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Our funding spurs local economies and is directly invested in our communities. Most of the individuals and firms we hire are engaged in the local economy. This funding has helped us create 3 Gateway Visitor Centers, 13 Heritage Centers, 8 Pocket Parks, 35 Kiosks, 40 Interpretive Signs, 9 books, 6 PassagePort Itineraries, and more!
These projects are efforts led by Lakes to Locks Passage to steward our historic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources:
To foster stewardship of this landscape, the Lakes to Locks Passage Heritage Center Program builds a network of community organizations, museums, and libraries along the corridor to bring a seamless interpretive experience based on a shared heritage. The program offers an authentic visitor experience, providing a window to the local communities, their stories, and culture.
Through an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant, the Essex County Historical Society worked with Lakes to Locks Passage and the Champlain Valley Heritage Network to develop Heritage Center Sustainability Training for skills and capacity building. The result was the initiation of a three-pronged approach to resource stewardship: operations and management; programs, exhibits, and events; and Heritage Center Ambassadors. In 2014, a follow-up survey of participating organizations showed many positive responses from the groups in the ways they had incorporated the trainings into their operations. Trainings helped with strategic planning for their organization and elevated their partnerships with the community. Responses demonstrated that collaboration is an essential ingredient for keeping museums open and alive—and there is a strong need to continue partnership-building activities between museums. The result was the guide, A Toolkit for Cultivating Volunteers & Staff into Ambassadors, which we developed as one part of the three-pronged approach to develop a strong program for supporting Heritage Centers.
We wanted to offer a way for paddlers to explore all of New York’s Lake Champlain shoreline—so we showcased it in our Lake Champlain Blueway Trail, a recreational water path that extends from Rouses Point south to Whitehall. Our guide includes more than 90 points of interest—such as launch sites, parks, wildlife viewing, historic sites, museums, and campgrounds. The trail is organized into descriptive 16 segments, each intended to be enjoyed as separate day trips.
Our Waterways of War guidebook trilogy directs visitors to explore the forts, battlefields, historic sites, and museums of three influential wars in the region: The French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. All three fought over control of the water. Controlling the strategic triangle of connecting waterways meant control of North America. The St. Lawrence and the Mohawk rivers provided access to the heart of the continent from the Atlantic Ocean. The Hudson River-Lake George-Lake Champlain waterway linked the principal French and British trading centers—Montreal and Quebec—with Albany and New York City. All three Waterways of War guidebooks, as well as a full list of our books and other guides, are available at our store for purchase at here.
One of our current projects celebrates the Champlain Canal as part of the 200th anniversary of the Erie-Champlain Canal system with a multi-media project featuring the culture, traditions, and ingenuity of the people who work and live in the Champlain Canal region: Lock by Lock: Why You Need to Know About the Champlain Canal. It will create a unique identity and brand for the Champlain Canal to inspire people to explore and celebrate the canal communities and their cultural assets. The canal extends 60 miles through Washington, Saratoga, and Rensselaer Counties, connecting the Hudson River at Waterford to the southern end of Lake Champlain at Whitehall. As part of our planning we held numerous public roundtables and workshops in canal communities. Each featured a presentation, information sharing session, networking opportunities, questions and answers. The events helped bring together museum professionals, historical societies, archivists, local historians, and community members. Through these sessions we discovered compelling stories, as well as local art and museum collections, that illustrate how the canal allowed people to travel, spread ideas, and spur the growth of communities. Yet the assets of the Champlain Canal are largely unknown. We want to showcase just how the Champlain Canal is distinct—and why it’s worth exploring in its own right. We are currently working on an audio tour of the Champlain Canal region. We also plan to produce a multi-media exhibit for the Champlain Canal Visitor Center in Schuylerville that provides visitors an immersive experience of life on a canal boat. Lastly, we will present an online art gallery for the Art of the Champlain Canal. A feature of the online exhibit will allow people to upload their own images to the gallery.
Lakes to Locks has been an invaluable asset to the Bolton Historical Museum in so many ways—grant applications, technology installations, professional development, and overall advice and support. We look forward to many collaborative years to come – Jaclyn Andersen, Executive Director, Bolton Historical Museum