Portland Police Museum

I’m kind of a sucker for odd museums.  I like ALL museums, but I REALLY love the unusual ones.  So I decided to check out a little one out that’s in the middle of downtown Portland: the Portland Police Museum.  It’s inside the police station and it’s free, so I stopped by one my way to work one afternoon this week.

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Mostly this is a history museum, the first section when you walk in is a collection of documents and photos about the first years of the Portland Police department.  Remember, Portland was a part of the “Wid West” so there were a lot of fugitives, criminals and shady characters in town.  The city’s first building was a jail!  So that should tell you something.  It was fun to read through the history about how the police played a role in the development of the city.  You can read jail logs and see some excellent old fashioned mug shots.

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Along with all the documents and history  are cases of the badges, uniforms, guns and handcuffs that have been used over the years.  I learned that for a long time officers had to supply their own gun, so there was a lot of variety based on fashion, peer pressure and price.  Along with police guns, there’s a case of weapons that have been confiscated over the years, including a real pipe bomb that was used in an attempt to blow up an Oregonian truck!

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But the biggest reason to visit the museum is for the kids.  While there are a lot of photos and history for adults, there’s also bunch of fun stuff for kids.  There’s a jail cell to play in, a motorcycle with sidecar they can sit on, uniforms to try and a bomd squad robot to check out.  Plus I bet looking at all the guns and handcuff would be cool too.
One nice thing about this museum, it’s not a huge time commitment.  Even if you read every word in the place and let the kids play, you’ll be there for 30-45 minutes MAX.  It’s a small museum, but a fun little stop while exploring downtown.  And don’t forget- it’s free!

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1111 SW 2ND AVE (Between SW Madison & SW Main)
10am-3pm Tuesday- Friday




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