MUSEUM DIRECTOR DR. CATHERINE AMIDON explains how the 1830 painting by Thomas Cole called Morning Mist Rising served as an inspiration for the soon to open exhibit. BENJAMIN KLEIN/CITIZEN
PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University is set to open a year-long exhibit at the newly renovated Museum of the White Mountains this Saturday, Feb. 23, with the hope that it will further the University’s goal of showing that local partnerships matter.
After three years of planning and more than $2 million, the museum will display an assortment of historical items and artworks organized from different regions, PSU President Sara Jayne Steen explained. She added that the long-planned museum is part of a larger effort of the University to establish “Plymouth as a University of place.”
“We need to be working on behalf of (the White Mountain region) workforce, we need to celebrate the small area businesses, and a project like this attracts extraordinary partners,” said Steen.
The museum will not require any public funds to run, Steen said, and will instead rely on an assortment of private donations, partnerships and sponsorships.
Museum Director Dr. Catherine Amidon, who will be the sole full-time employee of the museum, said the current display cost six figures and took three years to put together, with most of the collection on loan from private collectors.
“The museum is integral to the University’s educational mission. It allows for internships and hands-on learning,” said Amidon. “Three to seven interns a semester have been working with us for the last two years helping get the museum ready.”
Amidon said the museum is part of Steen’s greater vision of making Plymouth State University “a comprehensive regional University. The White Mountains are an integral part of the identity of the Uni- versity.”
Amidon added that the museum is unique because, “we are not an arts museum, not a science museum and not a history museum. We draw from all disciplines, focusing on the region instead of a subject.”
Operating on what Amidon called “a shoestring budget,” she explained that the soon-to-open museum will have an annual operating budget of a little more than $60,000.
Perhaps the most important piece in the collection is an 1830 painting by Thomas Cole called “Morning Mist Rising.” Amidon said that the painting, which displays an idyllic New Hampshire scene, served as one of the main inspirations of the exhibit.
Located at 34 Highland St. in Plymouth, the museum will open Feb. 23 at noon.
For more information, visitwww.plymouth.edu/museum-of-the-white-mountains.