by Maria Rojas
When Wayne Smith, an old time St. Johns barber and the unofficial neighborhood historian, passed away in Fall 2017, it struck the community hard. Wayne had opened Wayne’s Barber Shop in downtown St. Johns back in 1946, and was a long time fixture in the neighborhood. Passionate community members rallied to establish a Museum, something that had been talked about before, but never acted on. Convergence Architecture offered to provide project management time to establish the fledgling organization, and started a partnership with the St. Johns Center for Opportunity and the Roosevelt Alumni Association. Over time, more and more volunteers and organizations like the St. Johns Heritage Association joined the group by attending monthly committee meetings. As things progressed and the organization solidified, Convergence employees Barb Anderson and Maria Rojas decided to more formally tackle the work ahead by taking on the leadership roles of co-chairs of the steering committee.

Wayne with his children in front of his shop.

The Museum team has been working to create a following and a presence in the community by tabling at local events as well as creating a Museum Sneak Peek event this past October. The sneak peek event was held at the old St. Johns Post Office building, currently the Baha’i Center. With the help of volunteers the event served as a great way to show the community the educational opportunity a Museum in the area would provide. Exhibits about the St. Johns Bridge, Black Press in Portland, and early St. Johns pioneer T.J. Monahan were just a few of the curated stories displayed. The St. Johns Museum is excited to continue to work with the community and establish itself as an educational resource and promoter of St. Johns and North Portland history.
If you would like to learn more about the St Johns Museum, you can visit their website at:

The St Johns Museum Logo