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It’s Our History: Seeking LP Club history help

September 11, 2012
Lake Placid News

The Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society held its annual meeting on Aug. 25 and among the agenda items, trustees discussed important aspects of our community and our place within the community as the repository of its history.

Throughout the summer season, we've heard the question from members and visitors: "What about the history of Lake Placid - where can we find that?"

Not that the current exhibit isn't well received. ICE! has brought in many new visitors to our building, some who had not visited in many years. While ice was, and still is, an essential aspect of life in the Adirondacks, some visitors were seeking something more, something that told them how this special place in the mountains came to be, who was here first, why did they stay, and how did others also come to be here.

Our new touch screen kiosk tells much of the early history of Lake Placid and North Elba. While technology is appealing to some, illustrative visuals and text on our museum walls is what many visitors come to see. With that in mind and knowing that many community members want to feel they can come to the museum building and view the more traditional history story, we're considering dedicating a portion of the museum to just that aspect. Having large images and text displayed will be helpful when a person comes to our docent to ask about the history of Lake Placid and North Elba and we can point them to a specific display.

In addition, the historical society received many relevant and lovely donations this summer season that are being accessioned. Our new computer program is working like a dream accessioning and helping us keep track of every donation that comes our way. The downside is that we move new donations through so quickly our public doesn't have a chance to view them before they are stored for future exhibit.

I had the experience this summer of having a couple of donors come back to see me a month or two after their donations asking to see their items "on exhibit" somewhere in the building. I admit to being a little flustered and embarrassed that all new donations are not immediately placed on exhibit and recognize the donor was also unsettled to not see their donation on display.

I recognized there was a gap here, in the way things used to be done, and the way we handle objects now. As we have moved to a more subject specific exhibit model, those donations, if they do not fit the subject, are placed in storage until they can be used. With over 8000 items in our collection, having everything on display is just not possible. While this volume is wonderful from a collections standpoint, I recognize it can leave our membership wondering when, if ever, they will see their items again.

At our annual meeting, we decided to dedicate at least one, large display case exclusively to "new donations." Depending on the size of the items, or volume of a given month, any new items donated to the society will go on immediate exhibit at the museum building. The length of time things stay on exhibit will be determined by how many donations received that month.

For example, if we receive four books, a flag, a teapot and a dozen postcards in June, all those items will be in the display case for at least that month. In July, if we receive no donations, the June items will remain on exhibit. However, if we receive items in July, we'll swap the June items for the July items.

We hope these conversations with you, and subsequent decisions by our board of trustees, continue to show our community how committed we are to being your place for local history. We continue to encourage you, our membership and readers, to connect to any trustee, or to Jenn, with comments and suggestions about ways to make local history relevant for you.

Here is the list of current trustees as elected at our annual meeting: Peter Roland Jr., Parmelee Tolkan, Sue Cameron, John Huttlinger, Sue Babcock, Janet Bliss, Reg Clark, Ben Cross, Chuck Damp, Dean Dietrich, Chuck Finley, Ron Huber, Georgia Jones, Betsy Lowe, John Lansing, Bev Reid and Steve Reed.

When ICE! comes down this fall, we begin planning in earnest for our next exhibit which will be reproductions of images from the "Jim Barry Collection" of glass plate negatives which the LP-NEHS purchased from the LPCA in 2011. These images depict very early times at the Lake Placid Club, including many unidentified portraits, as well as beautiful panoramas of Lake Placid and North Elba.

The exhibit committee is discussing ways in which we can make these images relevant and interesting to all Lake Placid residents. To reach this end, we ask you, our community, to let us know ways in which the Lake Placid Club touched your life, in whatever way, if you or your extended family were members or employees, or somewhere in between. We look forward to a community-wide discussion about these images prior to our exhibit.

Do you have thoughts, memories, or other connection to the Club? Please get in touch with Jenn Tufano or Parmelee Tolkan as soon as possible via email or by calling the museum building. We want to hear from you!

Finally, we close for the 2012 season on Columbus Day weekend. If you have not yet had the opportunity to view ICE!, please do so before then. We hope to see you at The History Museum.

This column is presented by the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society

For more information, contact

Jennifer Tufano by email at

or visit



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