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Restored canoe featured piece at Woodson History Center's new exhibit


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- The Marathon County Historical Society’s new exhibit features something they’ve had for many years, but needed a lot of tender loving care. Christine Martens from the Woodson History Center says this piece of history was an old birch bark canoe. 

“We have this older birch bark canoe that’s been with the museum for many years. Some folks might remember it from Log Jam. It always sat out by the river, and over the years, it kind of came into disrepair, and it’s been in our collection awaiting help.”

The Historical Society found that help in a man named Ferdy Goode, who is a nationally recognized master birch bark canoe builder and basket maker. Goode uses traditional native American methods, and also makes snowshoes.

Dorothy Maxfield is on the Woodson Center’s board of directors. Her family donated the funds to have the canoe restored.

Martens says the canoe was carefully taken out of storage and spent about a month at Goode’s Arbor Vitae workshop. She is thrilled to see how well it turned out. “It’s beautiful once again, and it was the very first piece to go up in our new exhibit, the ‘Our Stories: The History of Marathon County.’”

The exhibit is at the 5th and Fulton Street Woodson House location in Wausau.

Martens says Ferdy Goode will be at the museum Sunday beginning at 1:30 p.m. to help explain the construction methods used to repair the canoe and how several of his other exhibits were made.

(Our interview with Christine Martens can be heard on our website, here.)