Sunday, February 27, 2022

Adirondack Experience Receives $500,000 Federal Challenge Grant to Assist with New $4.5M Artists & Inspiration in the Wild Exhibition Opening in 2023

The Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake,(ADKX) has received a $500,000 grant from the Challenge Grants program of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a federal agency. The funds will help support the $2.25M construction cost of the Artists & Inspiration in the Wild project. As part of the Challenge Grant requirements, ADKX must match the funds 3:1. ADKX is in the final phase of fundraising for this project during which they will be seeking funds to match the NEH Challenge Grant. Currently ADKX has raised $3M of the $4.5M overall cost of the project. This grant was secured following a highly competitive application and review process.  NEH receives funding requests from across the U.S. and makes grants to a select few. Just eight Challenge Grants were made at the $500,000 level or more in the current round of NEH funding.  In addition to ADKX, other recipients included the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a Carnegie library in Braddock, Pennsylvania, and WETA, which serves Washington, DC.

This funding will support the renovation of a 6,200-square-foot exhibition space dedicated to the museum’s fine and decorative art collection. Planned upgrades to an existing building will make possible the first permanent home with appropriate climate controls and gallery spaces for this collection. Once completed in 2023, the building will provide permanent galleries dedicated to the most comprehensive showing of the ADKX collection of art in the museum’s 60-plus-year history. Artists & Inspiration in the Wild will include masterpieces from the museum’s painting, decorative arts, furniture, print, drawing, and photograph collections placed in the context of the landscape that inspired their creation. As noted by environmentalist Bill McKibben, on view will be what were, in all probability, the first photographs that brought the wholesale destruction of forestland to Americans’ attention.

The building’s four primary galleries will highlight how the natural features of the Adirondacks, such as light, water, forests, and mountains, have captured the devotion and inspired painters, sculptors, architects, writers, and expert artisans for generations. The galleries will emphasize the stories and creative innovations of a wide range of artists, from renowned figures such as Thomas Cole, Seneca Ray Stoddard, Arthur F. Tait, and Rockwell Kent, as well as pioneering but perhaps lesser-known individuals like Edna West Teall, Margaret Bourke White, Bumpei Usai, and Takeyce Walter.  Works by contemporary Mohawk painters, sculptors, and basketmakers such as Babe and Carla Hemlock, Benjamin Benedict, and Carrie Hill will also be featured. The installations will emphasize video and sound installations as well as interactive and immersive content.

Artists & Inspiration in the Wild – Overall floor plan. Photo provided by Adirondack Experience.

 “The Artists & Inspiration in the Wild project is an important next step in enacting our vision to center the visitor experience. We see this project as an opportunity to share the artistic trajectory of the region in a way that is fulsome and engaging to a wide range of audiences,” said Executive Director David Kahn. “We are grateful to NEH for helping us achieve an important benchmark in our fundraising campaign for this project.”

Artists & Inspiration in the Wild continues the museum’s institutional transformation to reinvigorate the campus and emphasize visitor engagement and experience. This effort began in 2017 with the opening of an $8 million, 19,000-square-foot permanent installation, Life in the AdirondacksArtists & Inspiration in the Wild will include over 300 unique items from ADKX’s vast collection. A book based on Artists & Inspiration in the Wild will be published in 2023 as well.

Learn more about this upcoming exhibition here:

Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX), accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, shares the history and culture of the Adirondack region through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and culturally rich collections in more than 24 historic and contemporary buildings on a 121- acre campus in the heart of the Adirondacks. The museum is supported in part with donations from the general public, with some general operating support made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature. For additional information, call 518-352-7311 or visit

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

Photo at top: St. Regis Reservation, 1937 by Amy Wisher Jones (Oil on Masonite.) Photo provided by Adirondack Experience. 

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4 Responses

  1. John powers says:

    When the ADK Experience hires local, small contractors to expand using $500,000 in Federal dollars, it’ll be interesting to see whose bumper stickers are on their new pickups. Keep the Feds out of my backyard….unless they’re bringing a big fat check.

  2. Andy vS says:

    > Planned upgrades to an existing building will make possible the first permanent home
    … really raises a big question for me: What “existing building” has 19,000 square feet to spare?
    Sounds like half the indoor space of the entire museum. Most of which I’ve loved for decades.
    Sure, re-use is the best recyc;ling, but to “renovate” that much space, are they eliminating all the wooden boats, all the historical exhibits, or what? There’s almiost nothing I;ve been hoping would simply go away. Certainly not such a huge percentage of the museum.

    • Hi Andy,
      This project will be renovating about 6,000-square-feet of exhibit space currently used to feature temporary exhibitions each year. In fact this renovation will be adding permanent space to showcase our extensive creative and decorative arts collection, which up until now has not had a dedicated place to be viewed by the public. We are very excited to create this exhibition space where visitors can explore the stories and creative innovations of a wide range of artists. We hope you’ll come to see it.

  3. Andy vS says:

    > space currently used to feature temporary exhibitions

    Well, that answers my questuion — but I sure hope temporary exhibitions will still continue to happen somewhere or other. They’ve often been great.
    (And even losing 6000 square feet of them isn’t nearly as sad as 19,000 sqft of — whatever that number was supposed to mean for this project. Anyway, I’ve stopped worrying — thanks.)

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