There’s an endearing charm to the Mt. Hood Cultural Center (88900 Government Camp Loop, 503-272-3301, mthoodmuseum.org) that does not derive from the organization of its displays. Each room of the small home, which has been converted into a free museum, is stuffed and stacked full of relics—ranging from a history of fire lookouts to the evolution of ski designs as well as Mount Hood botany. You’ll have to work a little to sort through the mass of information, but the scavenging is worth it. Browse science fair-style expository boards to learn about the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which built much of the area’s trails and campsites under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Or study the skulls of animals native to the area in an upstairs case and try to guess which belonged to what. And if history doesn’t thrill you, you can always bide your time at the center’s miniature gift shop and find a tchotchke to take home.