New permanent exhibition "Life in the Adirondacks" opens at Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake in upper NY state

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  • August 02, 2017

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Wilderness Stories Theater in Life in the Adirondacks permanent exhibition at Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. Photography by ADKX. Courtesy Adirondack Experience.


New permanent exhibition celebrates 60th anniversary of indoor/outdoor museum

BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE, NY… Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX) is celebrating its 60th season with the opening of a new interactive gallery installation exploring the spirit, history, culture, and people of the Adirondack region. Life in the Adirondacks is the largest permanent exhibition on ADKX’s stunning 121-acre campus. The immersive installation combines authentic objects from ADKX’s collections—including guide boats, vintage railway cars, and a naturalist’s cabin—and interpretative materials with leading-edge digital technologies and hands-on activities. ADKX is located in Adirondack Park, the largest protected natural area in the contiguous 48 states, comprising six million acres (one fifth of New York State) of forested mountains, pristine waterways, and 105 towns and villages.

The new 19,000-square-foot installation, featuring over 300 artifacts, has been five years in the making with the help of experts in museum design. The rich history of the Adirondacks is revealed through the stories of people who were drawn to the region, how it shaped those who came, and how it was shaped by them. Voices from indigenous Abenaki and Mohawk communities are a key part of the narrative. The installation also explores the natural splendor of the area, conservation efforts, recreational opportunities, and regional industries.

Life in the Adirondacks continues ADKX’s proud tradition of our cutting-edge visitor engagement program established by the museum’s founder, Harold K. Hochschild, six decades ago,” said ADKX Executive Director David M. Kahn. “Just as we embraced modern devices available in the 1950s, the new installation provides visitors of all ages with the latest technologies and tools to enjoy a fully immersive, multi-faceted experience of the Adirondacks. Visitors may continue their indoor/outdoor journey of discovery at our other thematic exhibitions, on nature walks, and by participating in our diversity of programs.”

Exterior view of Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. Photography by ADKX. Courtesy Adirondack Experience.

Life in the Adirondacks begins with a video in the Wilderness Stories Theater, introducing visitors to the beauty of Adirondack Park and themes explored throughout the installation. “Call of the Wilderness” presents the wide variety of individuals, past and present, who came to the Adirondacks including Verplanck Colvin, who oversaw the first reliable survey of the region in the 19th century; Theodore Roosevelt, who learned he’d become the 26th President while vacationing in the Park in 1901; conservationist and outdoorsman Clarence Petty; and American artist Frank Owen. Canoes, stage coaches, a train car, a station wagon, and a snow mobile are on display and visitors may tour a private railroad station and Pullman car, with audio soundscapes, that once transported millionaires and L&N Railroad executives like August Belmont, Austin Carin, and Henry Walters. Visitors can also sit in a real guide boat, learn to row it, and virtually glide across an Adirondack lake.

For the first time in the Museum’s history, the habitation of Mohawk and Abenaki people within the Adirondacks is explored. “A Peopled Wilderness” uses artifacts, video interviews, music, a language-learning station, and stories of contemporary indigenous people. This section was produced by ADKX in collaboration with the Akwesasne Cultural Center and the Abenaki Cultural Preservation Corporation.

One of the iconic features of the Adirondacks is the Great Camps built at the turn of the 20th century for wealthy urban vacationers looking for a wilderness experience but with modern comforts. “Roughing It” features the stories of those who instead came to settle or escape urban plagues like tuberculosis. The log cabin of Anne LaBastille, an author and naturalist who championed the pioneering life for women, is on display.

Using its expansive collection of artifacts related to outdoor work (including a snow roller, ice saw, and jam boat), the ADKX presents the stories of Adirondackers working in the wilderness in “Adirondack Tough.” Among the occupations examined are historic underground iron mining and today’s open-pit garnet mining. An interactive activity allows visitors to virtually break up a log jam and understand first-hand how treacherous it was to be a lumberjack in the late 19th century. Work like maple sugaring and ice harvesting are also represented.

A section on the history of Adirondack Park features a giant walk-on map of the region. A multi-screened media experience gives voice to the many different perspectives of people who live, work, and visit the Adirondacks today including those employed in forest management, water quality, and protecting the natural environment.

Visiting Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake

ADKX features 22 buildings and galleries, and a gift shop. Exhibition spaces include The Buck Lake Club: an Adirondack hunting camp, the Lynn H. Boillot Art Galleries, a log-built hotel, and an artist’s cottage. Lake View Café features a delicious menu of locally sourced items with stunning views of Blue Mountain Lake. From touring permanent and temporary exhibitions, interacting with local craftspeople, and strolling through galleries to feeding trout in Minnow Pond, bird-watching, and nature walks, the ADKX has something for everyone.

ADKX is open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, including holidays, late May through October 5, 2017. Closed on Friday, September 15, 2017, for a separately ticketed event. Open until 7:30 pm on Mondays in August for Museum Monday Nights, each paired with a Monday Evening Lecture featuring Adirondack experts from a variety of fields. After October 5, ADKX is open Thursdays - Sundays only through October 29 when it closes for the 2017 season to reopen in May 2018. In October, ADKX will launch Pumpkin Palooza, a new annual event.

Daily admission is $20 for adults; $18 for seniors; $12 for youths and students with a valid student ID; and free for children five and under, active military personnel, and members. All paid admissions are good for a second visit within seven days. Year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are admitted free on the second and fourth Sundays of August with proof-of-residency. For additional information, call 518-352-7311 or visit

From New York City, ADKX is accessible via the New York State Thruway Highway 81, north of Albany. Take Northway I-87 to exit 23 at Warrensburg.

From Boston, Interstate Highway 90 to Albany, then north on New York State Thruway Highway 81 as above.

From Montreal, Interstate Highway 87 South at the U.S. border to Plattsburgh. Take Northway I-87 to exit 29 and turn left onto the County Route 2, also called Blue Ridge Road.

ADKX is approximately a 90-minute drive from Lake George and Lake Placid, NY.

Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake
9097 NY - 30
Blue Mountain Lake, New York
About Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake

About Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX), presents vibrant encounters with the rich history and culture of the Adirondack region in 22 historic and contemporary buildings on a 121-acre campus in New York State. ADKX offers a broad range of programs and activities including special and permanent exhibitions, interactions with artisans-in-residence, workshops, lectures, nature tours, boating instruction, family programs, and signature events like the Rustic Furniture Fair celebrating its 30th anniversary this fall along with the inauguration of Pumpkin Palooza on October 5 and every weekend Thursday – Sunday, until October 29, 2017. ADKX, celebrating its 60th anniversary, is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is located in Adirondack Park, the largest protected natural area in the 48 contiguous states. ADKX is supported, in part, with donations from the general public, with some general operating support made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. For additional information, call 518-352-7311 or visit

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