There is a place on the shore of the Klamath River in the town of Klamath Falls that was once a summer fishing site for local Native Americans. That was in the 1800s.
Today, on that very site sits one of the world’s finest collections of Native American artifacts and western art — the world-renowned Favell Museum.
Gene Favell grew up in Lakeview, Oregon, in the 1930s.
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As a young boy and later as a young man, he spent countless hours scouring the eastern Oregon terrain for Native American artifacts like arrowheads and spears. Young Gene found many Native American artifacts.
His personal collection grew over the years to the point that, in 1972, Gene Favell opened what was to become one of the premier museums of Native American artifacts and western art.
This museum houses more than 100,000 Native American artifacts, some as old as 12,000 years. There is original western art and one of the largest arrowhead collections in the world, gathered over decades by Gene Favell.
There is also a collection of old west firearms, including many miniature guns and rifles.
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Wandering through this world-class collection gives one a feel for how creative and adaptive the native people were. The artifacts give you a sense of what it must have been like for the early Native Americans to survive and thrive in eastern and Southern Oregon.
As Gene Favell said, “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.”
The artwork helps explain how the artifacts on display were used in daily life. In fact, teaching is a big part of the message and mission at Favell Museum.
Items from the Modoc, Klamath, Shasta and Paiute nations are on display throughout the museum. Most artifacts here are from western Native American nations.
Gene Favell’s original collection is most impressive and would not be out place in a museum in a metropolitan setting.
This collection has been augmented by some generous donations. Impressive not only by the sheer number of artifacts and artwork, but also by the goal to share this history with everyone.