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These WASP flying goggles, dog tags and Congressional Gold Medal are on loan to the museum by the family of Eileen Roach Kesti, who served as a WASP in World War II. “Not Just a Footnote: Women Who Shaped Hood River History” will run through June. The History Museum of Hood River County is located at 300 E. Port Marina Drive and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.hoodriverhistorymuseum.org.

HOOD RIVER — The new temporary exhibit at The History Museum of Hood River County focuses on women, past and present, who have made and continue to make an impact on our region — bringing them out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

“Not Just a Footnote: Women Who Shaped Hood River History” features educators, caregivers, entrepreneurs, historians, activists, artists and community builders of Hood River County.

History museum entrance

The History Museum of Hood River County’s new temporary exhibit showcases some of the women who have shaped the history of our county, nation and world — past and present.


This cedar-root berry basket, made of coiled cedar root, was created by Yakama weaver Netti Kuneki Jackson (1942-2013). It was gifted to the museum by the artist in 1984. The twined basket, dated at c. 1900, was created by an unknown Wasco maker and was a gift of Dorothy Woolpert; the books were written by Martha McKeown (1903-1974), a Hood River teacher, writer and activist.

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Eileen Roach Kesti was a pilot, lobbyist and veteran (1920-2001) who served in the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) — the first women in history to fly U.S. military aircrafts. Her uniform is on loan to the museum courtesy of the Kesti family.

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Said to be the highest honor awarded to civilians, The Sixth Class Order was presented to Shizue Iwatsuki in 1974 for her achievements in poetry and for bridging cultural divides between Japan and the United States. Translated, it reads: “The Sixth Class of the Order of the Precious Crown is hereby conferred upon Mrs. Shizue Iwatsuki, citizen of the U.S.A., by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. In witness thereof, the Seal of State has been affixed to these presents at the Imperial Palace. This day, the 29th of the Fourth month of the Forty-ninth Year of Showa.”


A collection of Red Cross Badges (c. 1941-1945), an example of a headdress worn by Red Cross nurse volunteers during World War II, a syringe and medicine bottles (from Barclay Pharmacy, a store serving Hood River from 1933-1967).

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The new exhibit welcomes public participation in the form of sticky note messages, where museum guests can contribute their own stories and memories of notable women. This one reads: “My Grandmother Ethel Yeager was my biggest inspiration! A poor West Virginian who spent her life helping the poor and downtrodden. She spread joy and love to everyone she met.”