Browse Exhibits (4 total)
The answer to saving the quickly disappearing Redwood Forest has never been an easy one. Saving the forest meant a devastating loss of jobs and income in the lumber industry. But, not protecting the forest meant losing one of the greatest wonders in the world. The battle was often brutal and did not always consist of only two sides. Frequently, activist groups could not agree on which tracts of redwood were the most important to save. Was it more vital to keep the longest stretch of trees, the grove which held the tallest ones, or both? Lumber industries attempted to rationalize keeping the tracts of land that provided the best recreational use for those who would enjoy the park.
This exhibit does not seek to give an extensive overview of the narrative of saving the Redwoods; that narrative is long and extensive. Rather, this exhibit seeks to point out some thought-provoking moments that showcase some of the issues present during this complicated part of California history. Preference is given to those instances which happened in Humboldt County, although the scope is wider than that in many respects.
Humboldt county has a rich and complex history with logging and land management. Before European settlement, the redwood forests provided shelter and resources to the native people in and around the coasts and mountains of Humboldt County. The Yurok people utilized intentional burning and selective harvesting to manage the meadows and woodlands around the Klamath River. Newcomers also prized redwood for it's high-quality lumber, and with their rapidly growing demand, the scale of harvest changed drastically.
White settlers in the area quickly realized the commercial potential of the enormous trees, and soon large-scale logging operations were establishing themselves and expanding, as the technology of the day evolved to meet growing demands. By the last half of the nineteenth century, the woodlands of the North coast were quickly changing as a result of large-scale logging operations, and as a result the landscape in and around Humboldt County was forever changed.
This exhibit, Redwood as Object explores Redwood itself as a material object. Essentially, this exhibit displays how Redwood is purposed after the logging process. This will include the use of redwood burls as burl wood art and art that isn’t classified as burl wood art, but is made of redwood. Also included, is a section on redwood-built architecture and local Indigenous use of redwood.
The Tourist Exhibit encompasses human interaction and attraction to and within the Humboldt Redwoods. Whether driving through the Humboldt Redwoods on the way to a distanced locality or visiting a particular location within the Redwood terrain, one cannot deny the magnificant scale and beauty of these trees when seen in person. From the Avenue of the Giants to the various Redwood Parks, this exhibit is designed to show the various arrays of how the public has been drawn to the Humboldt Redwoods through the last few centuries. People travel great distances to see these blanketed forests and this exhibit is dedicated to those tourists that flock to the California coastline searching for the giants known as the Redwoods.