Years ago, my grandfather planned a family day trip to the Adirondack Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. He drove, my grandmother sat in front — the easier to distract my grandfather — and my mother and I sat in the backseat. From Plattsburgh, the drive to Blue Mountain Lake seemed interminably long, punctuated by Grandpa’s patented distracted wanderings into the wrong lane, usually when a tractor trailer was bearing down on us from the opposite direction. Getting to the museum, much less home, seemed doubtful.
Yet make it to the museum we did and it was a wonderful day for our merry, multi-generational group. Founded in 1947, the museum, now known as Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, preserves the history of the Adirondacks, big and small, famous and less so. Since its founding, it’s been a great, secluded place for families to visit, including mine, a spirit that the museum carries on with vigor to this day.
Private Views: Collecting the Adirondacks
New in 2019, this exhibit features more than forty paintings of the Adirondacks from the 19th century, some from the museum's collection, others on loan from private collections. The exhibit celebrates the role the Adirondacks have played in American art, as a place of wild grandeur and inspiration, as well as the importance of collecting and preserving art for future generations. Among the paintings on display are works by renowned artists, including A.F. Tait, Samuel Colman, and Levi Wells Prentice.
Curious Creatures: Taxidermy in the Adirondacks
If you visit an Adirondack Great Camp, such as Sagamore or Santanoni, or thumb through a book about Adirondack architecture, you'll see the walls adorned with more than just paintings. Taxidermy has a long history of being given place of honor in Adirondack camps. This new exhibit celebrates that long legacy, exploring how taxidermy helped define the quintessential Adirondack aesthetic, as well as serve as continued inspiration for artists from the 1800s through today. The exhibit's inclusion of unusual animals and posed scenes, including rabbits attending a tiny schoolroom, enable the exhibit's curator and audience to explore the relationships between humans and animals.
Minnow Pond Boathouse
Opening July 1, the boathouse at Minnow Pond will be a great way to get in some family fun on the water. Located at the end of an easy to walk 0.75 mile trail, Minnow Pond is a beautiful spot for a paddle, but you won't need to bring your own. The boathouse, a rustic Adirondack design, will offer rentals of canoes, guide boats, and other classic Adirondack watercraft, some of which are meticulously cared-for vintage boats. If you always dreamed of being a rugged Adirondack guide, here's your chance to give it a try, at least for a few hours.
Rolling 'Round the 'Dacks
On Saturday, August 17, transportation is the star of the show at the ADKX. This new, family-friendly event is all about the different types of transportation that have played a role in Adirondack history, from steam locomotives to wooden boats and everything in between. Enjoy driving remote controlled cars and boats, hunt for train and car related items in the collections, listen to classic road trip songs, and ride the Roaming Railroad, a trackless mini train that will tour the museum campus.
Mohawk and Abenaki Art Market
Now in it's second year, this art market celebrates the art of the indigenous peoples of the Adirondacks on Saturday, August 24. Emerging and accomplished artists from Akwesasne and Kahnawake will be on site selling and demonstrating beadwork, basket making, leather work, and handcrafted jewelry in both traditional and contemporary forms. Having the opportunity to engage with the artists and learn about Mohawk and Abenaki traditions is a great bonus for those browsing the market. Get there early to pick up an amazing piece of art!
No matter when you visit the ADKX, you're sure to enjoy a day full of discovery and adventure. Your family will love the interactive exhibits, original buildings, and the beautiful campus. The view of the lake is awesome and there's even a full-size railroad car to explore! My family loves it, so I'm sure yours will too.