SARANAC LAKE – Historic Saranac Lake has announced the launch of a new project with its Cure Porch on Wheels titled “Past and present pandemic.”
Funding for this project came from a thematic 2021 Trade Corridor Interpretation grant from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership.
Historic Saranac Lake will host programs at its mobile museum space, the Cure Porch on Wheels, to explore local public health history with new audiences. Visitors will watch short videos and participate in interactive activities that will make connections between the history of Lake Saranac as a spa resort and the collective experience of the current pandemic.
HSL will explore perspectives on pandemics in the 640 square miles of Saranac Lake School District. The Lake Champlain Basin Program grant will support the creation of short videos on the history of TB in Lake Saranac, highlighting the lives of patients whose experiences of TB are linked to common experiences today. Four short videos will be created featuring each patient with photos and excerpts in their own words, captured from the archival resources and oral histories of Historic Saranac Lake. The videos will be installed in the Cure Porch on Wheels and online.
This project is the natural result of a new exhibition which will soon be unveiled at the Saranac Laboratory Museum entitled “Pandemic Perspectives.” The museum will reopen on May 25, after it was closed during the winter due to the pandemic. The public will be asked to register for admission to help ensure social distancing, and face covers will be required.
The project will be led by Historic Saranac Lake’s new Public Programs Coordinator, Mahala Nyberg.
“As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the story of Saranac Lake Sanatorium is newly relevant,” Nyberg said in a press release. “Our history as a community of treating and researching a highly infectious disease helps shed light on today’s public health issues. The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic inspires us to explore untold stories from our local history and to make new connections with broader themes.