GARDNERS, Pa. – More than 7,000 visitors experienced the Appalachian Trail Museum during its third season.
“The appeal of the museum grows each year,” said Larry Luxenberg, museum founder and president of the Appalachian Trail Museum Society. “Since opening in 2010, we have had more than 23,000 visitors from across the United States and many other countries.”
Luxenberg attributes the museum’s popularity during 2012 to a growing interest in hiking, observance of the Appalachian Trail’s 75th anniversary, the museum’s location at the trail’s midway point and new exhibits at the museum. The 2,184-mile-long Appalachian Trail crosses 14 states from Maine to Georgia.
Highlights for the 2012 season included:
- The new Trail Founders exhibit that features displays on Myron Avery and Benton MacKaye – the two men who are credited most with making the Appalachian Trail a reality. New items donated for the exhibit include a manual typewriter used by MacKaye and a folding kayak owned by Avery. The kayak is being prepared for the exhibit, and plans are to add it in 2013.
- A Katahdin art exhibit. Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine at 5,268 feet, is where the Appalachian Trail begins or ends, depending on the direction being hiked.
- A full slate of summer programs that included topics on iron-making at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, early Appalachian Trail hikers, women founders of the trail, geology, hiking stick carving and trail maintenance.
- The annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet at which five Appalachian Trail hiking pioneers were inducted into the hall of fame. They joined the first class honorees who were inducted in 2011. For its fourth season, Luxenberg said the top priority is to add an exhibit on the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame which now has 11 members. Plans also are in the works to relocate the historic Dean’s Gap Shelter from Blue Mountain, Pa., to the museum, update the existing Earl Shaffer Shelter display, an exhibit on blazing (marking) trails and a 30th anniversary exhibit on hikers who thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1983. Other exhibits under consideration are one on the Appalachian Trail and the Civil War and one on historic trail saws.
The museum will open for its fourth season in the spring and will remain open through early fall.
Luxenberg said volunteers are being sought for all aspects of museum operations from greeters and docents to maintenance and landscaping crews to program and hike leaders. Museum manager Howard Davis is accepting inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org
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