Hiking in the Adirondack High Peaks

This new interactive permanent exhibit will explore High Peak’s hiking history and the role that advocacy and hiking groups have played, specifically in the High Peaks region, dating back to the mid-19th Century. We plan to highlight the work of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Summit Stewards, hiking pioneers, old time guides, and other historic and contemporary figures, while featuring many of the items in our collection. The new exhibit is sponsored by the Adirondack 46ers, Adirondack 46R Conservation Trust, Cloudsplitter Foundation, J.M. McDonald Foundation, and individual contributions.




Arto Monaco and the Land of Makebelieve

We believe in having a place for young children to play! The Adirondack History Museum possesses a collection of over 500 Arto Monaco/Land of Makebelieve artifacts, many of which are on display in our colorful, multimedia exhibit that highlights the work of this beloved Essex County artist.  The Land of Makebelieve, which was one of his most magnificent creations, opened in 1954 in his hometown of Upper Jay. The park was built to a child-sized scale with over twenty miniature buildings and attractions, including a castle, a riverboat, a train, fairy tale houses, a stagecoach and an entire Old West town. The amusement park was in operation for 25 years, and attracted up to 100,000 visitors annually. Destroyed by a flood in 1979, it was forced to close. Arto Monaco's designs can still be seen in Santa's Workshop, located in Wilmington, and at the Great Escape, located in Lake George. In creating this exhibit space, we have followed Monaco’s dictate that children are meant to play by adding coloring tables, wooden toys, and a dress-up room.






Get to know the people of Essex County by visiting our award winning Worked/Wild exhibit. Community discussions gave rise to complex themes and competing agendas about life in the Adirondacks. “Us and Them” dichotomies mixed with shared emotional responses to the land: loneliness and isolation vs. the tourist season hustle and bustle; the richness of nature contrasted with human poverty. This exhibit expresses pride in this place, love of the landscape, and how much the past reflects who the people of Essex County are today. Despite the differing perspectives, residents and visitors alike care deeply for the historic and environmental future.





Adirondack Firetowers

Take a climb up the most easily accessed fire tower in the Adirondack Park! Our fifty five foot fire tower, installed in 1989 from the remains of two authentic Adirondack fire towers that were dismantled, offers one of the best views in town. The accompanying exhibit describes the role fire towers have played in the history of the Adirondacks.  The exhibit combines photos, text, and maps to explain early fire tower history, locations of existing and past fire towers, and current fire tower issues of removal, retention, and restoration.





Community Ties

Community Ties is a series of curiosities we’ve collected over our 75 years of operations. Items tell the stories important to the people who have lived and worked within Essex County. Highlights include a hand press used to print the local paper in Keeseville, a 1920s stage curtain from the Lewis Grange Hall that is beautifully painted with local businesses logos, and dental chair used by Manya Gerson in Elizabethtown, who was one of the first female professionals in the county. Many consider the highlight of this room the story of Henry Desbosnys, the last man hung in Essex County. Artifacts include his artwork and writing, the noose that hung him, and his skull!






Our longest running permanent exhibit focuses on classic styles of transportation used in Essex County – from sledges to bikes to carriages, travel through the mountainous Adirondack Park has always presented unique challenges. The display includes our signature 1887 Concord Stagecoach, peddler’s wagon, buckboard wagon, the bobsled “Ironshoes,” two cutter sleighs, piano box bossy, and a hand pumper fire engine!




The Adirondack Northway

Like the opening of the Champlain Canal 200 years ago, the construction of the Northway in the late 1960s brought revolutionary change to Essex County and the Adirondack region. Millions of hikers, hunters, fishermen, and cottagers arrived from major population centers in just hours, and thousands of them stayed. The new interstate highway opened up new businesses while destroying local livelihoods as it bypassed old town centers. The Museum's 2023 Northway exhibit and programs will showcase the controversies surrounding building the superhighway, its local and regional highlights, and the long-lasting impact.





Fires in the High Peak

In recognition of the museum fire tower turning 100 years old, this exhibit explores the history of fires in the High Peaks and the fire detection network that developed as a response. Delve into the stories of the catastrophic fires of 1903 and 1910, which burned over a million acres of the Park. The exhibit features a climbable fire tower - a combination of two towers that were removed from their original sites (Kempshall and West Mountains) and reconstructed for visitor use.






Steven Kellogg ~ Pinkerton & Friends

The Rosenberg Gallery will feature the extraordinary artwork of Steven Kellogg. Kellogg is the acclaimed illustrator and author of some 135 children’s storybooks, including his well-known series about Pinkerton the Great Dane and his tall tales about classic American characters like Paul Bunyan, and Johnny Appleseed. He has always loved to draw and the way that pictures can deepen and expand the text of a story — creating what he calls a "beautiful duet." The exhibit rounds up a selection of Steven Kellogg's art spanning his long and distinguished career. Feast your eyes on these visions in pencil, crayon, oil, acrylic, watercolors, colored ink, and mixed media. Enter the magical, inviting rainbow world of Steven Kellogg's imagination.







Blue is the Atmospheric Refraction I See You Through

The Adirondack History Center Museum is pleased to serve as a venue for this 2021 New York State Council on the Arts Adirondack Decentralization grant-supported project “blue is the atmospheric refraction I see you through”, by the artist Randi Renate. This participatory installation will be open to the public on June 25, 2021.


“Blue is the Atmospheric Refraction I See You Through” is a sculptural encounter in which two viewers have similar, yet distinct, experiences of climbing twin spiraling staircases that are recessed into a larger dome. The twin staircases require mirrored movement; shared movements trigger mirror neurons, which enhance human empathy. With this acknowledgment, the work grants a sense of belonging, and, even for a brief moment, a sense of unity through a creation of common ground and shared experience. Inspiration for the artwork was specifically drawn from the artist’s first-hand experience traversing the Adirondack mountains in the spring and summer of 2020, coinciding with artistic research on allocentric spatial perspective and atmospheric refraction. The blue color finish of the work is drawn from our expansive atmosphere: seeing from a distance when at the top of a summit; from such heights, the texture translates to color washes. This participatory installation offers a space of encounter—a terrain to see and be seen by others, to recognize and be recognized.


This project is neither a presentation of the museum nor part of our season or programming. This project is made possible, in part, with the funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and administered by the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.


The artist Randi Renate was born ‘en caul,’ in San Antonio, TX. Her diverse, large-scale architectonic structures agitate an investigation on the somatic and cognitive ways of understanding our embodied being-in-the-world. Randi Renate received a B.F.A. in Studio Art and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014, moving to Berlin in the spring 2015, where she maintained a studio and artist-run project space, TRACE. Randi Renate is a 2020 M.F.A. graduate from the Sculpture Department at the Yale School of Art.








(518) 873-6466