The Mount Washington Observatory Gets a New Look
Extreme changes are taking place at the Mount Washington Observatory's mountaintop museum
Summer may be just around the corner, but to all winter enthusiasts and thrill-seekers out there, have no fear. This June, the museum on the summit of Mount Washington will be brought into the 21st century, providing interactive ways for visitors to experience the wintery wonders of the tallest mountain in the Northeast.
"The museum is usually open from mid-late May to mid October, and we would welcome up to 100,000 people every year," says Scot Henley, executive director of the Mount Washington Observatory in North Conway. "So all of the old-fashioned exhibits we had became more and more of a pressing issue, with museum goers expecting a higher level of technology."
While already being the most-visited museum in the Granite State, the hopes are high for attracting even more mountain lovers everywhere this summer. The new museum will be filled with high-tech, hands-on exhibits; among the most anticipated is a snowcat simulator, a kind of virtual reality tour in which visitors can traverse up and down digital slopes. Other attractions give those who may not arrive on the best outdoor days a chance to experience the mountainous wonders through a view on panoramic monitors. In addition, there will be an exclusive look at what the weather station was like during the 1930s, with authentic equipment on display.
The 231 mph wind speed recorded on April 12, 1934, remains the highest ever observed by man and highest ever in the northern and western hemispheres of the Earth. "The actual logbook, typewriter, clothing and anemometer will be showcased to tell the story in a modern way," says Henley. Only a 253-mph wind burst recorded by an automatic weather station in western Australia stands in the world record books as higher. This came from a typhoon that hit the area on April 10, 1996.
The newly renovated Extreme Mount Washington museum is open during the summer months when Mount Washington State Park is open to the public. Admission to Extreme Mount Washington is $5, and is conveniently included in Cog Railway and Mount Washington Auto Road prices. Visit extreme.mountwashington.org more for information.