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Carnival gets gift for Mobile Museum

Fireworks burst over the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace Saturday, Feb. 6. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

SARANAC LAKE — A former Wall Street executive and his wife have donated $20,000 to the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee to launch what the committee is calling a Mobile Museum.

“The museum will feature exhibits, artifacts and mementos regaling gala parades, elaborate floats, costumes, and sporting events,” the committee said in a press release Saturday. “The incredible ice fortresses of the past, as well as the modern-day process of building the present-day ‘people’s palace’ and highlights from more recent decades of family fun will all be celebrated. Exhibits will be rotated regularly so that each visit will bring a new and fresh experience and hopefully generate some additional revenue for village businesses throughout the year.”

The donation comes from Barrie and Deedee Wigmore, also of New York City, who have lived part-time in Saranac Lake for 50 years, according to Historic Saranac Lake’s LocalWiki website. The couple built up the Camp Rivermouth property into a 428-acre parcel between Oseetah and Kiwassa lakes known for its gardens, groomed forest and Japanese-style bridges connecting islands on Oseetah Lake.

The Canadian-born Barrie Wigmore is a retired partner with Goldman Sachs, trustee emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and author of several books on financial markets. DeeDee Wigmore is president of D. Wigmore Fine Art. They are noted collectors of art and antiques, and in 2019 they donated 88 works of art to the Met, which displayed them in a gallery named for DeeDee Wigmore.

“We are deeply grateful to Barrie and Deedee Wigmore for their extraordinary generosity and Adirondack spirit,” the Winter Carnival Committee said in a statetment. “By providing us with this boost, the legacy and tradition of the longest running Winter Carnival in the eastern U.S. will be sustained and enjoyed for generations to come. It will allow us to realize the dream of a year-round celebration of our winter gem with first time or returning visitors who may not have experienced our glorious winter months.”

Saranac Lake village Mayor Clyde Rabideau said he had known of the Wigmores but never met them until December 2020, when they met with him about raising money to support the community’s winter assets, from the Pisgah and Dewey ski centers to the Winter Carnival that has been a February staple since 1897.

They named the fund Preserve Our Winter Resources, and Rabideau made it happen through the village’s Saranac Lake Local Development Corporation.

“They asked me to organize and do it, so it was their idea from the get-go,” he said.

Since December, Rabideau said the fund has donations and pledges totaling $200,000.

He said the Mobile Museum was the Winter Carnival Committee’s idea, and he thinks it’s a great one.

“That’s going to be a money generator that will help sustain them long term,” Rabideau said.

The all-volunteer committee said it has “started the wheels turning on the project, which will begin taking shape this summer. … The group welcomes input, public donations and/or items on loan for future exhibits.”

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