Thursday, March 3, 2022

TAUNY Exhibit Features Hornbeck Boats and the Paddlers Who Love Them 

TAUNY hornbeck exhibit

Hornbeck Boats: the Lightest Boats in the Deep Woods” opened February 19, 2022 at The TAUNY Center in downtown Canton, NY, and will remain on display through May 8, 2022. The exhibit traces the history and impact of the company Hornbeck Boats in Olmstedville, NY, through a selection of boats made by the company, documentary photographs, and video. Curators are folklorist and TAUNY Executive Director Jill Breit, historian and boat curator Hallie E. Bond, and photographer Nancie Battaglia. The video in the exhibit was produced by Gus Geraci, TAUNY’s Director of Digital Content. 

Hornbeck Boats was founded by Peter Hornbeck in 1971. The company is known for producing light-weight canoes of Kevlar and carbon fiber that enable paddlers to make carries to remote bodies of water. The light weight also means they are easy to load onto vehicles, making them good choices for solo paddlers and individuals with physical limitations. Hornbeck was initially inspired by the small, light, wooden canoes built by 19th century builder J. Henry Rushton, Canton, NY. The exhibit at The TAUNY Center includes a boat built by Rushton. 

Preparations for the exhibit included interviewing dozens of people about how and where they recreate and work in Hornbeck boats. Stories included conducting bird surveys in boreal swamps, racing in the Adirondack Canoe Classic, and traveling the length of the Raquette River. 

“Hornbeck Boats: the Lightest Boats in the Deep Woods” will close on May 8, 2022 with Bring Your Hornbeck Boat to TAUNY Day. Details will be posted at and @thetaunycenter on FB and IG.

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Executive Director Jill Breit joined TAUNY in 1993, just before the organization opened its first public gallery in Canton. A graduate of St. Lawrence University, Jill earned her M.A. in Folk Studies at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. As Executive Director, in addition to oversight of programming, Jill is in charge of long-range planning, cultivation of funding sources, and staff development. She also continues to be involved in research and programs. TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people understand and appreciate the folk traditions and local culture of everyday life—present and past—in the North Country. To do so, TAUNY seeks to research and preserve a record of diverse groups, customs and traditions; to recognize and empower traditional arts and artists; to identify and promote regional identity; and to provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn about folklore and culture. More information is available at

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