Historic Saranac Lake announced the launch of a new project on the Cure Porch on Wheels titled, ”Pandemic Past and Present.” Funding for this project came from a 2021 Corridor of Commerce Interpretive Theme Grant from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership.
Historic Saranac Lake will host programs on its mobile museum space, the Cure Porch on Wheels, to explore local history in public health with new audiences. Visitors will view short videos and participate in interactive activities that will build connections between Saranac Lake’s history as health resort and the collective experience of the current the pandemic.
The project will be led by Historic Saranac Lake’s new Public Programs Coordinator, Mahala Nyberg. Ms. Nyberg stated, “As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, Saranac Lake's sanatorium history is newly relevant. Our history as a community built on the treatment and research of a highly infectious disease helps to shed light on issues in public health today. The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic inspires us to explore untold stories in our local history and make new connections to broader themes.”
Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) will explore perspectives on pandemics, past and present within the 640 square miles of the Saranac Lake School District. The Lake Champlain Basin Program grant will support the creation of short videos about Saranac Lake’s TB history, highlighting the lives of patients whose TB experiences relate to common experiences in the present day. Four short videos will be created profiling each patient with photos and excerpts in their own words, captured in Historic Saranac Lake’s archival resources and oral histories. The videos will be installed in the Cure Porch on Wheels and online.
This project is a natural outgrowth of a new exhibit soon to be unveiled at the Saranac Laboratory Museum titled, “Pandemic Perspectives.” Following its closure through the winter due to the pandemic, the museum will reopen on May 25, 2021. The public will be asked to register for admission in order to help assure social distancing, and face coverings will be required.
Historic Saranac Lake’s mission is to preserve and present area history and architecture to build a stronger community.
We are excited to share that we have been awarded two new grants from New York State Council on the Arts to support our museum operations and the Cure Porch on Wheels! Read the press release below, or download the PDF.
Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) announced that it has been awarded two new grants from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). The two grants represent a significant endorsement from New York State for the Historic Saranac Lake’s museum and public programs.
“NYSCA has been an essential, longtime partner,” stated HSL Executive Director, Amy Catania. “NYSCA support has enabled us to build our organization and our programs over the years, to the point that we are now undertaking a major expansion of our museum. These grants come at a crucial time for us. They represent a huge vote of confidence in the future of Historic Saranac Lake.”
A grant of $25,000 per year for 2021 and 2022 will support the general operations of HSL’s museum, the Saranac Laboratory on Church Street. (The museum is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but looks forward to reopening this spring.) The general operating support grant will support HSL’s ongoing collection care, museum exhibits, and museum programs.
Museum Administrator, Chessie Monks-Kelly, has worked over the last five years to organize and build HSL’s collection. “With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Northern New York Library Network, and now NYSCA, we are making huge strides in making our collections available to the public. We will soon be able to offer in-person research opportunities, expanded exhibits, and a searchable online catalog to connect our unique history with a worldwide audience.”
In 2019, HSL purchased the neighboring historic Trudeau Building for expansion of the museum. “We look forward to establishing a two-building museum campus in the heart of downtown Saranac Lake that explores the story of Trudeau and tuberculosis as well as the broader history of the Saranac Lake region,” explained Catania.
A project grant of $15,000 from NYSCA’s Architecture and Design program will support HSL’s flagship program, the Cure Porch on Wheels. Historic Saranac Lake brings the Porch to the hamlets, neighborhoods, and special places of the North Country for programs that raise awareness of local architecture and history. The project grant will enable HSL to hire a new Cure Porch and Public Programs Coordinator in the spring of 2021.
In addition to the two new grants, in 2020 HSL received a NYSCA Workforce Investment grant through the Regional Economic Development Council. The second year of funding for the position has been released. The two year matching grant supports a new staff position, a Membership and Grants Manager. HSL hired Adam Guillette in early 2020 to fill the position. “We are happy to have NYSCA’s support for this second year,” stated Mr. Guillette. “We look forward to continuing to grow membership and fundraising efforts in the coming year to support the development of the new museum.”
Upon releasing news of awards in 2021, NYSCA stated, “The arts are central to the health of our state’s economy and individuals, and over these last eleven months we have been nourished by a resilient arts sector that continues to sustain us in the face of isolation and fear. From pivoting to exciting digital programming, to reimagining missions, and strengthening vital community services, the innovation of New York’s arts and culture sector is truly inspiring.”
Historic Saranac Lake’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Historic Saranac Lake’s Workforce Investment project is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.
Founded in 1980, Historic Saranac Lake’s mission is to preserve and present area history and architecture to build a stronger community.
The Saranac Laboratory Museum
Architectural Rendering of The Trudeau Building, future site of Historic Saranac Lake’s museum expansion
Stay up to date on all the news and happenings from Historic Saranac Lake at the Saranac Laboratory Museum!