I was flipping through my newly purchased copy of The Zinester’s Guide to Portland when I came across an entry for a vacuum museum. I knew right away that I had to get myself there immediately (if not sooner!) because ‘cmon guys, vacuum museum!
The museum is located inside the Stark’s Vacuum Cleaner Sales and Service which is basically just a large vacuum showroom where people can purchase new vacuums or have their old ones repaired. Off to one side, though, you’ll notice a sign advertising the museum. The store staff are friendly and rather than taking my utter lack of interest in purchasing a vacuum as an insult, they willingly pointed me in the direction of the museum.
There I found a surprising collection of vacuums from all different periods, though there seemed to be an emphasis on older, historic models. The display is simple, almost cluttered but in a way that is more charming than frustrating. While many of the vacuums are displayed without any accompanying information, others have tags (pictured left) on which someone has taken the time to describe the vacuum’s history and importance. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t fall a little bit in love with some of the descriptions: “It [the vacuum] is mounted on four wheels and is another example of an idea someone had to build a better vacuum cleaner.” So lovely!
If you find yourself in Portland and wanting to learn more about an appliance you had previously taken for granted (or in my case, loathed) check out Stark’s Vacuum Museum – you might just find yourself developing a bit of reverence for this quotidien household machine. For information and hours, visit their website at http://starks.com/about_us/vacuum