The Strange Twin Museums of the Columbia Gorge

There’s nothing understated about the Columbia Gorge, a deep chasm carved through the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River as its backbone. The section east of Portland is the best-known slice of Gorge (unless you’re a music fan—the Gorge Amphitheatre is in a different area altogether), dotted with wineries and restaurants and windsurfers. And two Gorge museums.

The names of these two totally separate institutions are no help in distinguishing them: The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum versus the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum. Confused yet? Each secrets some strange and memorable exhibits, and the pair makes good bookends to a Gorge road trip. Here’s how to tell them

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