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Oregon Historical Society reopens after being damaged from Sunday's riot

October 15, 2020 | In the Press

From KATU (https://katu.com/news/local/oregon-historic-society-reopens-after-being-damaged-from-sundays-riot)

The Oregon Historical Society opened Wednesday after the building was vandalized during Sunday's riot.

"What happened Sunday night did not detour us from our mission," said Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society.

The front windows and doors were shattered and an African American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt was stolen.

Police said a flare was thrown into the building but went out before it caused any significant damage.

Since the incident, Tymchuk said the Oregon Historical Society has received at least $60,000 in donations and has 150 new members.

"It has been overwhelming the amount of support we’ve received," he said.

The commemorative quilt was found soaking wet from the rain on Sunday. The quilt, finished in1976, is intact but slightly damaged.

The historic quilt will need to be restored by a professional museum conservator, said Nicole Yasuhara the deputy museum director.

Yasuhara pointed out dirt on the quilt and said the water caused the color to bleed.

"It would be a very slow process to make sure that they’re cleaning it appropriately, that they’re not causing any warping or stretching," Yasuhara said.

Sylvia Gates Carlisle, the only surviving quilter who helped craft the quilt with 14 other Black women from Portland, said Wednesday her mother wanted to create the quilt to highlight Black individuals and pivotal moments in history.

"My quilt's block is a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, the fist and the broken chain," she said. "That was really important to me because obviously my family are descendants of slaves."

Carlisle said she doesn't why the quilt was taken from the Oregon Historical Society.

"If their intent in regards to the quilt was accidental, then those individuals can show sorrow by paying to help repair it," she said. "If their intent was malicious, it doesn't matter because the work and the legacy will live on regardless."

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