The Favell Museum is a rare treasure based on a boy’s interest in collecting artifacts from Western heritage. The museum was built to showcase Gene Favell’s private collection and to share it with all who visit. The museum has been expanded to include other personal collections and Western art by many prestigious and well-known artists. Today the museum is run by a private non-profit foundation.
A visit to the Favell Museum is a must for anyone who loves the West and enjoys learning about Western art and Native American artifacts. The Favell Family’s philosophy is well summed up in the museum’s theme statement, which is carved in redwood and hangs over the museum entrance.
“This museum is dedicated to the Indians who roamed and loved this land before the coming of the white man and to those artists who truly portray the inherited beauty which surrounds us. Their artifacts and art are an important part of the heritage of the West.” – Gene & Winifred Favell
Over 100,000 Indian artifacts, illustrating the lives of indigenous tribes from around the world are on display. The primary focus is on Native American tribes. Collections dating from 12,000 years ago include thousands of arrowheads, obsidian knives, spear points, primitive ancient stone tools, native clothing, intricate beadwork, basketry, pottery and more. The museum is home to an incredible fire opal arrowhead. Found in the Black Rock Desert in 1910, the opal arrowhead serves as the museum’s centerpiece.
The collections on display give the visitor a suggestion of the richness and variety of societies no longer here and they illustrate how creative and adaptive the native people were. The artifacts give you a feel for what it must have been like for the early Native Americans to survive and thrive in southern Oregon, on the Columbia River and up and down the west coast of north and south American. The collection represents native cultures from the mid-west to the Pacific and from Peru to Alaska.
The Cougar Mountain Cave” display parallels the finds of Dr. Luther Cressman who wrote “The Sandal and the Cave” about the earliest finds in Oregon. Anasazi pottery from the Tonto Basin, numerous baskets representing tribes of the west, artifacts from the ancient Chumash of the Santa Barbara region are just of a few of the collections that visitors enjoy.
Among the ancient artifacts, you will find original paintings by many famous western artists, including the original oil “The Scout” by Charles M. Russell. You will also find original paintings by Edgar S. Paxson, John Clymer, Joe Beeler and many more, who tell in their own artistic style, the story of the west. The displays represent a significant roll call of the Cowboy Artists of America.
The most recent addition to the museum is artwork by Joseph Macy. This collection includes the bronze busts of six Native American Chiefs. They each tell their own story and are a magnificent addition to the museum.
Working models of miniature firearms include pistols, rifles and even gatling guns which are meticulous copies of life-size originals. A collection of this magnitude is rarely seen on public display.
Using Gene’s extensive book collection, a reference library has been created which contains art books, especially about artists who have paintings in the museum, history, Indian cultures and periodicals.
About Gene Favell
Eugene and Ruth Favell lived in high desert of southeastern Oregon. Affected by the drought of the 1930′s, small lakes in the area began to dry up. Wind began to blow across the desert, revealing ancient stone tools. Eugene and Ruth, along with their son Gene, discovered an interesting hobby.
The family would drive out in the desert, while Gene, riding on the running board of their car, would scan the countryside looking for artifacts.
Gene’s parents always impressed upon him the need to give back to his community. His father’s favorite saying was “Service to your community is the rent you pay for living in it.”
While still a senior in high school, Gene enlisted in the Navy, closely following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and served until 1947, when he entered Stanford University to major in economics and American history. It was there that he met Winifred Lamm. They were married in 1949.
Gene’s love of the outdoors and artifact collecting were a natural. He spent over 30 years pursuing his interest with his family and friends. His collection outgrew the Favell home. Remembering the lessons taught to him by his parent about service to community and the need to give back, Gene and Winifred began planning a museum. Their dream was realized on April 15, 1972, with the ribbon cutting.
In the late 1970′s the Favells began attending Western art shows and traveling in search of new acquisitions. The collections were upgraded constantly with major notable artists. Not only did the paintings come into the museum, the artists came with them, especially during the annual anniversary show.
Following Gene’s death in 2001, the museum was re-organized as a private, non-profit organization.
Gift Shop & Prints
Our one-of-a-kind gift shop is home to a large inventory of prints that are available for purchase. Artists include James Bama, John Clymer, Bev Doolittle, Don Hummel, Frank McCarthy, William S. Phillips, Ina Pruitt, C.M. Russell, Howard Terpning & many more. You can also purchase our prints online at WesternGalleryofArt.com.
The gift shop also features Oregon-made gifts, jewelry (including Southwestern turquoise), books, beadwork, and a variety of beautiful consignment items from local artists.