The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience envisions connecting people around the world to inspire service and peace, showing that our common humanity is more fundamental than the cultures and ideas that separate us.
The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience collects and preserves stories and objects of material culture donated by volunteers who serve in communities around the globe. It fosters cultural understanding through education and promotes research on the impact of Peace Corps, encouraging visitors to serve—wherever they live, however they can.
In 1999 a group of returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Portland, Oregon, established the Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience. The group managed acquisition of objects, organized professionally curated exhibitions, and pursued funding sources.
The Portland committee expanded its membership and vision to the national level in 2016. Representatives from around the country met prior to the Peace Corps Connect 55th anniversary conference in Washington, DC, to strategize how to launch a national collaboration. The following year, the committee gathered for its first in-person planning retreat in Denver, in conjunction with the 2017 Peace Corps Connect.
The group formulated four strategic initiatives: operations, collections, fundraising, and technology. Goals focused on expanding the Museum’s operation and visibility, including logo and website design, accessioning and storing collections, launching of virtual exhibits, reestablishing a board of directors, securing paid staff, and identifying a site for the physical museum.
The Committee supports the three goals of Peace Corps:
- Help the people of interested countries meet their need for trained men and women.
- Help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
- Help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
An institutional member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum preserves and exhibits objects, shares Peace Corps stories, and educates visitors, all in compliance with best practices and highest standards of museum management.
The Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience is a National Peace Corps Association affiliate and a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit corporation neither affiliated with nor acting on behalf of the U.S. Peace Corps.
Winter 1999 Columbia River Peace Corps Association (now Portland Peace Corps Association) members formed an organizing committee to create a Peace Corps museum
January 2000 Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience (CMPCE) awarded a business grant by Burdock-Burn Art Resource Inc.; Portland, OR
March 2000 CMPCE incorporated as a 501(c)(3) private Oregon nonprofit
Winter 2002 Technical assistance grant for Board development awarded by Regional Arts and Culture Council; Portland, OR
July 2003 Museum project introduced at National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) Group Leaders annual meeting; Portland, OR
July 2013 Project grant awarded by Oregon City Chamber of Commerce
March 2016 Presentation at NPCA Group Leaders (Pacific Northwest Region) conference; Portland Community College
September 2016 Meeting to discuss expanding Museum project to national level. George Washington University Library; Washington, DC
Participated in Peace Corps Connect 55th anniversary conference. George Washington University; Washington, DC
July 2018 Expanded Board of Directors
March 2001 Artifacts and Anecdotes: Celebrating Forty Years of Peace Corps Service. Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center; Portland, OR
March 2003 Artifacts for John F. Kennedy exhibit on loan to German Historical Museum; Bonn, Germany
June–August 2003 The Peace Corps Experience: Celebrations, Events, and Games. Collins Gallery, Multnomah County Main Library; Portland, OR
July 2005 The Peace Corps Experience: Bringing the World Home. Art Institute of Portland
June 2007 Participated in Day of the African Child. World Forestry Center; Portland, OR
September 2008–June 2009 Exhibit and classroom presentations. International School; Beaverton, OR
March–June 2011 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, with workshops. Oregon Historical Society; Portland, OR
June–December 2014 The Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Service, with workshops. Clackamas Community College and Portland Community College, OR; Clark College and Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries, Salmon Creek and Battle Ground, WA
January–July 2015 Select items from 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps exhibit on loan to Dayton International Peace Museum; Dayton, OH
January–May 2016 Select items from 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps exhibit on loan to Wilmington College; Wilmington, OH
September 22, 2019 Peace Corps Place exhibition at REACH Opening Festival, with premiere of documentary A Towering Task: the Story of the Peace Corps. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Washington, DC
January 23–May 23, 2021 Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience. American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center; Washington, DC