Community, Springfield

Built by the McKenzie River

Museum Curator Maddie McGraw stands next to a 1939 drift boat made by Wood ”Woodie” Knoble Hindman, which was shared by the McKenzie River Discovery Center with the museum for the exhibit. Aliya Hall/The Chronicle

SPRINGFIELD – When it comes to local rivers, Springfield Museum Curator Maddie McGraw said people tend to first think of the Willamette, though the McKenzie River has a long and meandering history of its own.
For the next six months, the Springfield Museum is showcasing the history and impact of the river in its exhibit, ”Built by the River: Stories from the McKenzie.”
”The river is so important for so many reasons,” McGraw said, noting its fundamental impact on Springfield during its early development. ”It helped us and we need to help it.”
Two of the biggest highlights for her is having on display an original, 1939 drift boat built by the creator of the drift boat, Wood ”Woodie” Knoble Hindman, and a looping video about the White Water Parade.
”It’s such a cool event that used to happen,” she said. ”It’s one thing to look at a picture; but to see an event like that, oftentimes we can’t do that because we don’t have the video footage.”
The video was shared with the museum by Richard Small, and McGraw said it was exciting for her to incorporate different media such as video to go along with the exhibit.
The McKenzie River Discovery Center and McKenzie River Trust helped McGraw in the creation of the exhibit.
”The Discovery Center is a great way of grounding the story in history and the Trust was a great way to give concrete ways to help the river, a task (for visitors) to take with them,” she said.
Randy Dersham, executive directory for the McKenzie River Discovery Center, said the boat that they supplied to the exhibit is the oldest square-ender that they know the complete history of.
”It was a joy to work with Maddie and the Springfield Museum to be able to display some of the cultural history of the McKenzie River,” he said. ”It’s a real treat to be able to share.”
The McKenzie River Trust was formed from the community’s love of the river and desire to preserve it, and Communications Manager for the trust, Kalie Kardas, said that she’s grateful to have collaborated with the museum on the exhibit.
”We’re excited for people to see it and appreciate how much the McKenzie is integral to our clean drinking water, the natural beauty of the environment, and the economic and recreational support it provides,” she said.
The Trust also loaned a quilt of the watershed made by Mary Nyquist Koons, who created it based on things people told her they valued about the river.
People were worried if the boat would even fit into the museum, and had to seriously consider the best way to display it that was both safe and discouraged guests from getting into it, McGraw said, adding that she was surprised that the museum didn’t have a large collection of fishing artifacts to include, despite the amount of photos and other information. She said it pushed her in a different direction with artifacts and how to aesthetically build the exhibit.
McGraw said that the exhibit is beneficial for all ages and there are different things they have been able to incorporate, such as handouts, with an exhibit like this. With the display time increasing, she is also looking forward to the programming that will come with it, such as story times and adult programs.
”There’s so many different things we can do and six months to do it,” she said.
McGraw said the decision to switch from two-month to six-month exhibits is to have an opportunity for things to be on display longer and for more people to have a chance to visit. From the creative side, McGraw said she was able to include more information and text, as well have the opportunity to add more to the exhibit later on.
To check out the exhibit, visit Springfield Library at 590 Main St., Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more info, call 541-726-2300.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos