A must on any campus tour is the recently renovated and expanded Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (next to the main library, 1430 Johnson Lane, 541/346-3027, http://uoma.uoregon.edu , 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues. and Thurs.–Sun., 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Wed. year-round, $5 adults, $3 seniors, ages 18 and under free).
This museum is a real gem, with a surprisingly good collection of contemporary art, including works by Chuck Close, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, and many Northwest artists. Another major highlight is a nationally renowned Asian collection (don’t miss the jade); the revolving paintings and photography exhibits on the first floor are also usually worthwhile.
The university’s other quite wonderful museum is entirely different: The Natural History Museum (1680 E. 15th Ave., 541/346-3024, www.uoregon.edu/~mnh , 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed.–Sun., $3, $2 students and seniors) showcases Oregon ’s prehistory and includes artifacts from digs in eastern Oregon as well as bird and mammal fossils from around the state.
A portion of Thomas Condon’s fossil collection displays the curiosities culled from the earth by the man known as Oregon’s first geologist and the discoverer of the John Day Fossil Beds. There’s also a set of sagebrush sandals dated at 9,350 years old (from the collection of those found by Dr. Luther Cressman), 15-million-year-old shell fossils, a whale vertebra, and mammoth tusks.
To get there from Hayward Field on Agate Street, go east on 15th Avenue and look for a fish sculpture on your right, in front of an attractive wooden building, across the street from the dorms. Pick up the Trees of Eugene tour pamphlet at the information desk to annotate a scenic and historic jaunt through Eugene ’s leafy glades.
Maude Kerns Art Center (1910 E. 15th Ave., 541/345-1571, www.mkartcenter.org , 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., noon–4 p.m. Sat., free) is just east of the University of Oregon  campus. Set in an old church, this gallery is dedicated to contemporary art of nationally known as well as regionally prominent artists. This gallery and others downtown are the focal points of a gallery walk (Lane Arts Council, 541/485-2278, www.lanearts.org , 5:30–8:30 p.m. first Fri. of the month).
Just across the river in Alton Baker Park  Science Factory (2300 Leo Harris Pkwy., 541/682-7888, www.sciencefactory.org , 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily summer, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed.–Sun. during the school year, closed on university home football game days, $7 exhibits and planetarium, $4 exhibits or planetarium alone) is designed to stimulate scientific understanding and curiosity in everyday life. The permanent exhibits are similar to those at Portland’s Oregon Museum of Science and Industry  and are complemented by a new set of traveling exhibits every three months. The Science Factory’s hands-on orientation reaches its apex during the summer.
The museum’s excellent planetarium is highly recommended (shows 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sat.–Sun., $4). The Science Factory–Planetarium complex is reached from I-5 by taking I-105 West to the Coburg Road Exit and following the signs to Autzen Stadium (look for Centennial Boulevard and the Leo Harris Parkway).
The Lane County Historical Museum (740 W. 13th Ave., 541/682-4242, www.museumslanecounty.org , 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed.–Fri., noon–4 p.m. Sat.–Sun., $2 adults, $1 seniors, $0.75 youth) can be found next to the fairgrounds. Just look for the steam donkey on the front lawn. There are other 19th-century logging vehicles and period rooms on display. The Oregon Trail exhibits are among the most interesting.
Close to the Eugene Airport, the Oregon Air and Space Museum (90377 Boeing Dr., 541/461-1101, www.oasm.info , noon–4 p.m. Wed.–Sun., $5) has vintage aircraft, artifacts, and displays; serious aircraft buffs should visit McMinnville ’s air museum.