WESTFIELD - Plans for the exhibits and displays for the future Grape Discovery Center in Westfield were recently reviewed at a working meeting of the Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association's Exhibits and Displays Committee with representatives of the Gecko Group.
The firm has been contracted to assist with this part of the development of the center and has considerable experience in creating authentic and positive visitor experiences for education-focused destinations.
"This was an exciting meeting," committee chairman Andrew Dufresne said. "We have been working with our consultants to develop the main theme and sub-themes of the displays, identifying targeted audience, clarifying goals and reviewing other considerations. Today we got to see some visual proposals for the center and we are excited.
Reviewing concepts for the exhibits at the future Grape Discovery Center in Westfield, from left to right, are: Mayor of Silver Creek Kurt Lindstrom; Stephanie Burdo of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau; Association Board of Director Bob Patterson, Sr.; President of the Gecko Group Ellie Byrom-Haley; John Paul Wolfe of the McClurg Museum; Gecko Group Graphic Designer Kathy Hughes; and Association Board of Director Bob Green.
"The Grape Discovery Center seeks to be an experience destination that supports and promotes the grape industry through sharing stories, engaging, educating and informing the public about all things grape," Dufresne said.
The targeted audience for the center is broad-based to include not only the heritage or cultural tourist, but also the family visitor, school groups, youth groups, tour groups and local or regional residents.
The committee has selected four themes that will be a continuous thread within all the exhibits sections as appropriate in each. The concepts of innovation, the people, yesterday and today and local and national will weave throughout the displays.
The committee is working on storylines for the displays and has identified the major subthemes it hopes to illustrate. The committee has also discussed possible interactive elements recognizing the limited space available.
"I think visitors are going to feel very welcomed to the region and pulled into the exhibit area the moment they walk through the front door of the Grape Discovery Center," Dufrense said.
A firm opening date for the center has not yet been established but the association looks towards a grand event in early summer. Progress can be followed on Facebook by searching for "Grape Discovery Center."
If interested in making a donation of artifacts, photos, or financial support to the Grape Discovery Center, contact Dufresne 386-4833 or the Grape Discovery Center, 8305 W. Main Rd., PO Box 194, Westfield, N.Y. 14787.