Museum News

BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE, NY… Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX) is celebrating its 61st season with the new interactive exhibition 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 aturalist’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, was 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 ofdiscovery at our other thematic exhibitions, on nature walks, and by participating in our diversity of programs.” 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 snow mobile are on display and visitors may tour a private railroad station and Pullman car, with audio soundscapes, that once transported millionaires with 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. For additional information, call 518-352-7311 or visit
The William Walker House, the oldest dwelling in Reedville opened as the Reedville Fishermen's Museum in 1988. Located in the heart of the historic district of Reedville, a working fishing village, the museum houses a variety of exhibits showcasing the maritime heritage. Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, the museum is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the maritime history of the lower Chesapeake Bay area and the watermen who have plied their trade here for hundreds of years. A generous gift from Mr. Frank Covington enabled the Reedville Fishermen's Museum to expand into a new building in 1995. The museum’s docks are home to two National Historic Register vessels, the Elva C and the Claud Somers.  Both are used for scheduled open water tours. The museum’s permanent collection is displayed in the Reed and Frayne Galleries. Temporary exhibits, changing throughout the year, are displayed in the 2003 addition. There is a gift shop located in the Covington Building where guests can enjoy Boat Building and Model Making. These activities support education programs and special events held throughout the year, such as Family Boat Building weekends and the large layout of the HO scale Northern Neck Railroad. There is always something to see and do for the fishing enthusiasts and their families!
Finally, Dignity for a Chicago War Hero  Intro: Earlier this fall I was contacted by my friend Michael Feeney (MBE) of Castlebar, Co. Mayo Ireland. Michael and I have been friends since we met in 2006 at his home in Milebush. It was then that he asked me to help research military men and women who, have served in the armed conflicts of the United States and most of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. Many of these soldiers gave their life for a country that was not yet even theirs. Thus began my foray into military research, a topic I knew nothing of but would soon teach myself. I have been a genealogist since 1999 so I eagerly took on this task for my friend in Mayo. The reason you ask… quite simple, Michael was the brain child and driving force behind the construction of the Mayo Peace Park and its “Garden of Remembrance”.  A memorial in Castlebar to honor all that served in foreign wars.   SO when contacted again I jumped at the chance to look into another lost soldier. Michael’s wife Mary, in an effort to help locate soldiers spends many hours searching the internet for info on those from Mayo. And find another she did, Martin J. Cunningham who, sadly died of his wounds on July 22, 1918. Martin was born on September 28, 1888 and baptized two days later on the 30th. He was the son of Martin and Mary nee Forkan Cunningham of Treenlaur in the townland of Shanvally, 2 miles from Kiltimaugh, in Co. Mayo.           In the early part of the 20th century it is believed he came to New York, and then on to Chicago to live with his sister Mrs. Margaret (George) Brady on S. May St. in Chicago. In abt. 1916 he joined the US Army and when we entered the war in April of 1917 Martin’s destiny was sealed, he was to be sent overseas. Martin served proudly with Co. “A” of the 28th Infantry as a corporal.           Sometime on or about the 22nd of July Martin was wounded and later died of his wounds (DOW), and was buried in France. It was reported in the Chicago Daily Tribune and was accompanied by a photo of Martin and eight other listed as dying in France.  After the war, his body was exhumed and returned to Chicago at the request of his father and sister. He was laid to rest in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Chicago on July 23rd 1921, three years and one day after he died.           Moving ahead to 2017, after getting the call, doing my research and reading his burial file that I got from St. Louis (NPRC) it was then that I found the final resting place for Martin. I called the cemetery and they were very helpful, telling me the “NO” Martin did not have a marker on his grave. I knew that getting a marker was an easy fix, but I was also told of the $275 setting fee for flat granite markers.  It was then that I got the idea of writing to the owner of the cemetery, the Archdiocese of Chicago, (Cardinal Cupich) asking for a fee waiver on compassionate grounds. The letter was answered several weeks later from the Director of Catholic Cemeteries with a resounding “NO”. After the initial anger and shock wore off I remembered a friend that worked for Catholic Charities of Chicago. The call was made and she too was upset with the lack of compassion displayed by the Archdiocese. She readily agreed to help and her organization will be covering the cost of the setting for the VA marker when it arrives in the spring.           A call to the Mayo Association of Chicago was never returned when I left a message.              Another idea that came to me, was to hold a simple grave dedication ceremony after the marker is set, most likely on July 22, 2018 the 100th anniversary of Martin’s death. I contacted Rich Leschman of Post #450 of the local VFW in Chicago and he agreed to help in any way that they could to give Martin the dignity he was denied in 1921. For those interested, more details about the upcoming ceremony will be listed as they become finalized and the day grows closer.     Respectfully submitted,   Patrick Gorman   Dixon, IL 61021   (815) 440-5965      Footnotes: In 2009 one of the markers I arranged to have sent to Ireland was for James Forkan, a cousin of Martin’s. My wife and I had the good fortune to be able to attend his ceremony and meet the family.   Martin’s sister and brother in law are buried next to him, also in un-marked graves…..anyone feeling generous?
The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum welcomes visitors from across the world to Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri to see the places that inspired Twain’s famous novels.  Come see where the stories started as you tour our two museums and five historic homes, including the Boyhood Home, a National Historic Landmark.   A visit to the Mark Twain Museum includes the Boyhood Home, the Huckleberry Finn House, Becky Thatcher House, J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office and a WPA (Works Project Administration) stone cottage and two interactive museums.  The Interpretive Center which houses a timeline of Mark Twain’s life and the Museum Gallery full of hands-on exhibits and Twain artifacts, including his famous white suit coat and a death mask of his son Langdon.  Fourteen original Norman Rockwell paintings used as illustrations for special editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are also on display.   Group rates available for parties of fifteen or more are available and the museum offers free admission to all active duty military and their immediate families.