This Tuberculosis Thursday, we're sending a Museum Bouquet to our friends at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum! This shot, from Richard Ray's book, "Saranac, 1937-1940: a Memoir," is captioned "Old Friends and Fresh Flowers are Good Medicine" and we couldn't agree more! Richard "Dick" Ray came to Trudeau Sanatorium in 1937; his employer arranged to pay for his treatment but when it took longer than six months for him to recover his health, they cut his salary. He moved to the sanatorium in Ray Brook where care was covered by New York State.
Dick self-published 1000 copies of "Saranac" in 1993, and Historic Saranac Lake published a revised edition after his death in 2005. To learn more about Dick's time in Saranac Lake, visit our wiki.
Did you know that you can also purchase a copy of "Saranac: 1937-1940" from our gift shop? We're still shipping items, so check out our online store today!
And be sure to check out Museum Bouquets all across social media for beautiful flowers from all of your favorite museums!
It's Wednesday Mini Tour time! Our Museum Administrator Chessie took a walk to a site with a link to our Art of the Cure Exhibit. Watch to learn more about the significance of this building!
Want to know even more? Visit our wiki.
If you have a Mini Tour request, let us know!
During the years Saranac Lake was a health resort, many TB patients filled their time by making arts and crafts. These activities furnished a crucial sense of purpose for people struggling with isolation and boredom.
Before antibiotics, there was no real cure for TB, so doctors and nurses helped patients fight the disease by supporting their immune systems in every possible way. They provided good nursing care, healthy food, rest, moderate exercise, and attention to mental health through occupational therapy. At the Trudeau Sanatorium Workshop, and later at the Study and Craft Guild in town, patients and community members learned jewelry making, basket weaving, painting, and much more.
This past spring, we opened an exhibit titled “The Art of the Cure,” presenting some of the beautiful arts and crafts that grew out of our local history. Thinking about the parallels with our present times, I ducked into the museum this week to pick out a story from the exhibit to share in this letter.
I thought I would spend five minutes, but I couldn’t pull myself away. I couldn’t choose just one story. Dr. Trembley’s carved ducks, Temming jewelry, Mott’s pottery, paintings by Amy Jones, Kollecker’s photos — these creations all resonate in a deeper way in this strange new time. These objects, which have all outlasted the artists who made them, have stories to tell about the creativity and optimism of the human spirit in the face of a dreaded disease.
After carefully looking over everything on display, for some reason I kept thinking about one artifact that didn’t even make it into the exhibit, a pipe holder that has been in storage in our collection. A patient made the pipe holder in the occupational therapy workshop and gave it to Dr. Gordon Meade. Dr. Meade kept it his whole life, and a few years ago Dr. Meade’s son Jim donated it to our museum. We do not know who created this humble object, but we can trust that the person found a sense of purpose in making it. And today this pipe holder is a lasting expression of gratitude, a statement about the friendship between a patient and his doctor.
In order to make “The Art of the Cure” available during these homebound days, we have uploaded the entire exhibit online here. I hope you will take a tour, and let us know what stories resonate for you.
What pastimes give you a sense of purpose during this unusual time? What gifts do you treasure as reminders of someone who cares about you?
Historic Saranac Lake
Images: Betty and Martin Koop working on jewelry, Historic Saranac Lake collection, courtesy of Theresa Brown. Pipe holder, Historic Saranac Lake collection, courtesy of Jim Meade.
Students in the Clarkson University Occupational Therapy program on a tour to the Trudeau Sanatorium Workshop, January 2020.
It's Museum Monday, and we are excited to announce that you can now "visit" our Art of the Cure Exhibit from home! This exhibit highlights the origins of Saranac Lake’s rich history in the arts. The Trudeau Sanatorium and the Study and Craft Guild offered groundbreaking occupational therapy programs to tuberculosis patients, many of whom went on to become accomplished artists, writers, and craftspeople.
We hope you can come visit the exhibit in person soon, but for now, this virtual version of the exhibit contains many of the sights and sounds (but unfortunately, not smells!) of the Art of the Cure. All week long we'll be sharing posts related to Occupational Therapy and its use with tuberculosis patients, and its legacy in Saranac Lake today!
To visit the exhibit, simply click the button belowand scroll down or use the buttons to navigate the different "exhibit cases" and learn from home!
We look forward to sharing more about this fascinating history all week long!
Since we can't show you the museum and our local historic sites in person, we want to try out a new feature! Introducing... Wednesday Mini Tours! We'll share a mini tour every week - these can be about people, places, and objects from Saranac Lake history.
Our first mini tour is about Dr. Lawrason Brown. Watch the video to hear from our Executive Director, Amy, about Dr. Brown.
Want to know even more? Visit our wiki.
If you have a mini tour subject you'd like to request, let us know!
Stay up to date on all the news and happenings from Historic Saranac Lake at the Saranac Laboratory Museum!