Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Adirondack Museum Changes Name To ‘The Adirondack Experience’

The Adirondack Museum has changed its name to The Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX).

Director of Marketing Ausra Angermann, who came on board in February and has helped implement the name change, said  “Changing a name and identity is not a decision that is taken lightly. The name change was under way before I came on board. Research was conducted and a marketing team put in place as well as an agency to help with the transition.”

Angermann said that there can be a preconceived notion in the word museum. She told the Adirondack Almanack that the name was changed was to reflect the full scope of what the museum’s  121-acre campus with its 25 buildings and galleries represents. “At the heart we are the same institution and the same great culture,” says Angermann. “We are still living by our mission statement. We are looking to the past to make wise choices for the future.”

In a letter to museum supporters Executive Director David Kahn outlined the reasons for the change:

“Our decision was informed by many factors, including:

  • People’s expectations of cultural attractions have changed. Consumer research tells us that today’s travelers and tourists want rich interactive experiences that immerse them in their environment and create instantly shareable and long-lasting memories.
  • Museums across the country have struggled with declining attendance. While our museum remains healthy, we are not immune to these trends.
  • To compete with new destinations in the Adirondack region and around the Northeast, we need to ensure our identity reflects what we truly are: a 121-acre indoor and outdoor experience with fun, active, and educational elements.
  • A 2015 report on millennials in the Adirondacks, Albany, and New York City revealed that 86% view experiences as more important than possessions and more than three quarters say experiences define who they are.
  • A study of non-visitors a few years ago told us 95% think we are a natural history museum; 90% think we are ‘small’ and nearly 50% don’t think we are for families and children.
  • Our institution has always evolved to remain relevant to the times while staying true to its mission and the region we serve.”

This summer ADKX is also unveiling a new 19,000 square foot permanent exhibition, Life in the Adirondacks which will include a walk-on Adirondack Park map as well as interpretive displays. The new exhibit space opens July 1st.

The Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake is open 7 days a week, including holidays, from May 26th through October 9th.

For more information, events, and activities visit theadkx.org.

John Warren contributed to this report.


Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.




43 Responses

  1. Todd Eastman says:

    Poor marketing choice!

  2. James Bullard says:

    I guess I’m old. I like things that are named as what they are. First, the Old Forge Art Center became “VIEW”. What does that name tell you? View of what? What about the music events or the classes people participate in? Are they views? But it is, in the mind of PR types, a catchy name so there it is. Now The Adirondack Museum becomes Adirondack Experience. It is still a museum of past Adirondack experience while contemporary Adirondack experiences are available everywhere you go in the Adirondacks but again, it is a catchy new name, so Adirondack Experience it is. FWIW that sounds more like a theme park to me. Again, I’m old and probably cranky.

    • Boreas says:

      It’s just a Millenial thing. Museums are for old farts – like land line telephones and email. We are old & in the way…

      • Brent says:

        I suppose I am a millennial, but I wish they would leave the names as they were. The guide portaging his ADK guideboat is quintessential “Adirondackana”. It is such a rich image of the wild and adventurous history of the ‘dacks. I will miss the name and the logo, and will jealously guard my unused Adirondack Museum member stickers. 🙂

        • Bill says:

          I agree, Brent. Say what you will about the ungainly new name, but the new logo is truly generic, uninspired, and doesn’t really evoke anything uniquely Adirondack with its imagery. It looks more like the logo for a hotel than a cultural institution.

  3. Bill Joplin Bill Joplin says:

    I agree totally with James Bullard. What’s next — adding brands to the names of the buildings? I hope the curators I have met at the Museum are happier about this than I am; they’re wonderful people.

  4. Charlie S says:

    This is very strange! The Adirondack Experience? You’re not old and cranky James this is outright weird. It’s been the Adirondack Museum for 60 years and now all of a sudden a name change. Bizarre I say. Makes no sense whatsoever. I like museums and I can get experience anywhere! There’s only one Adirondack Museum! There was! I’ve been a member on and off for a number of years now and I’m here to say I highly doubt I am going to re-up my membership under this name. I like the Adirondack experience which I can get on a whim every day of the year but I also like the ‘Adirondack Museum’ which is suddenly no more. How very very odd!

    ““Changing a name and identity is not a decision that is taken lightly. The name change was under way before I came on board. Research was conducted and a marketing team put in place as well as an agency to help with the transition.”

    There we go with the marketing thing again! The museum must be doing poorly! This name change is going to be their saviour. Geez! The ‘Adirondack Museum’ has been working I don’t get it! In my travels all over the northeast I have met people who know of the Adirondack Museum, who have supported it and have said nothing but positive things about it. Now this! I don’t get it!! I don’t like it. It’s all about marketing like every thing else it’s really sad the way we’re going. This name change is cheesy to say the least.

  5. Charlie S says:

    “People’s expectations of cultural attractions have changed. Consumer research tells us that today’s travelers and tourists want rich interactive experiences that immerse them in their environment and create instantly shareable and long-lasting memories.”

    >No doubt people’s expectations have changed! What do you expect when we’ve gone from wood to plastic! We want what we want when we want it and we want it on a moments notice because effort is something we put less energy into if we can help it!

    >Interactive! Terminology for computer programs, for software technology. An exchange of information via a device hooked up to a wire! Society is attached to a wire (has anyone noticed?)…..is disconnected from nature. Nature deficit disorder the end result! Nothing is in real time anymore we must separate ourselves from the old way of doing things because we wont survive if we don’t! Because we must keep up with the Jones’s. Because we wanna be like everyone else! The Adirondacks are not like anywhere else how long will this last?!

    The Adirondack Experience! It used to be a museum! Then along came marketing!

  6. Justin Farrell says:

    Why not just call it “The ‘Dack Experience”?

  7. Peter Klein says:

    The true Adirondack experience is black flies, poverty and declining populations.
    And then we have the governor’s idea of an Adirondack experience but he calls it the Adirondack Challenge where he races a couple of miles down the Indian River and wins every year because the fix is in.
    And while all this nonsense marketing is going on, everyone up here is supposed to be saved from economical disaster by more and better broadband.

    • Boreas says:

      Peter,

      I am certainly sensitive to the plight of the North Country, not just the ADK Park. But what people have done since they walked upright is adapt to their environment or move on to another one. If we are going to sit in poverty and wait for the feds or state to save us, we are going to be waiting a long time. Our young are split. Some see opportunity here with new ventures and others choose to find their fortunes elsewhere.

      Lack of reliable industry has meant that NC people have had to be resilient – often with multiple occupations. As lumber and mining have declined, so have opportunities. These jobs are not likely to return. Corrections have supplied decent jobs for a few, but they too are looking at possible loss when the “war on drugs” finally ends in surrender.

      I guess ultimately each of us must decide if we are going to to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

    • Jesse B says:

      Peter, to give an alternative perspective (as a young person), broadband is probably one of the most valuable pieces of infrastructure to invest in. And that’s how it should be thought of, as infrastructure, no different than roads or utility lines. Today’s economy increasingly utilizes online activities (banking, sales, data, communications, etc.) and high-speed reliable access allows these functions to take place rapidly and reliably. In my own line of work as a scientist, I rely on cloud computing, and while I can pick up my laptop and bring it with me, I am restricted by access to high-speed internet.

      Of course you are correct that broadband is not a panacea for all economic woes. But at least by putting it in, you are creating online opportunity, whereas none existed before. Think of it like building a new interstate. There’s no guarantee it will be used…but more likely, it will become an important transportation corridor.

      I can understand that for folks who don’t presently rely on broadband, they may not have the personal need for it. But for those who do use it, the lack of Adirondack access is a major shortcoming, and to hear it being put it in is something to be cheered.

      • Boreas says:

        JesseB,

        I don’t think there is any doubt about the potential for job creation and community stability that an internet trunk provides. It isn’t so much that every citizen eventually has it, but at least it gives everyone the option of working from home and not having to live near a city. If ADKers feel they are adaptable and flexible, this is certainly an option to try. Think web-cams, web-based programs and education, etc.

      • Peter Klein says:

        The broadband in Indian Lake is good. The roads are lousy.

  8. J R says:

    If I were a first time visitor, I would expect something called The Experience to be a theme park, zip lines, or live action village, not a museum. I’ve held a membership for close to 25 years. It’s a museum, not a guide service, or a theme park! Be proud of what it is, a first class museum. If more theme days etc were added, then possibly The Adirondack Museum and Experience. But I really don’t think you need to change the name. It’s primarily a museum, why give it an obtuse name? Also, I happen to agree with James about renaming the Arts Center to the View. What view, of the picnic area from the landing going up the stairs? It’s an arts center. The Museum should be careful what they wish for. I just googled Adirondack art and The View was the 31st entry for Google on the 2nd page. Be careful of disconnects between a name and what people are looking for.

    • That is an interesting point about Google rankings for “VIEW”. I hadn’t even considered that but I suspect the old name would have worked better for a Google search.

      • Just for the heck of it I just Googled “Old Forge Art Center”. It came up at the top of the 1st page. I searched on “View” and it was the 8th entry on the 1st page.

  9. James D. Marco says:

    I liked the old logo. What can I say? The museum had a good place. Then they added the garage. Then they took out the boat under the dome. Then they seemed too loose touch with the pain, dangers and, yes, the sense of adventure that went with the ADK’s. Roads everywhere, not logging roads, recreational roads. boat launches at my favorite fishing holes, Parking lots for not three or four cars, but for a hundred. I went deeper into the woods. I carried my canoe just like that old logo. I was living in the past with every visit. Now it is a theme park????? Where is the context with the past? Where are we going in the future? We push for the present at the expense of the future while trying to forget our past mistakes. The name change simply reflects that.

    • ethan says:

      I don’t know about the name change either — but when I think of the Adirondacks the word “mountains” immediately comes to mind, so I have to confess I do like the new mountain logo

      • Boreas says:

        Ethan,
        That’s a mountain? I didn’t even realize that is what it is supposed to be! I guess I’m just a dumbass…

  10. Dick Carlson says:

    OMG – worst marketing decision ever! The new website is marginal as well. Facebook comments are totally against this. So – let’s alienate our base (old membership), and get some younger audience in here. They could have re-branded what they do – Adirondack Experience – not what they are – Adirondack Museum. More money than brains – this is a 6 figure mistake!

  11. al says:

    New leadership, new marketing, new board members, new employees from elsewhere, all equals alienation of locals (and I include seasonal residents). Have you noticed the ads seeking employees for a variety of positions? They had to do a job fair this year and still no takers. The museum, whatever it calls itself, has lost it’s way and will soon realize the error, but probably too late! The sheer expense of the name change is ridiculous and negates the whole history of the institution. Harold Holschield is rolling in his grave!

  12. robert gillis says:

    Not the brightest idea to come along. Marketers are good at jumping on the trend of the moment.Remember when everything was being branded “millennium?” What’s going to be needed to attract people after the tourists find out that the place is NOT a theme park? The logo actually suggests that some kind down hill ride is in the offing.

  13. Jim S says:

    I have always felt that the word museum was not big enough for that wonderful campus. The new title really doesn’t bother me at all. In fact the change could be positive although I would like to see the logo reflect the Adirondack experience like the old one did.

  14. Todd Eastman says:

    Replace marketing director…

    … this will only get worse.

  15. ethan says:

    LOVE the new mountain logo. Not a fan of the name.

    • Paul says:

      Thanks. I didn’t realize that was a mountain. I thought it was part of a stained glass window.

      Sounds weird to me but most new things sound weird to me. That probably means they are good. Are they sure that this wasn’t stolen from Jimmy Hendrix?

  16. David West says:

    Evolution… I find it humorous that in the fourth paragraph, second sentence of this article that the Director of the “Adirondack Experience” had to revert to the “museum’s” physical description to describe the new “Experience”. Ironic.

    I grew up thinking that going to a museum was an experience!

  17. Charles Herr charles herr says:

    fyi, they now have a new home page,

    https://www.theadkx.org/

    • Boreas says:

      Jeezus… The website makes it hard to tell what it is – except for all the donation links. Looks more like a school. Perhaps they can get their money back…

  18. Paul says:

    They say that it is “on” Blue Mountain Lake? Did they move it? It has a good view but it isn’t on the lake.

  19. Deb Evans says:

    New name sounds like a zip line company. Logo- very generic. Someone (outside the adks) made a lot of $!
    Really needs update on all the exhibits… stale.
    Displays are stattic, not engaging.
    All the towns in the blue line should be represented.
    Needs an adk vision

  20. Chip Ordway says:

    Come on, people! Let’s make lemons into lemonade here! They want a name that sounds​ like a theme park? Let’s make it happen! I’m all for bringing in an animatronic Noah John Rondeau to guide you through the Museu–oh, I mean Experience, and what about a ride? Perhaps an in-the-dark roller coaster to recreate Teddy Roosevelt’s ride to North Creek when William McKinley was assassinated? Hell yeah!!! Let’s turn the old Marion River Carry Railroad right-of-way into a world class snowmobile run!!!

    Yep. Marketing research is a beautiful thing. (Insert combination eye roll and head shake here).

    • Boreas says:

      Perhaps the new Louvre Experience and Smithsonian Experience gave them the idea.

      • Bill says:

        The difference being that the Louvre and Smithsonian were already known globally so there wasn’t the same risk of confusing prospective visitors hearing about a place for the first time.

  21. Merry says:

    ADKX: ugly; the shorthand of Twitter. I am unconvinced by the name change and the arguments they are using to justify it. I agree that Harold Hochschild probably wouldn’t like it much.

    I argue that the Adirondack Museum is itself a piece of Adirondack history. Let it continue to bring Adirondack memories and emotions, the whole love affair, to new visitors and returnees alike. I fear hired newcomers who see something old and want to rebrand it without living with it for a decade or two to see what secrets it holds.

  22. Boreas says:

    Perhaps fewer people will be willing donate bequests and gifts to an Experience than a Museum. I would be reluctant – and I’m gettin’ close to that time of life.

  23. Helen says:

    I wonder if they’ll lose their charter, now that the mission has changed.

    “Experience” is already an over-used buzz word with no particular meaning. The current institution’s board and director should have their heads examined to trust in surveys from the “outside” world. What makes them think those surveys apply to the Adirondack region and Adirondack Museum? What makes them think they can reach “millennials” with new branding — as if millennials don’t understand that branding is marketing gimmickry. And to say that millennials prefer experiences to possessions doesn’t mean they identify with the word itself — what terrible logic!!!

    I think an all-out boycott is in order.

    I agree with Merry: you really do have to live here, or visit for decades and in all seasons, to get to know the place and people (and perhaps the absence of modernity), and fall in love. The institution has never really appreciated its local employees, people willing to stay on because of true devotion to the place, institution, history, and old-fashioned ideals. Can these people be easily replaced? If knowledge, passion, and loyalty don’t matter, I suppose so. Otherwise, it’s just a stepping stone to a job elsewhere — as we’ve seen with some recent directors.

    I’d like to have seen the museum bring in 15 former employees, 15 long-standing visitor-members, and all the living “Adirondackers of the Year” whom they’ve recognized annually, and ask them what their ideas are for how the place can improve, modernize, become better known, and discuss challenges of the future. That they haven’t done this is a crying shame.

    • I totally agree that the name change is the dumbest of dumb ideas but a boycott over the name change is equally out to lunch IMO. I am not about to try to bring down an institution I am fond of over a name. That is just silly. We should be encouraging forward-looking, positive suggestions, not punishment for things we disagree with.

  24. Mason Cohen says:

    The museum’s highly-paid but clueless marketing consultant seemed not to have noticed there is already an “Adirondack Experience”, the current publicity campaign for Hamilton County tourism. Check out http://www.AdirondackExperience.com. In fact. Google “Adirondack Experience” and you get the Hamilton County site, not the museum. Give ’em a year, the new marketing manager will be fired as a scapegoat and the old name will be back.

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