MUSEUM: ‘Extreme Mount Washington’ exciting new summit museum
MOUNT WASHINGTON — A must-visit on any trip to Mount Washington Valley is a trip to the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington to visit the Mount Washington Observatory's “EXTREME Mount Washington” summit museum, which opened in summer 2014.
Located within the Sherman Adams Building in the 59-acre Mount Washington State Park, and welcoming more than 100,000 visitors each year, Mount Washington Observatory's mountaintop museum is the most visited museum in the entire state of New Hampshire.
Originally created in 1973, the Mount Washington Museum has offered a look at the peak's human and natural history for four decades.
The "Extreme Mount Washington" museum offers an entirely re-imagined, interactive experience that delivers the awe and wonder of a Mount Washington winter — the mountain's most extreme season that only a small handful of the peak's 300,000 annual visitors ever get to witness.
Through hands-on, high-tech exhibits, Mount Washington Observatory presents a compelling sampling of the "World's Worst Weather" in winter to summer visitors from all over the world.
Already the most popular exhibit is the simulated snowcat machine. Guests of all ages get to sit in the cockpit and “pilot” the machine up the mountain.
A large, five-monitor display presents interactive, panoramic “clear day” views in all seasons. An exhibit depicting the 1930s Observatory features artifacts and instruments from that era, including the very anemometer that was used to measure the “Big Wind” of 231 mph of April 12, 1934.
Nearly $1 million was raised for the project through grant funding and the generous support of more than 400 gifts from individual Mount Washington Observatory members, donors, and fans.
One of the most compelling aspects of the new museum is the high-definition winter video footage captured by documentarian Tom Guilmette of Franklin, Mass. He was embedded with Observatory staff for nearly a month in winter, following the day-to-day work of Observatory meteorologists, capturing unique weather phenomena and battling the elements in the name of education. In the end, Guilmette was successful in shooting extensive, frigid, other worldly footage that will serve as the audio-visual centerpiece of Extreme Mount Washington.
For the first time ever, the growth of rime ice was captured in high definition time-lapse video, a major highlight of the project.
The summit museum is reached via chauffeured van or private car on the Mount Washington Auto Road (603-466-3988), by rail on the Mount Washington Cog Railway (800-922-8825) or by hiking on foot (Appalachian Mountain Club, 603-466-2721). Mount Washington Auto Road and Mount Washington Cog Railway patrons' admission is included in the cost of his or her Auto Road or Cog Railway ticket. Please present your ticket at the time of entry.
In addition, the Observatory operates the Weather Discovery Center (603-356-2137) in North Conway, an interactive science museum that brings the wonder of the atmosphere right to visitors' fingertips.
Explore the science of climate and weather through fun, interactive exhibits such as an air cannon, flow tank and wind room. Plus, meet and interact with the hardy observers living and working in our summit weather station through a twice daily live video link.
For weather reports, webcams, summit trips, photos and more, visit MountWashington.org.
UPDATED BY TE 5-16-15