New exhibit at OSU’s Valley Library explores connections to forests


CORVALLIS, Ore. — People of the Pacific Northwest have deep and complicated connections with forests. Those connections are being explored in an exhibit called “Heartwood: Inquiry and Engagement with Pacific Northwest Forests,” at Oregon State University’s Valley Library. 

The exhibit is on display until October on the fifth floor of the Valley Library in the Special Collections and Archives Gallery. 

The exhibit is a joint effort of the Special Collections and Archives Research Center at the Valley Library, the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, and the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word.

Two threads run through the exhibit. One features various ways that people engage with forest: as habitat, provider, sanctuary, studio, laboratory and classroom. The other shows how these engagements have evolved over time. Early in U.S. history, the vast scale of the forests in what was called “the Oregon Country” contributed to a belief in the boundlessness of nature and its infinite exploitability. Since European settlers arrived here in the mid-19th century, the concept of forest management has changed due to legislation, litigation, forest planning, and other social processes and forces. 

“This has been a truly collaborative effort that allowed us to meld history, science and art into a meaningful display,” said Ruth Vondracek, natural resources archivist at OSU’s Valley Library. 

The exhibit features historic forest policy and management documents and maps, photographs by Bob Keefer and Tom Iraci, artwork by Debbie Kaspari, poetry by Jane Hirschfield and Alison Deming, materials from the Gerald W. Williams and James R. Sedell collections and much more.

The exhibit area is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday–Friday during the academic term and noon to 5 p.m. Monday–Friday during academic breaks. The library is located 201 S.W. Waldo Place on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

More information about the exhibit is available by emailing scarc@oregonstate.edu. The OSU Libraries enhance and support the university’s instructional and research programs with traditional and innovative services and collections. To learn more, visit http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu.

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