will include Britt's personal diaries, which date — from 1859 to 1905; some of his earliest oil paintings; photographic gear, — including the daguerreotype camera he brought with him over the Oregon — Trail; an 1872 Steinway square grand piano; and equipment he used to make — and store some of the Rogue Valley's earliest wine varieties. In addition, — there will be a multimedia component including a DVD presentation on the — life of Peter Britt, which combines photographs, narrative and live action — to tell his story, and a 1946 newsreel tour of Peter Britt's studio, led — by Britt's son, Emil. A Web site,, will complement — the exhibit.

After settling in Jacksonville in 1852, Peter Britt devoted — most of his energy to his photography business, as well as agricultural — and gardening pursuits. He spent a half-century documenting the towns — and the region, and took some of the first images of Southern Oregon, — including the first known photograph of Crater Lake. But Peter Britt was — more than Southern Oregon's premier pioneer photographer; he was a vintner, — horticulturalist, beekeeper, artist, immigrant, and entrepreneur. "Peter — Britt: The Man Beyond the Camera will display and interpret many of these — varied aspects of his life and accomplishments."

On Saturdays, from noon to 2 p.m., museum visitors can — meet Peter Britt, portrayed by Jacksonville Museum manager Robert Heltberg. — Heltberg will don authentic clothing from the late-1800s and provide insight — into both the exhibit and the real Peter Britt.

The Jacksonville Museum, located at Fifth and C streets — in Jacksonville, is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission — to the museum, the Britt exhibit, and the adjacent Jacksonville Children's — Museum is $3 for adults, $2 for children 6-12 and seniors over 65; children — under 6 are free. Admission is free every Wednesday, between the hours — of 2 and 5 p.m. only.

The Southern Oregon Historical Society is a member-supported — organization. For membership and general information, call 773-6536 or — visit online at

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