Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Hood River History Museum

I've been saving this small museum in Hood River, Oregon, for a rainy day.  I thought I would be in and out within an hour; I stayed for two.  There is a library on the second floor with shelves of historical books on the area and I sat down, poring over tomes on Oregon bridges and architecture.  (And, of course, now have a list for future trips.)

Most of the history I had already picked up in various other museums, but what I liked about this one was the timeline, concentrating only on Hood River.  It started with the Native Americans and then proceeded to highlight subsequent eras and events like the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Oregon Trail, railroads and river traffic, to today's fruit industry and windsurfing frenzy.

The museum is filled with Native American and pioneering artifacts.  Of special interest was the early gear of mountain climbers, especially the Crag Rats, a rescue group founded in 1926, and still active today.

A gallery honoring the life of Luhr Jensen, Sr., was singularly enchanting.  This is a man who took a hobby and turned it into one of the largest fishing tackle businesses in the world.  After losing his job in the Great Depression and losing his home in a fire, he lived and worked in the backyard chicken coop, designing and making fishing lures.  His company in Hood River employed 300 people at one time but eventually closed.

The museum has several displays of his beautiful creations.

I was glad to see that the sports of Hood River were covered, as well.  This is the "lure" today.  The kite boarding and windsurfing; the hiking and bike trails.

But whenever I go to a museum, big or small, there is always a hidden treat--something so unique and beautiful, something so unexpected that it becomes the highlight of the whole visit.  At the Hood River History Museum, there were two such items.

1.  An 1800's quilt embroidered with local birds.

2.  The Japanese poem in the front.

In the light of the morning sun
On the Columbia River
A wheat-laden tugboat is sailing.
Look!  A Japanese ship is anchored.

 . . . and that's why I love going to museums on a rainy day.  Instead of succumbing to cabin fever, I am out exploring the world.  

Time travel.  Another form of magic.

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