Planning for Grape Discovery Center exhibits progressing

WESTFIELD – Plans for the exhibits and displays for the future Grape Discovery Center in Westfield were reviewed at a working meeting of the Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association’s Exhibits and Displays Committee this past week 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.

Andrew Dufresne, Chairman of the Committee, said, “This was an exciting meeting. 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.”

“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 added.

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/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,” Dufresne noted.

A firm opening date for the center has not yet been established but the association looks toward an early summer 2013 grand event. Progress can be followed on Facebook

If interested in making a donation of artifacts, photos, or financial support to the Grape Discovery Center, contact Andrew Dufresne, treasurer, 386-4833 or the Grape Discovery Center, 8305 W. Main Road, PO Box 194, Westfield 14787. Telephone 326-2003.