Exhibit on coastline, climate change to open
“Rising Tides,” opening Sept. 29, will split focus between photographs and artifacts examining the past and present of Fairfield’s shores with what the town may be faced with in the years to come, including sea level rise and weather pattern changes.
“We see the exhibit as a way to look at the past of Fairfield’s relationship with the coastline as a jumping off point for talking about the future,” Library Director Elizabeth Rose said. “Understanding that with climate change, there’s already changes underway that people need to be aware of, how their communities are preparing to respond and adapt.”
The exhibition will be a rare instance of the history museum directly addressing the future in its display, she said.
The exhibit will be hosted in two galleries. The first will focus on the history of the coast, including photos of people at the beach from the 1900s, old bathing suits and artifacts related to shipping and maritime commerce in the 19th century. The gallery will also host a representation of a salt marsh with taxidermied birds.
In the second gallery, the focus will be on the coastline’s future. One highlight, Rose said, is that the museum will project maps showing various projections of sea level rise and storm scenarios against a 3D-printed map of the Fairfield area. The gallery will also have a model of the tide gates the town uses to regulate water flow.
“Rising Tide” kicks off with the Museum After Dark Exhibit Opening from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29. The free event will include an informal talk with town representatives, including Director of Public Works Joseph Michelangelo and Conservation Director Brian Carey.
The following Sunday, Oct. 2, the museum will host a free community opening from noon until 3 p.m. where visitors will be able to learn about sustainable energy. Throughout October, the museum will also run sailing events and wetland walking tours in conjunction with “Rising Tides.”
Executive Director Michael Jehle said the exhibition and programming aim to further informed dialogue and learning about coastline concerns.
“The museum’s core mission is to help people understand historical context for important issues that we address as a community and issues of climate change and coastal readiness are very important and timely issues for our community,” he said.
“Rising Tides” will be open until Feb. 28. Admission will be $5 for the general public, $3 for students and senior citizens and free for members and kids five and under.