Stark's Vacuum Museum

Things To Do In Portland – Stark’s Vacuum Museum

Stark’s Vacuum Museum

In the heart of Portland, Oregon, is a small museum that many people don’t know about. Stark’s Vacuum Museum houses over 100 years’ worth of vacuum cleaner inventions, and it’s one of the most exciting places to go in town! It might not sound like much, but this place has been visited by celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn and Leonardo DiCaprio. If you’re looking for something different to do in Portland, then be sure to stop by this unique tourist destination!

Some of the exhibits at Stark’s Vacuum Museum include early vacuum cleaners from the 1800s and more modern models. There are also educational displays about the history of vacuums and their impact on society. If you’re a fan of technology or engineering, this museum is definitely for you!

History of Stark’s Vacuum Museum

In 1944, Stark’s Vacuum was established to sell new and used vacuum cleaners. When the first store opened on SW Broadway Avenue, it had more than 100 different vacuums for sale. In 1963, Harold Rauchberger purchased the business from its original owner Bob Stevens and renamed it “Stark’s Vacuum Museum.”

Since then, the museum has been open to the public and features a wide variety of vacuum cleaners from all around the world. It’s one of the only museums of its kind in North America, so if you’re ever in Portland, be sure to stop by!

Facts About Stark’s Vacuum Museum

-It first opened in 1944

-Stark’s Vacuum Museum is the only one of its kind in North America

-More than 100 different models are displayed at Stark’s Vacuum Museum. The oldest vacuum cleaner dates back to 1869.

Some popular exhibits include “Vacuums Through the Ages,” which features a 17th century “Dalmatian.” This early model is made from wood and was called this because it had a black spot on its side that resembled a Dalmatian dog!

-There is also a section of the museum dedicated to modern vacuum cleaners, including models from companies such as Dyson and Hoover.

What to Bring in Stark’s Vacuum Museum

A sense of humor. The Stark’s Vacuum Museum is a quirky little place, and you’ll enjoy it more if you go in with a light heart.

Some knowledge of vacuum cleaners. While not mandatory, it will give you a bit more to appreciate the exhibits on display.

A camera! This is one museum you’ll want to take pictures in.

Small children and easily-bored people should be avoided at all costs. Children will get fidgety very quickly, and you don’t need a bored kid making noise in the museum (Which happens more often than I care to admit.).

Stark’s Vacuum Museum is not wheelchair accessible. There are 14 steps leading into the main exhibit area, and there is no elevator or other way to get up there.

Events in Stark’s Vacuum Museum

There are several events that take place at Stark’s Vacuum Museum. In April, they host a tea party where visitors can have cookies and milk under the watchful eye of their favorite vacuum cleaners from the museum collection. This event is held on Saturdays in April, so be sure to check out their schedule if you plan on attending.

The museum also has an event that is held annually known as the Annual Vacuum Cleaner and Dirt Ball Dance. This dance takes place on a Saturday in August, and guests are asked to wear formal attire for this special occasion. The ticket price includes live music, dancing, refreshments, and cocktails served by bartenders hired from local bars.

Things to Do in Stark’s Vacuum Museum

Not everyone can say that they’ve seen the most extensive vacuum cleaner collection in the world. But those who do, claim it as a bucket list experience to be checked off before you die. Stark’s Vacuum Museum is home to over 1000 vacuum cleaners, and it keeps growing.

Immerse yourself in the history of this essential household appliance through photos, advertisements, artifacts, and even a replica storefront facade from an old-fashioned hardware store! You’ll learn about the evolution of vacuums since 1760 when they were invented by a British engineer named James Murray and, of course, the rapid evolution in design and technology over the past century. You can even play around with vintage models, try on old-fashioned vacuum cleaner costumes or sit behind a replica cash register to complete your experience!

Stark’s Vacuum Museum offers over 40 exhibits that include:

  • Over 1000 vacuum cleaners
  • Vacuum cleaner costumes and other memorabilia from the first “Suit-E-Cleaners” pageant held in 1944 at New York’s Astor Hotel.
  • A life-size replica storefront facade of a hardware store in 1912. The building was last used as an antique mall before becoming part of Stark’s Vacuum Museum.
  • A replica of the first vacuum cleaner ever made, called the “Puffing Billy.”
  • Vacuum cleaners from around the world, including a Russian model that was used in space and an Australian model that is still running after 50 years!

So if you’re looking for something unique to do in Portland, or you’re a die-hard fan of the humble vacuum cleaner, make sure to plan your visit to Stark’s Vacuum Museum.

How to Get to Stark’s Vacuum Museum

Stark’s Vacuum Museum is located on SW Stark Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues. The closest public transportation stop is the Portland Art Museum/SW Park Avenue MAX Station on the Blue Line.

Stark’s Vacuum Museum Hours and Location

The museum is open from April through October on Saturdays only (except holidays). The hours are 12:00 pm – 30 minutes before sunset every Saturday at 26600 SW Parkway Ave, Wilsonville, OR 97070. Admission is $12 per person or $20 for a family (up to five people). For more information and updates on events, visit their website at: or check out their Facebook page at:

P.S.: The Stark’s Vacuum Museum has a “no touching” rule for their exhibits to ensure that the fragile pieces are not damaged by mishandling. If you’re bringing children, be sure they understand this before entering!

Stark’s Vacuum Museum is a great place to go for those interested in the history of vacuum cleaners. They have a variety of exhibits that cover different aspects of the vacuum cleaner’s past and some interactive elements that allow visitors to try out different models.


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