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Image Above: Courtesy of John Diller

Crafting Canoes: Art and Science of Hydro Dynamic Design

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 30th (5-7pm)

February 2 - April 6, 2014

Crafting Canoes: Art and Science of Hydro Dynamic Design examines design thinking in three different arenas:  high performance racing canoes, concrete canoes, and ancient canoe artifacts. The high performance racing canoe has excelled through trial and error methodology informed by the intimate and passionate desire to go fast. Annually, the UW Concrete Canoe Team, made up of engineering students, designs and constructs what seems like the epitome of an oxymoron: a concrete boat that not only floats but will be the fastest in racing amongst its peers. The third arena is a glimpse at the origins of boat construction by viewing the hide wrapped structures of a whaling canoe and retrieval boat - a special viewing from the Anthropology collection.

This exhibit shows how design goals unfold in different ways, and how over the course of time, aspects of canoe design have not changed all that much. Curator Liese Pfeifer says, “I am intrigued by these diverse groups and the different methods of construction and materials they use to derive their respective designs. I am curious about the design thought process and the communities that evolve because of this.”

Click here for full press release with related programs.


Gallery Location:

Ruth Davis Design Gallery
Nancy Nicholas Hall, 1300 Linden Drive,
University of WI - Madison

Design Gallery events are free and open to the public.

For more information on this and upcoming exhibits contact Director, Liese Pfeifer at or call 608-262-8815.