ALLAGASH, Maine — Residents of the North Woods are no strangers to the forestry industry.
To showcase the forest’s rich cultural heritage and economic opportunities, the Northern Forest Center is bringing its mobile museum to Ashland Community Middle-High School today with its rolling exhibit “Ways of the Woods: People and the Land in the Northern Forest.”
The museum features multimedia displays housed in a mural-covered 18-wheel tractor-trailer. Outdoor displays, artifacts and children’s activities are offered to help visitors think about the ever-changing relationships between people and land across the forestland of northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.
“When you think about forest heritage, you really think about towns such as Ashland and others in the North Woods,” Mike Wilson, senior program director for NFC, said Tuesday. “We try to bring the museum to communities who have forestry in their history. We have already been to Fort Kent and Presque Isle, and we will be in Millinocket later this year.”
The Northern Forest Center is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes people to build healthy communities, economies and ecosystems by working together across the Northern Forest region.
Along with exhibits about the region’s culture and heritage, the museum will feature new content centered on emerging forest-based economic opportunities and related to scientific research. The content will range from the development of biofuels to engineered wood products, forest health and productivity, and the potential community benefits of well-planned tourism development.
Wilson said students “respond well” to the mobile museum.
“They see a reflection of experiences that they recognize,” he said Tuesday. “It is striking how many students know or are related to someone who has been in forestry or in the logging industry.”
He added that the exhibit also appeals to adults.
“People love this exhibit,” said Wilson. “It works on many levels, for adults and for children. In this economic climate, we want to build on stories of the region’s rich heritage to showcase positive opportunities related to forests, and engage people in seeing how their community, their state, is part of an economically important region.”
Bob Hennessey, principal at Ashland Community Middle-High School, said the school is excited about the exhibit.
“It is a great opportunity for our students to learn more about the region they live in,” he said.
The complete 2009 tour schedule and updates are available at www.northernforest.org. Any school or organization interested in hosting “Ways of the Woods” in 2010 should contact tour manager Carolyn Graney at 824-8263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.