CARLISLE, PA (July 15, 2009) - The first Appalachian hiking museum in the country will be opening soon at the Old Grist Mill on the grounds of Pine Grove Furnace State Park. The Appalachian Trail Museum is expected to open its doors on National Trails Day, June 5, 2010.
The 200-year-old grist mill is a historic location that is conveniently located near the midpoint of the Appalachian Trail. Situated next to two popular hiking stops, the Pine Grove General Store, where it is tradition to stop and eat a half gallon of ice cream, and the Ironmasters Hostel.
The opening exhibit at the museum is scheduled to feature the Earl Shaffer Shelter and artifacts from other early hikers including Grandma Gatewood and an exhibit by Cesar Becerra. Also planned is a children's discovery area to introduce children to the trail and outdoor activities. The museum will also include and indoor and outdoor story telling center to encourage visitors to share hiking experiences.
Another highlight to the new museum will be a photo project on computer display that will compile more than 12,000 thru-hiker pictures. This will include a website where the photos will be accessible. This project is scheduled to be completed this summer and can be reached at the ATC website, www.appalachiantrail.org.
At first, the museum will operate on weekends in the spring and fall, and five afternoons per week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This schedule is intended to match current park visitation patterns. The museum society is looking for volunteers to staff the building and others to do programs such as talks, nature walks and demonstrations of outdoor skills with an emphasis on programming for children. The museum society is continuing to collect artifacts. More information is available at the museum's website, www.atmuseum.org and firstname.lastname@example.org.