The 2019 Annual Assembly of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) will be held at Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, New York on July 16-21, 2019. It’s an annual event that brings together WCHA members from around the world, and this 40th annual Assembly will feature centenarian canoes. They expect to have over 300 new, vintage, and historic canoes on display, plus workshops, programs, on-water events, and sales of canoes, paddles, accessories, and building supplies.
For more information visit www.WCHA.org or call 603-323-8992.
Volunteers were waiting at the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner last Friday May 17 for the expected arrival of an antique Old Town “War Canoe.” It would take a number of people to move this large craft, built to be paddled by as many as ten people at a time, so those volunteers would be needed when the canoe arrived.
“War Canoe,” or the racing of large canoes with eight to ten paddlers, was a popular sporting activity for canoe clubs throughout the latter part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries, especially in Canada. This particular canoe is owned by Mike Cichanowski, founder and CEO of Wenona Canoes, and is being lent to the museum for the summer of 2019. The canoe will reside in the museum canoe shop to undergo a summer’s long restoration project while being available for viewing by the visiting public.
The canoe arrived about 2:15 PM, and there was plenty of help on hand to unload it from a specially modified trailer, move it indoors, unwrap it from its shrink wrapped protection, and gawk at this nearly 100 year old marvel.
A traditional Ojibwe birch bark ceremonial canoe, donated to the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum by Rochelle Lamm in 2017, is being loaned to the Prairie du Chien Chamber of Commerce for display at their Travel Wisconsin Welcome Center. Prairie du Chien is located just above the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, and is the oldest European settlement on the Upper Mississippi River. The Welcome Center is located on Main Street just south of the downtown area, and provides the busy tourist trade with information on what to see and do in the area. WCHM delivered the canoe and it was installed in the center by city workers on March 11.
WCHM invites participants for its 11th annual Canoe & Wooden Boat Show, to be held in conjunction with Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day on May 25, 2019. 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.
The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) 2019 canoe raffle is underway. Tickets are available now for $20 per ticket or six for $100. A limit of only 500 tickets will be sold. The winner will once again have a choice of one of two canoes. The first canoe is our newly built (soon to be completed) 15’ tandem cedar canvas canoe built on the original MacKenzie-Yost Duet form. The second canoe is also a tandem rigged 15’ cedar canvas canoe with walnut trim built on the MacKenzie-Yost MyPal form. Thank you to Jamie Dunn and his crew of volunteers for his hard work in construction of both of these excellent boats built in the WCHM canoe shop. The drawing will take place on Saturday September 28th, 2019 (the last day of the season for the exhibit hall).
The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) began 2018 with 140 dues paying members. It entered 2019, its tenth year, with a membership drive and a goal of finding 50 new members. The four month drive was completed on February 1st after receiving 81 memberships, 30 renewals and 51 new members, for total revenue of $5,590.
“We are very pleased with the results of the drive,” says WCHM Executive Director Jed Malischke. “By becoming members of the museum,” explains Malischke, “these folks have joined a community of people who believe the heritage of canoes is worth preserving for future generations.
It seems that every canoe has a story that is important to someone. Maybe it's a family heirloom that you cherish? Maybe it’s an adventure you want to remember? Or an ongoing love story perhaps? Maybe it’s a special river, lake, or place you recall? Maybe it's a continent that was explored, history that was made, a heritage worth preserving.
The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) wants to preserve them all, the canoes and the stories, so on the eve of their tenth anniversary, they are looking to expand their membership base in order to support their continued growth as an institution based in Spooner, Wisconsin. “By becoming a member of the museum,” explains WCHM Executive Director Jed Malischke, “You will join a community of canoe preservationists and story tellers, working together to make sure future generations can see our canoes and hear our stories.” And as an extra incentive for anyone signing up with their 2019 membership dues before January 31st the museum is offering a free waterproof phone pouch as a thank you gift.
Jane Palmisano from San Antonio (TX) is the lucky winner of the 2018 WCHM canoe raffle. Her winning ticket, which she purchased while on a visit to the museum this past summer, was drawn by WCHM Board member Lynn Herman during a ceremony at the museum on Sunday September 30th at 3:00 PM.
It was the last regular season open day for the museum, and the ceremony was held during a small party celebrating the conclusion of the season as well as the arrival of a new canoe donated to the museum. Former WCHM President Mike Johnson presented the museum with a donation of a restored 1947 16 foot Muller canoe (#24773). The Muller Boatworks has been making boats in Minnesota since 1872. The same family still owns and operates Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental to this day.
Jane now has her choice of one of two canoes or $1,000 cash. The first canoe is a 15 foot cedar canvas tandem canoe built in the WCHM shop in 2017 on a MacKenzie-Yost MyPal form. The second canoe is a solo rigged 14 foot cedar canvas canoe built on a form designed by Jerry Karbon. Jane plans to visit the museum soon to make her choice and expects to depart with one of the two canoes in tow.
The new WCHM display celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act has turned out to be quite popular with museum visitors. Entitled “Wisconsin’s Moving National Park,” the display focuses on the Namekagon River in Wisconsin, which together with the St. Croix River forms the St Croix National Scenic Riverway. “Everybody that visits the museum loves the new display, especially the wall size map of the Riverway,” claims WCHM Executive Director Jed Malischke, “They all want to look up where they have been on the river, or where they are planning to go.”
Robert Morris from the Brewery Creek Small Boat Shop in Vancouver, British Columbia, and author of the illustrated instructional book "Building Skin-on-Frame Boats", will present “Caribou Kayak: Building Boats to Survive” at the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner, Wisconsin, on Wednesday August 1st. It will be an evening of high arctic video, photographs, and storytelling. The presentation begins at 7:30 pm and is free and open to the public.
The Netsilingmeot kayak is primarily a caribou hunting boat. Survival in the high arctic was measured not just with food, but in the number of caribou hides a man could supply his family for clothing. Hip-wide and nearly twenty feet long, every aspect of the Netsilingmeot kayak’s design was optimized for lancing and killing caribou as they crossed rivers. In the age of aircraft, skidoos and ATVs, caribou no longer need to be chased down and lanced from a kayak. Why then were Morris and shop mate Mark Reuten invited to work with elders in the community of Kugaaruk to reestablish local kayak building traditions?
On Saturday May 26, from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM, the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) in Spooner (WI) will be celebrating Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day. This free annual event marks the season opening of the museum and the unveiling of a new annual exhibit. The main attraction of the day will be the Canoe & Wooden Boat Show. A wide array of antique canoes, boats, and canoe related materials will be on display, with collectors, builders, and canoeing enthusiasts in general bringing their gems to display, trade, sell, or just simply talk about.
Due to a cancellation, one opening has become available for the spring paddle making class at the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum on May 11-12, 2018. The class is limited to eight participants, and all the available spots filled rapidly when the class was first announced two months ago. But a last-minute opening for one person had now become available for this real hands-on experience, so quick registration is recommended. For more information or to register call 715-635-2479 or email to info@WisconsinCanoeHeritageMuseum.org.
In this two-day class participants will actually make a canoe paddle in a design of their own choosing, using traditional and modern tools and techniques.