The Museum of the White Mountain presents ‘Beyond Granite’
PLYMOUTH— New Hampshire’s White Mountains are home to some of the world’s best outdoor recreational opportunities; skiing, hiking and rock climbing draw hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to the region’s glistening ski slopes, rock-strewn summits and green river valleys formed by Mother Nature in a fascinating series of geologic events starting more than 400 million years ago.
In its newest exhibition, “Beyond Granite: The Geology of Adventure,” Plymouth State University’s Museum of the White Mountains explores connections between geological history and recreation in the White Mountains.
The exhibit is curated by Sarah Garlick, a New Hampshire-based writer and science educator who says Geology of Adventure is for anyone who loves the White Mountains region.
“The fundamental Earth processes that have shaped these mountains we love have also shaped us, through our experiences and our adventures,” Garlick said. “This exhibition highlights some of the most beautiful and iconic spots in the White Mountains and allows visitors to explore and understand these places a little deeper.”
The exhibition features ultra-high resolution panoramic photographs, called Gigapans, of Cannon Cliff, the Franconia Ridge, and the east side of Mt. Washington. These panoramas span near entire walls of the gallery and are featured in a touch-screen digital exhibit.
The exhibition includes topics like the connection of a geologic event such as a landslide and how that precipitates activities like backcountry skiing and ice climbing. It also explains the impact of the Ice Age on the region, and the science behind the formation and eventual destruction of the Old Man of the Mountains.
“The land around us has a deep, dynamic history. I think on some level we feel this richness when we’re outside,” adds avid mountaineer Garlick. “I always like to say geology is something people don’t yet know they’re interested in. This exhibition is an opportunity to share the connections between our adventures in the mountains and the stories of the mountains themselves.”
Museum of the White Mountains Director Dr. Catherine Amidon said this exhibition is another step in expanding the broad mission of the new museum.
“The integration of Gigapan technology will allow visitors to have an interactive, ‘hands-on’ experience with the emblematic cliffs and ranges of the White Mountains, while learning about the features in pop-up windows selected by users.” said Amidon. “By incorporating this technology, informal science education is integrated into the awe of the mountain experience and we extend Plymouth State University’s mission to bring science education to new audiences.”
“It was an adventure just to capture the Gigapans,” noted photographer and cinematographer Jim Surette. “Each Gigapan is a composite of over 500 individual images. They take hours to capture and process and conditions have to be perfect. But the result is worth it. The level of detail you can zoom into is incredible. The technology reveals a new way to look at the mountains.”