New Exhibition Protecting the Forests: The Weeks Act of 1911 Opens at St. Kieran Arts Center

January 22nd, 2011 by Kelly

ST. KIERAN ARTS CENTER                                                                                                                             155 Emery Street, Berlin NH 03581

Joan Chamberlain, Executive Director



New Exhibition Protecting the Forests: The Weeks Act of 1911

Opens at St. Kieran Arts Center

Berlin, NH- St. Kieran Arts Center is hosting a new touring exhibition Protecting the Forests: The Weeks Act of 1911 created by Plymouth State University in honor of the centennial of the Weeks Act of 1911, which authorized the federal government to purchase and maintain lands in the eastern United States as national forests.


The Weeks Exhibition opens at St. Kieran Arts Center as part of the North Country Talent Showcase on Sunday, January 30 at 2 PM. The North Country Talent Showcase is a fun and fast-paced variety show celebrating North Country artists and offering something for everyone.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children. Doors open at 1 PM.  The Week’s Exhibition runs through March 30 with additional viewing hours 9-4 weekdays, at scheduled performances and by appointment.


“Protecting the Forests” addresses the history, social significance and ecological impact of the Weeks Act through the presentation of historical photographs and prints from glass plates and daguerreotypes accompanied by explanatory text. Research and writing by project humanists Marcia Schmidt Blaine and Linda Upham-Bornstein are the foundation of this educational project.


Prior to 1911 neither federal nor state governments owned any substantial forested lands east of the Mississippi. The tourist industry promoted the White Mountains as a place for quiet rejuvenation and contemplation; but timber, railroad, mining, textile and agricultural groups had different uses for the forest resources.



In early 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests was created to save the mountains. Their forester, Philip Ayres, ran a national campaign arguing that the White Mountains were
a national treasure.”


Even with President Theodore Roosevelt’s explicit support, the bill stalled in Congress until Congressman John W. Weeks took interest. Weeks was a New Hampshire native and a summer resident of Lancaster. He rewrote the national forest bill, combining forest preservation with watershed protection and fire control, and after a series of lobbying efforts the Weeks Act became law in 1911.


PSU Director of Exhibitions Catherine Amidon says the exhibition and related events provide an important opportunity to bring people together, both physically and virtually, to share knowledge and appreciation of the unique culture and heritage of the region. The exhibition has been made available for touring in partnership with the PSU Center for Rural Partnerships, with support from the NH Humanities Council.


St. Kieran Arts Center events and exhibitions are supported in part by grants from the NH State Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation/North Country’s Art Ventures Fund, an Anonymous Fund, Libby Family Fund, North Country Region Community Fund and the Stanton and Elizabeth Davis Fund.


For more information and a full schedule of events contact the Arts Center at 752-1028, 155 Emery Street or visit