The Glenn Starlin Native Plant Courtyard is a living research collection of Oregon’s native plants.
Glenn Starlin was a professor of theater arts and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon. A longtime supporter of cultural institutions, including the two museums on the UO campus, Starlin watched over, worked for, and defended programs that promoted informal education and campus-community relations. The Glenn Starlin Courtyard was named and dedicated in 1990 by long-time friend and MNCH advocate Bill Bowerman.
Mammoths at the Museum
No visit to the museum would be complete without a walk through the beautiful Glenn Starlin Native Plant Courtyard. A living research collection of Oregon’s native plants, the courtyard is home to two life-size Columbian mammoth sculptures created in 2018 by renowned paleoartist Gary Staab.
Northwest artist Wayne Chabre created the beautiful hammered copper sculptures that adorn the entrance and porticoes of the museum. The salmon, eagle, raven, bear, and wolf each embody character traits important to traditional Pacific Northwest Native cultures. Another bronze sculpture found in the courtyard is Spring Run, by Oregon artist Mack Holman. Spring Run represents a Native American woman from the Pacific Northwest processing salmon in the early twentieth century.
The horseshoe-shaped path around the courtyard is a walkable timeline where visitors can encounter more than four billion years of earth history, including a large granite boulder transported from Montana to the Willamette Valley during the catastrophic Missoula floods at the end of the last Ice Age; a replica of the Tomanowos (or Willamette) meteorite, the largest meteorite found in North America; and a 26-million year old piece of petrified wood.