Traditional Arts in Upstate New York. Traditional Arts of Upstate New York
53 Main Street
Canton, NY 13617
(315) 386-4289

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TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, presents the next Personal Collection Series display, “Guideboat Paddles and More from the Personal Collection of Ted Comstock, Saranac Lake,” opening Saturday, July 8, 2017. The display will be on view at The TAUNY Center through August 19, 2017. The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Guide Boat Realty, LLC.


Ted Comstock, Saranac Lake, NY, has been interested in the Adirondack region for most of his life. He was a curator at the (then named) Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY, in the 1970s. Ted is a lifelong student of the region’s history, artifacts, and publications. He established and operated Wildwood Enterprises in Old Forge, NY, from 1979-1991, a shop where he specialized in regional books, prints, paintings, early photographs, vintage wooden boats, and antiques.


Ted has a great respect for finely crafted items, especially ones that are functional and designed in response to the specific circumstances in which they will be used. At the top of Ted’s list is the Adirondack guideboat: “It was designed by a topographical imperative — all those water highways — a remarkably efficient tool. Today, it is known around the world. These boats perfectly answered the question of how to navigate on and between Adirondack waters; and they are so much fun to row.”


For this display, Ted will exhibit a collection of full-size vintage guideboat and canoe paddles made in the Adirondacks at different times and places, and related items, such as a souvenir paddle blank from Parsons Brothers in Old Forge. The display will also feature supporting illustrative materials. Ted Comstock describes his interest in guideboat design, history, and craftsmanship in the following way, “We live in a plastic world. There is so much pressure to forget about heritage and history. People need to remember how remarkable North Country craftsmen were, and are. At the core of our region’s past are those designers and builders of wooden rowing and paddling craft.”


In 2017 at the TAUNY Center, we are showcasing personal collections from individuals around our region. Each collection has a special connection to the North Country; most of the items were originally produced or utilized here. These collections represent the diversity of interests in our region along with the deep-rooted history of folk culture over the past century or more. Each item holds intrinsic value for these collectors and their families, and we at TAUNY are deeply grateful to be able to display these items for the benefit of the public.


The TAUNY Center is located at 53 Main Street, Downtown Canton, NY. TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people understand and appreciate the folk traditions and local culture of everyday life—present and past—in the North Country. To do so, TAUNY seeks to research and preserve a record of diverse groups, customs and traditions; to recognize and empower traditional arts and artists; to identify and promote regional identity; and to provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn about folklore and culture. More information is available at tauny.org.



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Photo: The next TAUNY Personal Collection Series display, “Guideboat Paddles and More from the Personal Collection of Ted Comstock, Saranac Lake,” will feature full-size vintage guideboat and canoe paddles made in the Adirondacks and supporting illustrative materials like this catalogue from the collection of Ted Comstock.



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