BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE - Although only open for six-months a year, work never ends at the Adirondack Museum, as the staff consistently labors to continually update the story that the museum tells.
"Getting ready for a new season is a huge undertaking," museum Director of Marketing Susan Dineen said this week. "We have to decide what story to tell, what artifacts to use from the collection, then each must be fact-checked and labeled."
Dineen is in her 14th year at the museum, much of which as the director of educational programming.
A visit to the museum while it is closed allows for a unique perspective of the many tasks that must be completed before the opening in late May.
Much of the planning for this year's exhibits began two years ago, she said.
Staff paints, plans exhibit layouts and researches the history of each of the dozens of artifacts to be used for any given exhibit.
Much of the research and exhibit design this off-season has been focused on two new exhibits for the 2009 season, Dineen said.
The new exhibit, Common Threads: 150 years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters will focus on the quilting tradition that has been not only a necessity for local residents, but also an art form - displaying styles and techniques developed over generations.
Many of the quilts that will be on display are well over a century old and required the construction of angled walls to protect them, Dineen said.
The labels will provide an interactive element, as they are quilts themselves, created by quilters from Indian Lake and Long Lake.
"People live here, people make a living here," Dineen said. "We are here to help each generation understand the evolution of the park and its people,"
Another new exhibit - Wild, Unsettled Country: Early reflections of the Adirondacks - draws on the huge amounts of colonial and victorian paintings that depicted the park during its exploration.
Many of the pieces are nearly 250 years old and display the inspiration that early explorers felt as they surveyed the region.
Along with the paintings, some of the oldest maps of the area will also be on display, Dineen said.
"The Adirondacks are a mystery to many," Dineen said. "It is our task to show people the rich history and lifestyle of the Adirondacks."
The 32-acre Adirondack Museum complex has multiple buildings, including a traditional hunting camp - which was painstakingly disassembled, transported and reassembled on site.
Its 35 full-time employees work year-around to keep up with the ever evolving story of the park, Dineen said.
"Exhibits are constantly being updated and enhanced," she said.
One of the most popular exhibits - the small lodge of the famed hermit Noah John - has been rearranged and will now include a video and interactive elements.
"We are always trying to be more intellectually accessible," museum Marketing Associate Katherine Moore said. "We want to encourage a living experience - we have to promote an interactive element."