The Adirondack Experience’s For Generations capital campaign will make what is already a great museum even better. We are raising critical funds needed to update our exhibitions, offer new opportunities for our visitors to explore our incredible natural surroundings, enhance universal access to our facilities, and make additional improvements to better serve the public. Donors will be recognized on our website and have special access to the exhibition before it opens to the general public in 2017.
The 19,000-square-foot Life in the Adirondacks will be a fully immersive, interactive exploration of the Adirondack Park, its history, and its people. This core exhibition will be every future visitor’s starting point at the museum and include the following areas:
- Wilderness Stories Introductory Theater – A video will introduce visitors to the beauty of the Adirondacks, the strong bonds we all have with the region, and the major themes explored throughout the Adirondack Experience.
- Call of the Wilderness Exhibition – Here, in the first of five major galleries, visitors will meet a wide variety of individuals, past and present, who have been drawn to the Adirondacks. The exhibition will bring to life the private railroad station and Pullman car with audio soundscapes. Videos will introduce Adirondackers from various periods and the stories of how they came to the region, including Teddy Roosevelt, Clarence Petty, Frank Owen, and Verplanck Colvin – all linked to relevant artifacts.
- A Peopled Wilderness Exhibition – For the first time in the museum’s history the story of the Mohawk and Abenaki will be explored using artifacts, video interviews, music, and a language learning station. Visitors will encounter contemporary indigenous people, who will help underscore the importance of learning about today’s Mohawk and Abenaki culture as well as that of the past. A recreated traditional campsite will immerse visitors in the rich traditions and stories of the region’s indigenous people.
- Roughing It: Living with Wilderness Exhibition – “Roughing it” means different things to different people. This exhibition will explore the many ways people “rough it” in the Adirondacks. A highlight will be the actual cabin of Anne LaBastille – nationally known scientist, environmentalist, author, and feminist. A guideboat rowing experience will enable visitors to better appreciate this iconic Adirondack vessel. Visitors will have the opportunity to see what life was like for the wealthy escaping to their seasonal Adirondack great camps in the late 19th century, and those who worked for them. Visitors will meet early settlers and farmers, past and present, and learn about the challenges of living off the land in the Adirondacks. While the beauty of the Adirondack landscape has remained the same, getting to and camping in the region has changed over time and will be explored. From early hotel owners to those seeking the cure for tuberculosis, Adirondackers’ stories will be brought to life.
- Adirondack Tough: Working in the Wilderness Exhibition – Visitors will encounter Adirondackers who work in the great outdoors and learn about the rewards and challenges they have faced, yesterday and today. The museum will use its rich collection of artifacts related to outdoor occupations to bring to life the stories of earning a living in the wilderness. A mining area will take visitors on an unforgettable journey exploring Adirondack underground iron mines and today’s open pit mining, which provides the world with valuable minerals for industrial and manufacturing purposes. An interactive experience of breaking up a log jam will allow first-hand views of how treacherous a job it was to be an Adirondack lumberjack in the late 19th century. Many other outdoor, Adirondack-specific occupations will be highlighted, such as maple sugaring and ice harvesting.
- Our Adirondack Park Exhibition – Another story that the museum will explore in detail for the first time will be the history of the Adirondack Park itself. There will be a giant walk-on map of the Adirondacks. People’s impact on the park over time will be highlighted along with strategies pursued over time to minimize that impact. A multi-screened media experience will give voice to the many different perspectives of people who live, work, and visit here today. Forest management, water quality, and protecting the Adirondack Park today will be addressed through stories of people working in those areas. Before leaving, every visitor will have the opportunity to share a favorite Adirondack memory or story, and add it to those of other visitors.
A newly interpreted hiking trail and brand new boating experience will add to visitors’ opportunity to experience the museum’s incredible surroundings:
- Over the past few years the Adirondack Experience has offered guided hikes on an historic three-quarter-mile trail leading from the museum to the edge of Minnow Pond, a secluded and pristine body of water. The trail will be improved and new interpretive signage will help visitors explore and learn about the history of the area and its flora and fauna. A rustic boathouse designed by noted architect Michael Bird will be built on scenic Minnow Pond. There, with the help of trained staff, visitors will have an opportunity to try out various craft such as guideboats, canoes, rowboats, and skiffs. Picnic benches and Adirondack chairs will round out this new outdoor experience, making it a perfect addition for a family visit to the Experience.
Enhanced universal access and improvements to the Lake View Café will make everyone’s visit more enjoyable:
- The exhibition galleries and café in the largest building on campus were completed in 1969 without an elevator. This will be rectified thanks to the current campaign along with improvements to restrooms, entrances, and exhibition spaces to make them fully accessible. The museum’s café, with its dramatic views of Blue Mountain Lake, will be upgraded with a rustic aesthetic. New equipment will facilitate the introduction of new dining selections.
Please also consider:
- Underwriting one of the unique naming opportunities as part of the campaign. Call us at (518) 352-7311, ext. 119, for details.
- Making a multi-year pledge to the campaign to allow your support to stretch even further.
- Asking your loved ones to join you in making a “family” gift to the campaign.