The Architectural Heritage Center mounts rotating gallery exhibits drawn from the Bosco-Milligan Foundation’s renowned collection of architectural artifacts, one of the largest in the United States.
In Portland, the use of metal as a building material dates to the Victorian era, with the construction of new commercial and institutional buildings. This trend only increased with the interest in fire-proofing following an 1873 blaze that destroyed much of downtown. Cast-iron, bronze, brass, copper, zinc and many other metals were used to build everything from decorative cornices and doorknobs, bathtubs and balustrades, railings, storefronts and just about every component, decorative or structural, of new construction.
Using examples from the Bosco-Milligan Foundation's collection of nearly 2,000 metal artifacts, this exhibit tells the story of the variety of metals found in late 19th - early 20th century Portland architecture. Many of these items were produced locally and with some now nearly 150 years old, they were clearly built to last.
Guest curator Morgen Young of Alder, LLC explores the use of these metals, highlighting local producers. Most artifacts on display have never before been showcased publicly, at least since their recovery from demolished buildings by Jerry Bosco, Ben Milligan, Bill Hawkins, and others.
As we celebrate the AHC's tenth anniversary, this exhibit takes advantage of a decade of diligent artifact cataloguing by AHC staff and volunteers.
With 19th century advances in manufacturing technology, custom-designed building hardware became widely popular. Corporations, clubs, hotels, public schools and countless other organizations attempted to enhance their “brand identity” through hardware emblazoned with building imagery, logos, and monograms. In the Portland area, the Morning Oregonian newspaper and the Woodmen of the World were just two of the organizations that fitted their buildings with this type of custom emblematic hardware.
Using carefully selected pieces from the Bosco-Milligan Foundation’s Collection and from private collectors, this exhibit tells the story of emblematic hardware, both at the national and local level. You’ll be amazed at the detailed design work and quality – something that has been lost in today’s world where building ownership and interior décor are in a constant state of change.