The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) in Spooner is once again making plans to celebrate Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day in 2024 on Saturday May 25 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. This free event will mark the opening of the fifteenth season for the museum, and will include open house in the museum exhibit hall, ongoing activities in the canoe workshop, live music and food and beverage outdoors in the beer garden, a silent auction and canoe raffle, and of course the Canoe & Wooden Boat Show.
The 15th annual Canoe & Wooden Boat will be the highlight of the day. Over twenty exhibitors are expected to display wooden boats of all shapes, sizes, and designs --classic and modern-- as well as all kinds of classic and vintage water and paddling related items. It's not too early to register for booth space. Now is the time to make plans to be an exhibitor and display your canoe, wooden boat, or other canoe related items of interest. Booth space is free, and reserving a space is easy with the online registration form. Or you can request a reservation form by emailing to email@example.com or calling 715-635-2479. For more information visit www.wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org/boat-show.Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day is produced by the WCHM each year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
The WCHM Board of Directors has announced results of its recent election. Ballots were mailed to all WCHM members along with the Summer 2023 newsletter in early August. There were four candidates listed on the ballot as well as one space for write-ins. Members were asked to vote for up to four candidates. A return envelope accompanied each ballot.
Fifty-five ballots were returned with new candidate Mike Knuth receiving 52 votes and incumbents Dan Miller, Benson Gray and Jamie Dunn each with 50 votes. Outgoing board member Elizabeth Vollmer-Buhl was honored at a recent board meeting with a proclamation thanking her for her service.
Blu Kanu, the two sibling troubadours Artie Anderson and Rhoda Anderson Habedank, were so popular on the “Back Porch Stage” on Canoe Heritage Day 2023 that they have been asked to return next year. “You can’t beat sibling harmony,” says Artie, one half of the award winning brother and sister singer/songwriter and singalong duo Blu Kanu. The opening day event at the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum is scheduled for May 25th, 2024, the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. It’s not too early to start planning for the 2024 Canoe & Wooden Boat Show.
WCHM held its annual canoe raffle drawing on September 24th during its Canoe & Brew event. Guest of honor Peter Marshall assisted his young son in pulling the winning ticket out of the raffle drum. And the winner is....Peder Yurista from Duluth, Minnesota. Peder came to the museum a week later to claim his prize from newly elected board member Mike Knuth, who had sold the winning ticket to Yurista when he had visited the museum earlier in the summer. Mike had sold him the ticket during one of his many stints this summer as “Keymaster” at the museum. Peder selected the 16’ cedar canvas “Duet” canoe that was built in WCHM Canoe Shop in 2023 on the MacKenzie-Yost Duet form.
Natalie Warren, paddling adventurer and author of Hudson Bay Bound, has offered her 17.4 foot Langford Prospector, in which she and Ann Raiho became the first two women to make the 2,000-mile journey by paddle from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay and also split the continent in half by completing the entire length of the Mississippi, to the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum as a collection piece. Her speaking tour landed her at WCHM in April of 2022 and resulted in more than a standing room crowd on a snowy weekday evening.
WCHM invites participants for its 13th annual Canoe & Wooden Boat Show, to be held in conjunction with Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day on May 27, 2023. This one day free event will also include museum tours and open house, the unveiling of new displays, ongoing activities in the canoe workshop, and live music and food and beverage in the beer garden. Now is the time to make plans to be an exhibitor and display your canoe, wooden boat, or other canoe related items of interest.
Wooden boats of all shapes, sizes, and designs are welcome, both classic and modern, as well as all kinds of classic and vintage water and paddling related items. Whether you have items to sell, or you just have something to show off, there will be many interested folks attending this free event. Exhibitors can include individuals, commercial entities, non-profits, authors, government agencies, educators, crafters, and businesses whose products or services are relevant to boaters and wooden boats and canoes.
Booth space is free, and reserving a space is easy. You’ll find a link to an online reservation form at www.wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org/boat-show. Or you can request a reservation form by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 715-635-2479. Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day is produced by the WCHM each year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
Interested in making your own tools for wild ricing? The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum and Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary are teaming up to sponsor a Wild Rice Push Pole & Knocking Stick Workshop on March 28-30, 2023. From 6-9 pm daily in this three-evening class in the museum workshop, your instructor Gary Dunsmoor will help you make a tamarack and maple push pole and a set of white cedar knocking sticks to use for wild ricing using traditional hand tools and techniques.
Tools and materials will be provided, but feel free to bring your own hand tools (such as: a draw knife, wood plane, and wood rasp) and personal protective equipment (safety glasses and gloves). You may work individually or bring a partner for the same price. Registration required by March 27; Limit: 8 individuals or couples (If you sign up as a couple, you only need to register and pay for one of the two people). The program fee is $50/pair of knocking sticks & push pole. To register go to https://hunthill.org/event/wild-rice-push-pole-knocking-stick-workshop or call Hunt Hill at 715-635-6543.
For many a young person throughout the 1960s and 70s, making your own recreational equipment was the mantra of the day. Lacking the financial means to purchase finished equipment, they made their own from kits that were available from popular brands of the day, like Heathkit radios, Frostline clothing and camping gear, and in the case of Tim Miller and his brother Steve of Florence, Wisconsin, Trailcraft Canoes.
Tim has now donated his square stern “Trailblazer Canoe” to the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum, along with the original purchase documents, including twenty-five pages or assembly instructions and a “Canoeing Basics” pamphlet. Tim built the canoe in 1966 along with his brother Steve from a kit they purchased from Trailcraft of Glasco, Kansas, for $58.88.
“I would like to take a camping trip with you and dad, up into Canada with the station wagon, tent, and boat in tow. We could have a real cool time just fishing and hiking for a week or so,” Steve wrote his brother to entice him to join in building a canoe with him for a “summer project.” The canoe was used twice and then stored in a garage for the next 56 years. In September 2022 Tim met with WCHM Executive Director Jed Malischke to transfer the canoe to the museum as a representation of the canoe kits that opened the door to many a young person’s adventurism.
Just as the aluminum canoe replaced the wooden canoe at the end of the Second World War, in the 1970s plastics technology transformed the canoe industry and made the aluminum canoe obsolete. Uniroyal had devised a vulcanized sheet laminate at their R&D facility in Stoughton, Wisconsin, which they envisioned for use in the automotive industry. But it was never applied there, and eventually became Royalex, of which tens of thousands of canoes were fabricated by myriad American manufacturers until the mid-2000s.
Jeff Mueller from Edgerton, Wisconsin, is the lucky winner of the 2022 WCHM canoe raffle. Jeff was a very early ticket buyer, making his annual contribution during Canoecopia in Madison back in late February. “Canoecopia is a big event in my household,” explained Jeff when he arrived at the museum to pick up his new canoe, “and getting a few raffle tickets at the WCHM booth is always on my list of things to do while there.”
The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) will host its “Canoe & Brew” dinner event from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Sunday September 25th, but at a new venue this year. The Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary will be the site for this third annual celebration in 2022. Despite the new venue, many features of the event will be similar to previous years. Prior to the dinner, guests can enjoy a brew or two from Round Man Brewing and discuss their beer sampling with the brew masters. Or maybe you will prefer a wine sample or two from Clarity Wine Shop. There will also be a meet and greet, live music, displays of some of the museum’s new collections pieces, and a chance to win some of the extra raffle prizes we’ll have for the day. It all leads up to a country style dinner catered by The Roost, followed by a short post-dinner program and the annual canoe raffle drawing.
WCHM has been working with Full Tilt Marketing to increase the number of visitors through the exhibit hall, and so far the 2022 numbers look promising. At the Fourth of July break the exhibit hall had recorded 200 visitors for the year so far, a 42% increase over the 141 recorded at the same time last year. Averaging about seven visitors a day, near the end of July the tally was still 4% above the previous year, 289 visitors in 2022 vs 278 in 2021 (these numbers do not include the hundreds of uncountable visitors during the opening day open house).
The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum is once again making plans to celebrate Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day on the Saturday of Memorial weekend from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. This free event marks the season opening of the museum and will include open house in the museum exhibit hall, ongoing activities in the canoe workshop, live music and food and beverage outdoors in the beer garden, a silent auction and canoe raffle, and of course the Canoe & Wooden Boat Show. Complicating the boat show this year will be the major road construction that is taking place in Spooner this summer.
Opening day of fishing season in Wisconsin is a big deal, and for over 50 years has been marked by the Wisconsin Governor’s Fishing Opener in Northwest Wisconsin. The 56th annual event will be held in 2022 on May 6th and 7th on Shell Lake in Washburn County. The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum has been invited to participate in the event and provide a booth display at several scheduled activities, including the VIP Banquet on Friday and the Family Fishing Day at Shell Lake Memorial Park on Saturday. In addition, the museum exhibit hall and workshop will be featured as part of a tour of area attractions by travel writers and media that will be attending the opener. More information about Family Fishing Day and the Governor's Fishing Opener can be found at https://fb.me/e/1RDSF8i3m.
The remarkable 85 day journey of the first two women to canoe the 2,000 mile route from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay will be the subject of a presentation and book signing by author Natalie Warren at the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner (312 N Front St) on Thursday, April 7, 2022. The talk and signing begins at 7:00 pm and is free and open to the public. The museum will be open starting at 6:00 pm for a pre-presentation reception and exhibit hall tours.
Spring is on the way and it’s time to get ready for Canoe Heritage Day and the 12th annual Canoe & Wooden Boat Show on Saturday May 28, 2022, at the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner WI. Now is the time to make plans to be an exhibitor and display your canoe, wooden boat, or other canoe related items of interest. WCHM invites participants for this one day free event that will also include museum tours and open house, the unveiling of new displays, ongoing activities in the canoe workshop, and live music and food and beverage in the beer garden.
A recent fundraising campaign for the WCHM Perpetuity Endowment Fund was completed on January 31st, and all indications are that the results have far exceeded all expectations. The campaign began on December 1st with a goal of raising $30,000. $10,000 has already been pledged by a generous donor as a match, and another $10,000 committed by the WCHM Board from the WCHM general funds, if the first $10,000 could be raised from the WCHM membership.
The WCHM canoe trailer recently traveled to Sturtevant WI to pick up two Joseph Lucius canoes from Kathy Strasser at School Days Mall Antiques. Kathy inherited these wonderful examples of Lucius work from the estate of Henry Lamont, and is now donating them to the WCHM Collections. The two canoes are 15 foot and 12 foot representations of Lucius’ iconic Brule River Guide boats. Lamont acquired the canoes from his uncle, Wilmer Baker of Gordon WI who purchased them in the 1950s from Lucius. They have been stored indoors for many years, are in wonderful condition, and come with original paddles, poles, purchase receipts and hand written letters from Joe. WCHM member Marty Aitken came from Racine to help get the canoes down from the third floor of an old school building. The canoes are now back in Spooner in WCHM storage.
It’s been nearly five years since the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum established the WCHM Perpetuity Endowment Fund “to ensure the financial stability and continued operations of WCHM for the long term.” Established by an initial fundraising campaign that netted $30,000, it has since grown by 50% while being managed by the Wisconsin Historical Foundation, an arm of the Wisconsin Historical Society. “We need to continue growing this fund,” says WCHM Executive Director Jed Malischke, “if we want to make sure the museum is still here in ten, twenty, thirty years and beyond.”
At their recent meeting on July 21, the WCHM Board of Directors approved the appointment of Benson Gray to fill a vacant Director-At-Large position. The seat had been vacant since the passing of Jim Czajkowski in the spring and has two years remaining in its term. “I would like to welcome Benson to our board,” writes WCHM President Richard Taylor, “We very much appreciate his desire to support our mission to preserve and display objects and skills related to the history, use, and construction of canoes in North America.” Gray was nominated for the board seat by current WCHM Director-At-Large Dan Miller.
The Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) and Wisconsin Council for Local History (WCLH) have announced that 19 affiliated local historical societies will receive a total of $11,098 through their 2021 mini-grant program. The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) in Spooner, an affiliate of the WHS, is one of the recipients and will receive a mini-grant to support its PastPerfect Conversion project.
Jim Klosterman from Tamarack, Minnesota, is the lucky winner of the 2021 WCHM canoe raffle. His winning ticket, which he purchased while visiting the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum this summer, was drawn by WCHM President Rich Taylor during the post-dinner program at the second annual Canoe & Brew event held on Sunday September 26th at Pinebrook Farm. The event marks the last regular season open day for the museum, and the Canoe & Brew event celebrates the conclusion of another successful year for the museum as well as the annual canoe raffle drawing.
The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) is planning to celebrate its 11th anniversary with another “Canoe & Brew” dinner event from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Sunday September 26th. This new event was first produced last year in collaboration with two prominent local businesses, Round Man Brewing and Pine Brook Farm, and both are returning to support the party this year.
Prior to the dinner, guests can enjoy a brew or two from Round Man Brewing and discuss their beer sampling with the brew master. Then stop by the meet and greet tent and visit with naturalist Haley Appleman from the Cable Natural History Museum, check out some of the museum’s new collections pieces, and take a chance on all the extra raffle prizes we’ll have for the day. Or just sit and enjoy the music of Les Fils du Voyageur and the beautiful autumn rural setting at Pine Brook Farm.
The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner (WI) is planning another cedar-strip building class for the fall. This past May two teams of novices each built a cedar-strip canoe in the museum workshop, and took it home after completing a ten day course on canoe building. "The class went so well we decided to try another session this year with the same instructor," says WCHM Executive Director Jed Malischke.
Josh Tolkan, graduate of the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Townsend, Washington, and Artisan in Development at North House Folk School in Grand Marias, Minnesota, will be teaching a Cedar Strip Canoe Building class at WCHM in the fall of 2021.
The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum recently took possession of a 17 foot Grumman aluminum canoe with hull #438B-5-17. Originally purchased by their father, the canoe was a donation from Steve Vizanko of Bayfield WI and his sister Debbie Kaminski of Saint Paul MN. Built in Bethpage NY, which puts it prior to 1952, it is a typical post-war piece, constructed just like an aircraft with thousands of flush rivets and airtight bulkheads. One unusual feature is an original cedar floor insert that is still in remarkable condition, as is the entire craft. All in all, it is a fine example in the timeline of canoe history. WCHM thanks the Vizanko family for their donation of this canoe and its story.