The White Mountains from a Hiker's Point of View
An exhibit curator must make many more decisions about what to exclude than what to include.
With this exhibit, I wanted to avoid retelling some of the usual stories about the White Mountains, from Darby Field’s ascent of Mt. Washington to grand hotels to Appalachian Mountain Club to the more recent peak-bagging pursuits of dedicated hikers. These stories can be read in many of the books used for and suggested in this exhibit — the Watermans’ work is the best place to start for a comprehensive overview geared toward the interests of hikers, but with much historical context. For the same reason, I didn’t want to feature only the most spectacular mountains. Instead, I wanted to focus on other common elements of hiking that are sometimes obscured because they are so common. A hiker can hike without needing to know what kind of rock he hikes on, or what kind of trees are before him, or whether trail he is on was cut in 1880 or 1980. But how much richer can a hike be with some natural and human history in one’s mind as he hikes? Finally, I wanted to give something of an introduction to hiking in the White Mountains to those who have not or cannot hike them.