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River of Memory: The Everlasting Columbia

Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History
Nelson BC – thru Aug 5, 2007

Brubaker Aerial Surve - Mouth of Columbia River from Pacific Ocean
Brubaker Aerial Survey, Mouth of Columbia River from Pacific Ocean (1929), photograph, collection: National Archives, Pacific Alaska Region [Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History, Nelson BC, through Aug 5]


River of Memory is a travelling exhibition developed by the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center in Washington. The exhibit portrays the entire length of the Columbia River as it once appeared through sixty historical photographs and the writings of early explorers, surveyors, and naturalists, as well as writings by contemporary Canadian and American writers and poets. Above the installations, 143 hand-painted silk fish represent all species ever found in the river’s 2000 kilometre length.

River of Memory plays an important role in introducing, what exhibition curator Bill Layman calls “whole river understanding.” The Columbia River flows from the mountains of BC throughout Washington to Oregon’s pacific coast. It was divided in the 20th century by fourteen hydroelectric dams and reservoirs that control floods, provide irrigation and supply electricity. The photographs in the exhibition capture its origins as a series of waterways for salmon, First Nations settlements, fur-trade routes, agricultural communities, and a highway for commercial stern-wheelers and railway links. The focus is on early European exploration of the Columbia from the 1880s to the early 1900s, and the exhibition questions the kinds of economic, geographic, archeological and cultural changes caused by the river’s displacement since that time.

Toured by the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center, River of Memory will visit five Northwest museums over the next two years, including Touchstones Nelson, the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, the NW Museum of Art and Culture, in Spokane, as well as Tacoma and Portland. A 150-page book accompanies the exhibition.

www.touchstonesnelson.ca

Mia Johnson

Carelton E Watkins = Indian Summer on the Columbia (1882-83), photograph, Collection: Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology
Carelton E Watkins, Indian Summer on the Columbia (1882-83), photograph, Collection: Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology [Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History, Nelson BC, through Aug 5]


Hans Leu = Upper Arrow Lake from Mountain Meadow
Hans Leu, Upper Arrow Lake from Mountain Meadow (c. 1950), photograph, Karl Krey collection [Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History, Nelson BC, through Aug 5]

 Wed, Jun 6, 2007