As many of you know, our beloved museum in Blue Mountain Lake has undergone a lot of changes in the last few months. They have changed from The Adirondack Museum to Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. While the old name was pretty straightforward, the new name really gives you an idea of what they are hoping you will take away from your visit — the Adirondacks aren't just a place, but an experience.
Well Dressed Foods
Another big change at the museum is an overhaul of their food service. They still have Lake View Cafe, with its unbeatable views of Blue Mountain Lake, but it is now run by Well Dressed Foods, a business out of Tupper Lake. They have a variety of freshly made hot and cold foods available, as well as snacks to go. I had a delicious Buffalo chicken flatbread pizza on my visit. You can even have a glass of wine, or grab a bottle of beer from Raquette River Brewery! They have also added a food kiosk right near the entrance.
Life in the Adirondacks
The biggest and best change of all, in my opinion, is the brand new exhibit "Life in the Adirondacks," which will be opening officially on July 1. I was lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes peek before the exhibit officially opened.
I will admit, I visited with the expectation of a great new display of the Adirondacks, but figured it would be your average museum exhibit. I could not have been more wrong. This new exhibition is not only interesting and interactive, but completely immersive. The building housing the new exhibit is what used to be the transportation building. Don't worry, the old train is still there! When you enter the building, the first thing you come upon is a small theater filled with wooden benches that have tree stumps for legs. A panoramic screen will play a short film called "Our Adirondacks: Stories of Tradition, Inspiration, and Home."
From there you move through five major galleries. Walking through it seemed endless, but in the best way possible.
Call of the Wilderness
The first room addresses what brought people to the Adirondacks. You will learn the stories of not only why people came to the Adirondacks, but how. Climb aboard the Pullman car and see what first class life was like on a train. You will really feel like you are on a moving train, as the sounds coming through the speakers immerse you in a different time period. You can also learn what draws people to the Adirondacks today, including camping and snowmobiling.
In the second room you will learn about the native people of the Adirondacks, the Mohawk and the Abenaki. Learn about the culture, traditions, and languages of the Indigenous people. Kids can even take a break and learn a Native American dance, and learn about how Native Americans dressed.
In the Roughing It room you will learn about the different ways of life in the Adirondacks, from campsites to cabins to Great Camps. You can hear stories from the perspective of a Great Camp owner, as well as a groundsman who is employed there. The most exciting part of this room is the interactive guide boat. Climb in, grab an oar, and learn how to row! The water projected in front of you and behind you shows where you need to go. If you row too much on one side, it will respond and show you how easily it is to get off course.
In the fourth room you will learn about work in the Adirondacks. Imagine the many challenges of the terrain of the Adirondacks without the technology we have today! You can enter the mine shaft, where you can detonate dynamite to blow up a wall. You can interact with a digital log jam to see if you can stand on a log and break it up, or learn about some of the other fascinating careers in the Adirondacks, such as ice harvesting and snow rolling!
Our Adirondack Park
In the final room the exhibit features a giant floor map of the Adirondacks, where you can see how people and time have affected the park. The timeline on the wall highlights those changes over time. You can also hear the voices and stories of the people who work, live, and play here. You can end your tour of the new exhibit by sharing your favorite experience or memory with other guests on an interactive table.
Don't Be Afraid of Change
While we all know that change can be scary, sometimes it is for the best, and I truly believe everything they have done at this already fantastic museum does nothing but improve the experience. Make time in your schedule this summer to visit Adirondack Experience: The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. They are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October 9, 2017 and host fantastic events all summer long. This is an experiencee you don't want to miss!
ADK summer's in full swing:
Beach, boats, bands, and buffalo