“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 tauny.org and @thetaunycenter on FB and IG.