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Debris from the Land of Make Believe is included in the"Raging Rivers" exhibit in Elizabethtown. Photo: Todd Moe
Debris from the Land of Make Believe is included in the"Raging Rivers" exhibit in Elizabethtown. Photo: Todd Moe

"Raging Rivers" exhibit captures devastation, community

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An exhibit in Elizabethtown uses debris, photos and video to tell the story of the destruction and devastation that was experienced in the region as a result of last year's Tropical Storm Irene and the Lake Champlain floods.

More than 40 of the best photos from local photographers from last spring and summer were chosen for use in the exhibit, which closes on Columbus Day. Todd Moe talks with director Margaret Gibbs about the Raging Rivers exhibit at the Adirondack History Center Museum.

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Todd Moe
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“We had easily 1000 photographs that were submitted, so it was very difficult too, we tried to use as many as that helped tell the story.” said Gibbs.

Gibbs described the response to the exhibit as very emotional, “I think walking in and seeing that debris, at first it’s confusing, but then when people realize what it is, it’s powerful. It has a very powerful message that this wonderful place that people remember from their childhood has been destroyed.”

There are a few pictures of Governor, Andrew Cuomo, in action, dealing with the situation. There are three components to the exhibit, a tactile part, photography part, and a video part. Gibbs explained that the video, “was another way to try to bring together a lot of the images that were not printed and put up.”

There are pictures from the spring flooding of Lake Champlain, as well as the August Irene flooding. Many of the photos are dramatic and serious. There were also a few photos that show past floods to give a sort of historical perspective.

“Anyone who directly experienced the flood writes that it’s still painful. It’s a year later and it’s still painful. I mean we like to think that it’s all behind us, but they’re still dealing with it,” explained Gibbs. She said that people who aren’t from the area are shocked, as they usually don’t think of tropical storms, hurricanes, and the type of destruction they bring occurring in this area.

The “Raging Rivers” exhibit captures devastation and community in Essex County. The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The museum is located in the old high school building, on Court St. in Elizabethtown.

There is another exhibit on display through Columbus Day as well. “Worked/Wild” is a multimedia exhibit with photos, paintings, objects, memoires, and videos reflecting the people, the environment and the social structure of Essex County and the Adirondack Region. The exhibit received an Award of Merit, the highest honor given by Museumwise, a statewide museum organization.

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