Thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), New England Ski Museum will create a new permanent exhibit telling the story of the development of skiing as a sport and an economic engine of the North Country.
The $86,014 grant to the Ski Museum is among the 160 awarded under the 2011 Museums for America program, for which 481 institutions applied. “We are pleased to support museums through investments in high-priority, high value activities that benefit communities throughout the US,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “These museums, small and large, will help to educate and inspire the public for years to come.”
New England Ski Museum unveils a new annual exhibit each year, but also displays a mix of historic objects, artwork, and photographs that remain for longer periods. Some of the highlights of these ‘permanent’ exhibits include a selection of the Museum’s best skis showing the development of the ski over time, significant trophies of the sport, the National Ski Patrol parka owned by its founder ‘Minnie’ Dole, and the oldest book known to depict images of skiers, dating from 1580.
“This December we will start our fourth decade of welcoming the public,” remarked Museum President Bo Adams. “Over the years, as significant new objects are donated, we have put them on permanent display, but the result has become a bit haphazard. The IMLS grant will let us arrange these in an organized, chronological way that will better explain skiing to our visitors.”
Drawing on research from past annual displays, the new exhibit will present a history of skiing from its Stone Age beginnings to the present, and will include popular topics like the emergence of the sport of downhill skiing in the 1930s, the mountain troops of the 10th Mountain Division in World War II, skiing in New Hampshire’s emblematic backcountry Tuckerman Ravine, the now-abandoned resorts dubbed ‘lost ski areas’ of the region, and the Olympic skiers of New England.
The IMLS award will allow the Museum to retain three independent consultants, who will train the staff in current techniques of exhibit design that will be used in the new exhibition and also carry over into future annual exhibits. The Museum’s extensive collection of historic skiing footage will provide the basis for film vignettes of diverse highlights of skiing in motion pictures, to be displayed on three new screens throughout the exhibit hall.
The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.