Living History at Dorris Ranch

Registration for summer programs and activities will become available as public health recommendations permit. Initial registration and waitlists for some programs may be online as soon as late May. Stay tuned to for new announcements.

In the meantime, please see for activities your family can enjoy together from home.

The Living History Village

Visitors to the Historic Village at Dorris Ranch can tour three areas of importance in early Oregon history.

Masterson Pioneer Homestead

Step back to 1852 and discover what life was like for a newly arrived pioneer immigrant family in the fledgling town of Springfield. William and Eliza Masterson and their five young children set out on the Oregon Trail for their "free" land. As part of the Homestead Act, they staked out their 320-acre donation land claim on what was later to become Dorris Ranch. They settled their growing family in a simple, 12-foot-by-16-foot log cabin like this one. A nearby blacksmith shop shows children how the father of the family may have fashioned his tools, and a freight farm wagon depicts the mode of transportation.

Northwest Coast Native American Plank House
This 20- by 16-foot plank house made of cedar planks, like the homes Native Americans built in this area before 1820.

Trapper's Cabin
This replica of an 1830s fur trapper's cabin helps students learn about this significant era of Oregon history.

Traveling Trunk Shows

Let us bring history to you. Historical interpreters in period costume transport the excitement of learning to your group. Choose your experience:
  • One-Room Schoolhouse
  • Kalapuya: The First People
  • Entertainment of the Victorian Era
  • The Pioneer Settler

$50 for a one-hour presentation done by one interpreter. Sign up here

Field Trips

A field trip to Dorris Ranch includes:
  • A packet of guidelines for teachers.
  • A two-hour program beginning at 9:30 a.m.
  • Classes are invited to bring a sack lunch to eat at the ranch after the program.
  • We can accommodate up to 35 students each day.
  • Download the teacher information packet.
In-district student: $4 each
Out-of-district student: $4.50 each
Teachers/adult chaperones: Free

Payment: one check made payable to Willamalane Park and Recreation District. We cannot accept cash, multiple checks, or purchase orders.

Field Trip Programs

Kalapuya: Experience the way of life of the Kalapuya tribe that made their home in and around Dorris Ranch. Spend time in the plank house exploring tools and foods of the tribe, learn traditional cedar weaving techniques, and walk among the woods learning to identify items using Chinook Wawa.

Pioneer Homestead: Experience the life of an Oregon Trail immigrant at the Masterson homestead. Step back in time to 1852, when William, Eliza, and their five young children settled their donation land claim on what was to become Dorris Ranch. Visit their log cabin, help tend crops, grind grain, bake cornbread, split firewood, pump water, and more. We provide poke bonnets and straw hats.

People of the Land: Who lived in the Willamette Valley before us? During this educational tour, students experience the lives of Kalapuya Indians, Hudson's Bay Co. trappers, and Oregon Trail pioneers. Learn the traditional hunting methods of the Kalapuya. Visit the trading post and examine furs. Lend a hand at the pioneer cabin.

Please fill out this form to register. Your group name on the Living History Calendar below is your confirmation. If you have any questions, please contact Jen Marsh.

Current Availability

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