Ways of the Woods by Northern Forest Center Comes to Plymouth October 20–22

September 28th, 2006 by Adam

Plymouth State University is collaborating with area agencies to bring a “museum on wheels” that explores the culture and heritage of the Northern Forest to Plymouth October 20 – 22. The 18-wheel truck containing the exhibition will be parked on Green Street, across from the Plymouth Senior Center throughout the three days. Hours of admission are Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Ways of the Woods is an interactive experience—part exhibit, part live performance, part demonstration—designed to build understanding and appreciation of the ever-changing relationships between people and land,” said PSU Director of Exhibitions Catherine Amidon. “Facilitating it with the Plymouth community is a way to engage people in thinking about their relationship to our local natural treasures.”

Ways of the Woods provides exhibits and programs for a diverse and multiage audience, both inside the tractor-trailer and under an attached tent.

treeInside the trailer, attendees will find “Rings of Time,” an interactive exhibit that combines historic and contemporary photos and film footage with traditional music and spoken word. There are also flat-screen video stations that play profiles of people who live, work and play in the Northern Forest, and exhibit cases that display items handmade in the region using native Northern Forest products.

“We are coordinating with the Plymouth Board of Selectmen and working with organizations such as the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, Plymouth Rotary, Plymouth Regional Senior Center and the ACA Assurance Franco-American Center, and a number of other agencies” said Thad Guldbrandsen, director of the PSU Center for Rural Partnerships. “This is a time of dramatic cultural and social change, and this exhibition and the related music, art and presentations will provide an opportunity to take stock and reflect on who we are as a community. Grandparents can share heritage with grandchildren, for example, and we can all communicate what we value about our heritage.”

The Northern Forest is home to 1.5 million people and is the largest intact forest remaining in the Eastern United States. Its 30 million acres of woodlands, lakes, rivers, wetlands, farms, hills and mountains encompass areas of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and New York. The Center was established in 1997 to help build a healthy and productive future for the Northern Forest and its people, by strengthening citizen leadership and regional collaboration.

Steve Blackmer, president and founder of the Northern Forest Center said, “The Northern Forest is one of America’s most important and rapidly changing forest regions. It would be easy to let what is special about the region slip away as we work to address current challenges and build a vibrant future. Ways of the Woods will remind people that tradition and innovation not only can coexist, but also can thrive together—as they have for generations in the Northern Forest.”

Under the attached tent are several museum-quality kiosks that explain key themes in Northern Forest history; including industry, adventure, conservation and recreation. A logger’s spiked boots, vintage skis and ski boots, and a backpack fire pump used to fight forest fires in the 1930s enhance this portion of the exhibit.

The tent also holds exhibits tailored for elementary school-aged children, and local artisans and performers will be on hand to demonstrate traditional handcrafts and perform music and dance traditional to the region. Before they leave the exhibit, visitors have the opportunity to reflect on their place in the Northern Forest and share their thoughts with future attendees.

“In order to build hope for the future of the Northern Forest, we must build pride and understanding in the hearts and minds of our youth,” says Jennifer Huntington, long-time educator and Northern Forest Center board member. “Ways of the Woods is an innovative way to excite and engage. It demonstrates the interdependence of community, culture, environment and economy.”

Mike Wilson, senior program director at the Northern Forest Center said, “Ways of the Woods focuses on the idea that the changing relationships between people and the land—past, present and future—define the character and culture of the Northern Forest region. When people come to the exhibition, they’ll have a great time learning more about the history of the region, but they’ll also be prompted to think about life in the region today and how we can work for a more prosperous and sustainable future.”

Supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ways of the Woods began touring this summer and will continue for the next three to five years, to attract attention and provoke thought about the Northern Forest way of life. Plymouth is currently the southern-most stop on the tour.

Information about specific events and activities will be forthcoming. For general information contact Catherine Amidon at the Karl Drerup Art Gallery, (603) 535-2614.

Contact: Betsy Cheney, Public Relations office: (603) 535-2276 e-mail: betsyc@plymouth.edu

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.