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Wallowa County Museum

  Museum Photo

 Wallowa County Museum

The Wallowa County Museum is located in the historic First Bank of Joseph building built in 1888.  The Museum was created in 1976 as a bicentennial project by a group of dedicated volunteers.  Many items in the collection originated with Wallowa County's first historian, John Harley Horner.  Mr. Horner was an early-day assessor who collected artifacts and information as he toured the county.  The remainder of the collection was donated by current and former Wallowa County residents. The building was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.   

Mission:  The museum seeks to preserve and present items of interest from Wallowa County’s human past,representing both the Nez Percé who lived here for so long,  the pioneers and settlers who arrived over a century ago, and their descendants.

The Museum is located at 110 South Main Street (Highway 82) in Joseph, Oregon.  Our mailing address is P.O. Box 430, Joseph, Oregon 97846.  The Museum is owned and operated by Wallowa County.   

Open:  The Museum is open from the last weekend in May (Memorial Day weekend) through the third weekend of September.   The Museum is closed during the winter months, but visits may be arranged in advance by contacting the curator or museum staff at the numbers listed below. 

Visiting Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM daily. 

Admission Fees:  Adults -- $4.00; Seniors (age 65+) -- $3.00; Students (ages 7 - 17) -- $2.00.  Children age 6 and under -- free. 

Museum Gift Counter
:  Books of local historic interest, as well as cards and DVD's by local photographers and artists, are for sale at the Museum, with the proceeds going toward operating costs. 

:  Telephone:  (541) 432-6095.  Click to e-mail! 
Volunteer Curator:  
Ann Hayes, 83064 Airport Lane, Joseph, Oregon 97846   Telephone:  (541) 432-4834. 
Museum Staff:  Diane Turner, PO Box 457, Joseph, Oregon 97846.  Telephone:  (541) 432-0101.  E-mail:  

Museum Board:  Darlene Turner (chairperson), Tim Funk, Gay Fregulia, Denny Kehl, Janie Tippett, Elane Dickenson, Francis Buckles and Scott McClaran.  Supervising Commissioner:  Susan Roberts.  

 Research and copying of photographs from our collection is done all year by request.   Tourism information is also available. 

Photos © fpb Images, P.O. Box 158, Joseph, OR 97846    e-mail:

First Bank of Joseph Building Restoration
Built in 1888, the First Bank of Joseph is the oldest original structure in Joseph, Oregon (elev. 4200ft). It is a brick structure covered with stucco and accented with Victorian tin trim. The windows are wooden framed with glass and mullions. For the past 124 years, the south and west sides of the building's exterios have been exposed to the bright sun, battered by repeated rain and snow storms, constant winter freeze and thaw, and annual bird nesting within the decorative trim. The building exterior is in dire need of long-overdue maintenance and repairs before it deteriorates any further.

In April 2013, a licensed building contractor went up in a man-lift to perform a detailed assessent of the condition of the exterior of the 2-story building. He took detailed photographs of the observed damages that require immediate attention. The following is a list of the damages with corresponding photographs.

 Turret Trim Damage

turretturretturret coverturret cover

The four turret trim pieces at the roof line above the front doors are badly deteriorated; portions are missing, cracked, broken, or crudely covered with sheet metal. Rain and melting snow have leaked into and behind the trim causing further separation and deterioration. The turrets and surrounding trim pieces are in danger of becoming detached from the building and falling to the sidewalk! The turrets and surrounding trim need to be reconstructed and firmly attached to the building.

Trim and Molding Damage
window separatingtrim  separatingtrim pulling awaytrimtrim

Many of the decorative trim and molding pieces above the south-facing second story windows are crushed, leaking, sagging, and separating from the building. They have been forced away from the building by rain, snow, freezing & thawing over the years. For one hundred years the bird nesting material packed into the cracks has retained moisture and added to the problem. Any of these trim pieces could fall to the sidewalk at any moment. The trim must be removed from the building, repaired and replaced as needed, painted, and reattached firmly to the building and sealed.

Window Casing Damage
building crushing window above frt doors

The window casing is sagging and pressing down on the top of the window frame above the front doors. A support needs to be inserted to keep the pressure off the window frame. Otherwise, the window may break and shower glass onto the sidewalk at the front doors. 

window separating

One of the second story windows is not square or flush with the window casing. There is a large gap at the top which needs to be addressed.

Window Mullion Damage
missing mullion
window above frt doors

Many of the seventeen windows are mission some of their mullions, and the paint is peeling from all of the windows. A portion of the window frame is missing on the first floor window next to the Nez Perce doors. All of the seventeen windows need to be scraped, sanded, and treated with epoxy filler as needed. In addition, they will need to be primed and painted with at least two coats of premium exterior enamel paint.

Flashing & Stucco Damage
porch roofstucco
Some of the buildings flashing material is buckled or separated and leaking. The porch roofing material above the front doors is leaking and need to be replaced. There are several places where the stucco is badly cracked and has chunks missing. These damages need to be corrected and spot painted as necessary to match the building.

Painting & Trim 
Once all repairs are made, all exposed wood on the south and west sides of the building need to be repainted with premium exterior enamel paint.
frontSouth side

Finally, all metal trim should be scraped as needed, primed, and painted with two coats of quality exterior (DTM) paint.

Cost Estimate for Repairs to Bank Building Exterior
 Repair and recondition 17 windows  $11,000
 Stucco Repair      1,000
 Repair roof over front doors      1,000 
 Repair, rebuild, reattach trim over upper windows      3,500
 Repair, replace, reinstall roof turrets and trim above doors      4,000 
 Miscellaneous sheet metal trim repair       1,000 
 Caulk & paint: windows, metal trim, wood, stucco patches       6,000
 10% contingency for unexpected problems      2,500
 TOTAL  $30,000