Chippewa County Historical Society


Video - Inspiration for the Mural


Artist Malena Handeen tells what inspired her to paint the scene in the mural.

About the Mural

Malena Handeen painting the exhibit mural

Malena Handeen painted the mural behind the Chippewa River Canoe in 2015. Ms. Handeen is an accomplished artist, songwriter and musician. She is also a CSA farmer and runs Easy Bean Farm with her husband Michael Jacobs.

In this mural, Ms. Handeen captures the beauty of the Chippewa River. The inspiration for the scene depicted in the mural was an island on the Chippewa River very near where it is believed Ole Torgerson found the canoe about 1867.

The canoe was found along an “oxbow” in the river. An oxbow in the river was at one time the main channel until the river cut a straighter path. The mural depicts both the the main stream and the oxbow. The still waters of oxbow, like the canoe, represent relics of an earlier time.

If you look closely, you will notice wildlife along the river. Most notable are the otters, egret and owl. There is also a beaver dam, as beavers were an important source of food and clothing.

We can only imagine how this canoe became lost. The left side of the mural and the haze in the distance reflects this sense of mystery to the viewer.

Dugout Canoes