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Worked/Wild earns top honors from Museumwise

Margaret Gibbs looks at a display that is part of the Worked/Wild exhibit at the Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown.

Margaret Gibbs looks at a display that is part of the Worked/Wild exhibit at the Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— An exhibit created in part by the people of the North Country has won top honors from a statewide organization.

Museumwise, a non-profit that helps promote and support museums in New York, honored the Essex County Historical Society’s Worked/Wild exhibit at the Adirondack History Center Museum with an Award of Merit, its highest honor.

“This is a wonderful honor,” Museum Director Margaret Gibbs said. “We are very happy to receive this award.”

Worked/Wild features scenes from the Adirondacks that focus on how those who lived here have used the land from farming to life along the Au sable River.

Gibbs said the exhibit was created by talking with those who knew most about working on the land here.

“This was a two-year project to create, and the first year was just talking to people in the community and asking them what they wanted to see in an exhibit,” Gibbs said. “That was so important to creating this and everyone had pretty strong ideas on what they wanted to see. It’s not just one idea, it is a lot of different ideas and approaches.”

Along with using input to create the exhibit, people who visit the museum also get the chance to make their voices heard.

“We have chalkboards that people can use to respond to a pair of questions,” Gibbs said. “One is what does it mean for you to live, play and survive within a worked landscape. The other is what does wilderness mean to you.”

Gibbs said the exhibit continued to evolve over the past year, and will feature new parts as the museum prepares to open for the season Saturday, May 26.

The exhibit also incorporates a pair of movies, one about farming in the Adirondacks and the other a tourism video from the 1960s promoting the Adirondack Park and Lake Champlain. Both movies will be changed for 2012, and replaced with the recent PBS documentary, “Small Farm Rising,” along with a slide show of pictures featuring work by local journalist Jack LaDuke which details the effects of Tropical Storm Irene on the Adirondacks.

For more, visit the History Center’s website at www.adkhistorycenter.org, call 873-6466 or email echs@adkhistorycenter.org.

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