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Adirondack Museum plans $20M in upgrades

Monday, June 30, 2014 - Updated: 9:02 AM

By PETE KLEIN

Express News Staff

BLUE MT. LAKE -- The Adirondack Museum is not resting on its laurels.

That was made obvious when its executive director, David M. Kahn, addressed members of the Intercounty Legislative Committee of the Adirondacks at the museum here Thursday, June 26.

"We have great plans for the future of the museum. We want to bring it into the 21st century," Kahn said.

Kahn pointed out the museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. But, he said, its displays, which were cutting edge back in 1969, haven't changed much.

This fact is reflected visitors per season. Kahn said there was steady growth in the number of people visiting until it peaked in the late 1980s and very early '90s at 100,000.

Now it is down to about 60,000 annually in recent years. That is why the museum has embarked on a master plan to upgrade its exhibits and enhance the visitor experience with interactive displays.

The museum has hired Gallagher & Associates, Silver Spring, Md., and the Richard Lewis Media Group, Watertown, Mass., to upgrade exhibits.

"We are also working with local historians and Native Americans," Kahn said. "We have sent out our staff to visit museums across the United States and Canada to see what they are doing.

"We want to include the stories of the Native American living here before and after the area was discovered by European settlers and we want to show how different people have lived, worked in and experienced the Adirondacks in days past and up to the present day.

"It will be the history of the [Adirondack] Park before and after it became a park."

AN AMBITIOUS PLAN

The current goal is to complete upgrades totaling $9.4 million by 2017. The ultimate goal is expected to top out at $20 million by 2020.

The museum got a boost from the State of New York when Consolidated Funding Applications awards were announced in December. It received $1.4 million for renovations and upgrades to both the museum and its exhibits.

Khan acknowledge the museum has a long way to go with its fund-raising, but seems positive the goal is achievable.

POSSIBLE HOTEL

Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman William Farber said he has been working with Kahn on the possibility of locating a motel or hotel across Rt. 30 from the museum, where the museum owns about 80 acres.

"We have to get at the core of needing lodging if we want visitors to be more than day-trippers," Farber said.

The hotel / motel is not part of the fund-raising. Kahn said the plan is to provide the land for someone willing to build and operate a lodging complex.

He said he doesn't expect there will be any problem getting approval from the Adirondack Park Agency, the regional zoning authority, with which he has already been working.

GO TO MINNOW POND

The idea for a hotel or motel is part of the Hamlets 3 study. One of its recommendations is already in the works, a hiking trail from the museum campus to Minnow Pond.

Khan said the trail is being developed and there will be guided tours Thursdays. Next year the trail will be marked so visitors can make the approximately one-mile hike on their own on a mostly flat trail to the pond.

"We don't want anyone getting lost on the trail this year," Kahn said.

Eventually, a boathouse will be built at the pond and boats will be available to take out on the nine-acre pond.

Kahn said anyone interested in taking the guided hike to the pond this summer should call (518) 352-7311 to check times and make a reservation.

Kahn also said there would be Wi-Fi access throughout the campus by August.

The museum is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., including holidays, to Oct. 13. During July and August the museum and its Lake View Cafe will stay open later on Monday nights, to 8 p.m.

peterklein@hamiltoncountyexpress.com

     

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