An exhibit focused on the White River, ranging from the delta to the Taney County region, is currently on display at both the Branson Centennial Museum and the White River Valley Historical Society.

The River Rat

‘The River Rat’ was taken of Victor Hugo Preller on the White River (circa 1915) by his father, Hugo Arthur Preller. Photo courtesy of Gayne Preller Schmidt

‘White River Memoirs’ is an exhibition of art, objects and photography compiled by author-photographer Chris Engholm, in conjunction with the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History and a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council. In 2012, Engholm paddled his handmade canoe over 550 miles of the 700-mile White River, conducting oral history interviews and creating a multimedia interpretation of the waters, now part of a series of lakes including Bull Shoals, Taneycomo, Beaver, and Table Rock. Prints of several of the WRVHS’ paintings and photographs are part of the display, which runs through April 25th locally before traveling to various Arkansas museums and galleries throughout the year. Of particular interest are prints taken from glass negatives featuring the river-delta region and its’ inhabitants, photographed by Hugo and Gayne Preller at their ‘floating studio’ in the early 1900s.

Due to the large size of the exhibit, it has been divided among both locations, and includes a fully-stocked vintage tackle box at the Centennial Museum and the handmade canoe at the WRVHS. Copies of the ‘Memoirs’—a collection of interviews and stories—are available for purchase in both gift