There is a lot more to The Canadian Canoe Museum then canoes. I know sounds funny, but it’s all true! In the museum we have a few things to look at that aren’t all based on canoes. For example, the Wigwam, Preserving Skills Gallery, and the Kirk Wipper Exhibit to name a few are all wonderful pieces. Even the waterfall as you walk in is a nice sight! Although, one of these pieces that I absolutely love to see every time I am in would be the wigwam. The wigwam here at the Museum was created in 2001 by two wonderful people. A staff member and volunteer worked very hard together in creating the wigwam for viewers to enjoy, and I must say it looks great!
The wigwam has been around for years. In 1675 during King Philip’s war, also known as the “First Indian War”, Mary Rowlandson used the term wigwam to explain the place she was held captive while with a group of Native Americans. From then on we use the term wigwam for any “Indian House”, although this is not exactly correct because of the distinct differences between a tipi and a wigwam within the Native American community
What is a wigwam made out of you might ask? A wigwam is usually rounded for the sake of a stronger home. Sometimes it had a pointed top like the one we have here at the museum. A lot more detail was put into a rounded wigwam. A wigwam is made out of long arched tree trunks that the Native Americans would cut down themselves. However, the Native Americans would use saplings to make their wigwams simply because they were easier to bend and use for the structure of their home. The Native Americans would use bark from trees to make the outside of their wigwam, a popular choice was birch bark. Not a lot of detail went into the wigwam with the pointed top, because when the Native Americans “game”, which is also known as their prey, would travel they would have to travel as well. That is why the assembly of the wigwam was so simple, as well as taking it down.
If you have never really been in the museum, these pictures provided below are a few of many other exhibits I talked about above, that you will come across while here at the museum.
Kirk Wipper is the founder of The Canadian Canoe Museum. He was a great man who loved the outdoors. Kirk was also the wonderful man who brought us the Blue Bird canoe located on the top floor of our museum. He had an adventurous experience trying to get it to us. Unfortunately Kirk Wipper died on March 18th, 2011.
The Voyageur camp is a great example for people to see how voyageurs would have to settle down for a night after a long day of travelling and work. They would often sing songs to pass the time and make the best out of their busy day!
Take a look at our Preserving Skills Gallery! This exhibit was designed by our very own Jeremy Ward, and built by him, as well as many other volunteers. The Preserving Skills Gallery shows some pieces that would have been used to make certain items needed by the voyageurs.