The History Museum of Hood River County has announced its most recent temporary exhibition: “Salmon Connections.”
This exhibition investigates the perennial bond between salmon of the Columbia River and the peoples who have and continue to rely on this fish for their livelihood.
“This is a pressing, contemporary, human issue — one with roots deep in the Neolithic past,” said Museum Director Dr. Lynn Orr. “‘Salmon Connections’ lays out the basic components of the controversy.”
The exhibition brings together facts about the five salmon species that make the Pacific Northwest home: Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink, and Sockeye, as well as Steelhead.
In addition, the exhibit illuminates the various sectors that weigh heavily on salmon survival: Habitat, harvesting, hydroelectric power and hatcheries. The narrative is punctuated by artifacts, including items from the museum’s collection and loans from private collectors and other museums, said the press release, including Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, and Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum, Stevenson.
Among the featured objects are vintage photographs, art works of various media depicting salmon, fiberglass models of actual fish (that were caught, photographed, measured, and then released), and specimens of salmon eggs and small fry.
The visitor is greeted by a 10-foot wide wire sculpture of a salmon by artist Carlos Cobos of Scottsdale, Ariz. His mammoth Mabel 16 is named after a pot-belly stove the artist pulled out of the Columbia that forms the fish’s underbelly. The interior of the fish is filled with rusted debris found in the river, underscoring the degraded environment that salmon must navigate.
The work of local photographer Peter Marbach inspired this exhibition, said the press release. “Peter recently documented photographically the Columbia River’s entire run from its British Columbia headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. His imagery and passionate lectures underscore the multifaceted nature of the salmon crisis and its poignant impact on Native American and Canada’s First Nations peoples.
“In addition, many other people and organizations have shared their expertise with us, helping define the complex problems that confront salmon,” Orr said. “The exhibition would not have possible without their contributions.”