Historic Saranac Lake has opened a new exhibit titled, “Pandemic Perspectives,” featuring twelve panels placed throughout the museum inviting visitors to explore connections between their personal experience during the current pandemic and Saranac Lake’s history as a community that welcomed people suffering from infectious disease.
Each panel explores a particular reaction, from positive feelings like “resilience” or “gratitude,” to more difficult ones such as “loneliness” and “fear.”
The exhibit incorporates quotes from literature highlighting experiences common to pandemics throughout history. The exhibit is informed by a course taught by Columbia University Professor Arden Hegele titled, “Epidemic Fictions.”
Historic Saranac Lake’s Public Programs Coordinator Mahala Nyberg was instrumental in the production and staging of the exhibit.
The exhibit includes historic images from Historic Saranac Lake’s collection and present-day images shared by local nurse, Lisa Keegan. One of the photos Ms. Keegan provided for the exhibit is of Sara Diaz, who also works as a nurse at Adirondack Health. Sara and Lisa attended the opening reception, held for members of Historic Saranac Lake on July 13th.
Complementing the new exhibit, Historic Saranac Lake will host a series of public programs supported by grants from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, Humanities New York, and the New York State Council on the Arts. The public programs will explore four topics as they relate to Saranac Lake’s history as a tuberculosis sanatorium community: The Roles of Women in the Medical History, Patients’ Stories: Saranac Lake’s History through the Lens of Narrative Medicine, Cure Porch Architecture; and the Healing Power of Occupational Therapy. Each of the four talks will inform four temporary exhibits for our mobile exhibit space, the Cure Porch on Wheels. HSL will take the exhibits off-site for history day visits in the summer and fall of 2021.
Photo of Pandemic PersPEctives provided.