Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum | Midwest Living

Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum

312 N. Front St.
Spooner  Wisconsin  54801
United States
(715) 635-2479
(715) 635-5002
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    - Melanie Radzicki McManus
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Midwest Living Review

Melanie Radzicki McManus
Learn a little about canoe history at this well-done museum.

You don't have to be a canoeist to appreciate this well-designed museum, full of interesting insights into the history and development of canoes and canoeing in North America. In the museum's first room, you'll learn about crafting birch bark, wood and canvas canoes, and why canoes come in various shapes, sizes and materials. About a half-dozen canoes are on display, including an Ojibwa beauty and an 1890 Gerrish canvas canoe from Maine. There's also information on America's 19th-century "canoe craze," when ordinary Americans first began recreational canoeing. The second room contains a small camping diorama and additional, more modern, canoes, plus a North Woods-theme sitting area featuring a clever canoe cocktail table.

The museum is run by volunteers and includes a canoe workshop where museum members build and restore canoes and paddles. Ask for a quick tour—it's interesting to be able to see and touch a canvas canoe under construction, for example, or a handcrafted paddle made from several wood types. A small gift shop rounds out the facility, which, by the way, was built circa 1912 and was once part of Spooner's railroad infrastructure. Although the museum is small, it's definitely worth the $4 admission.

August 9, 2012

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