Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Our guideboat heritage


A man works at a museum

Digitizing a boat collection

Adirondack Experience museum in Blue Mountain Lake maintains one of the most expansive and important collections of Adirondack guideboats anywhere.

It is working to digitize that collection through a process of creating 3-D models called photogrammetry. The models will enable anyone to access more details about the boats and enable researchers to examine how the boats evolved over time. How did boats differ from the Long Lake to Saranac Lake region? The 3-D models may reveal hints.

“The guideboat is really a supreme example of lightweight boat construction—of all wooden boat construction, anywhere,” Hallie Bond, who wrote the book on Adirondack boating, told me during a recent tour of the museum.

I wrote about the 3-D scanning project in our most recent issue of the magazine. Once the museum learns the process for capturing the scans, it can use it to document other boats and countless other artifacts.

I also wrote about some of those special artifacts in a separate story about the museum’s off-site storage facility, home to a cache of interesting Adirondack history.

Museum staff welcome visitors and researchers with a special interest to schedule a trip to see items not on display at the main campus. The tour is well worth it.

Doreen Alessi-Holmes, Adirondack Experience’s conservator and collections manager, leads a tour through the museum’s storage facility.

Doreen Alessi-Holmes, Adirondack Experience’s conservator and collections manager, leads a tour through the museum’s storage facility. Photo by Mike Lynch.

About Monday

The total solar eclipse of the Adirondack Park came and went Monday with perfect weather, clear-enough skies and countless happy visitors.

Traffic slowed on the Northway and some of the most-used thoroughfares, but many events throughout the region went off as planned, and the moon and sun came through as predicted.

girls scouts wear eclipse glasses

The Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York and their families watch the solar eclipse at Hidden Lake Camp in Lake Luzerne. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig

While we are waiting on a full report of forest ranger activities, it appears that visitors were mostly safe in the backcountry.

I spent the morning driving around the northern Adirondacks and Champlain Valley. I spoke with visitors at the Poke-O-Moonshine trailhead setting out for a viewing spot atop that minor peak, including a 46er celebrating his 70th birthday. I stumbled across the viewing event at Ausable Brewing Company in Keeseville and spoke to the brother-owners of the 10-year-old brewery. They said it was one of their best weekends ever.

My colleagues reported from Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Lake George, Tupper Lake and throughout the region as we spread out to give you a sense of how the day went.

Check out our coverage here.

Click here for our 2024 solar eclipse guide.

Photo at top: Retired engineer David Cockey is working the Adirondack Experience museum to create 3-D scans of the museum’s expansive guideboat collection. Photo by Mike Lynch.

This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

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