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August 31, 2012

'Raging Rivers' captures devastation

ELIZABETHTOWN — About 1,000 photographs were submitted for an exhibit called “Raging Rivers” at the Adirondack History Center Museum here.

No huge surprise, after Tropical Storm Irene and the extensive flooding in spring 2011.

“My board started planning (’Raging Rivers’) this past winter and wanted to link the present-day events with the past,” said Museum Director Margaret Gibbs, “and to let the public know that what had been an intense moment in recent history has happened before.”

Most of the images are from recent floods. The Program Committee narrowed the number to around 40 by considering each image’s impact, location and quality. 

“The committee looked for photos that resonated,” Gibbs said. “It was very difficult to make the final selection.”

The exhibit, which continues through Oct. 8, also features flood debris from the Land of Make Believe in Upper Jay, personal testimonials, photographs and videos of roaring streams and rivers. 

Many who visited the exhibit had experienced the recent ravages of nature. 

“It seems to emotionally affect everyone who sees ‘Raging Rivers’ but especially those who have gone through the flooding,” Gibbs said.

Among the viewers were supervisors from two of the hardest-hit towns — Randy Douglas of Jay and Bill Ferebee of Keene — as well as Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward. 

“I think this was the first opportunity for them to step back, as they were personally so involved with the events, and realize in an objective way what happened,” Gibbs said. 

“The sense of community is a theme that is shown throughout the exhibit, which I feel is hugely important.”

Throughout the summer, as part of the 2012 Elizabeth H.W. Lawrence Summer Lecture Series “Adirondack Rivers: A Mind of Their Own,” experts in the fields of environmental history, geology, ecology, engineering and government have brought forth their perspectives on the flooding and storms.

Adirondack Harper Martha Gallagher was affected by last year’s events, and she decided to give a benefit concert at the museum, held last night, after viewing the “Raging Rivers” exhibit.

The museum is located on Court Street (Routes 9 and 9N), one block south of the blinking light in Elizabethtown. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on Thursdays until Oct. 8.

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