The Lake Placid Olympic Museum: A Great Overview of this Iconic Sporting Event

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Did you know that the small New York village of Lake Placid was the host city for two Winter Olympics?

That’s right, this quaint community in the Adirondacks hosted the world during the 1932 Winter Olympics and again for the 1980 Winter Olympics. In fact, one of the most well-known American Olympic victories occurred here when the U.S. hockey team defeated the Russians in 1980 in what has become known as the Miracle on Ice.

Wanting to learn more about the story of the two Winter Olympics held here, I took some to visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. 

The Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York
The Olympic Center in Lake Placid.

This museum is located inside the Olympic Center, which housed many of the ice events during the two Olympiads and is today home to the Olympic Regional Development Authority. Since my visit, the museum has been completely remodeled and reopened to the public in December 2022. The information in this article is correct, but the museum looks much better now.

I can’t wait to revisit it in the future to see what it’s like now and better update this article.

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is somewhat small, only occupying one large room. However, they pack a lot of great displays within the space and do a good job covering all of the notable events during two Olympiads, though there is more information on the 1980 Olympics than the one in 1932.

Displays inside the Lake Placid Olympic Museum in the Adirondacks of New York
There are great displays throughout the museum that highlight the two Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid.

I really enjoyed how the museum highlighted both the larger and the smaller sports that were in competition during the games, and the museum does a great job showcasing items related to the various sports.

For me, one of the major highlights was the display on the United States Men’s hockey team from the 1980 Winter Olympics. The display features a TV screen that plays the “Miracle on Ice” game on repeat throughout the day, giving you the chance to relive (or to see for the first time) this incredible game.

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum in New York
Take a few minutes to relive the Miracle on Ice.

Also in the display is one of the original goals from that game. Even though I wasn’t alive in 1980, I still felt a special connection to this piece, and it was really great to have a chance to see it in person.

Another highlight of the museum for me was the collection of medals from both of the Olympics held in Lake Placid. It was really neat to see a large variety of medals handed out during the games and to compare how they changed in the 48 years between the Olympiads held in Lake Placid.

Lake Placid Winter Olympic Medal on display at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum in Essex County NY
There are many Olympic medals on display throughout the museum.

The museum also features several interactive elements including the ability to virtually compete in a speed skating competition and to sit in a bobsled.

Of course, depending on your exact interests, there are a ton of great things to see here. There is a lot of great signage throughout the museum and tons of used clothing and sporting equipment from those that competed in the games. You could easily spend several hours here if you wanted to soak it all in.

Olympic medal and figure skates at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum in New York
The museum is filled with equipment and clothing used by athletes during the Olympics.

Before leaving the complex, make sure to head upstairs to take a peek inside the hockey arena that was used during the 1980 Olympics. 

This arena is still used for events throughout the year, but it’s still neat to stand in the space that was once the location of one of the greatest sports stories in history.

It’s worth noting that the arena might be closed from time to time but doesn’t require museum admission to see.

The 1980 Miracle on Ice area in Lake Placid NY
Take a few minutes to see the 1980 Olympic ice arena.

Ultimately, if you come to Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Olympic Museum should be considered a must-visit destination. In a town that has been so defined by its connection to the Olympics (and is still involved in many of the current Winter Olympic sports), this is a great spot to learn more about the history of these events.

Note: My visit to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum was hosted by the site. However, the opinions expressed are my own.

Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out the best breweries in Lake Placid, High Falls Gorge, John Brown’s Farm, and Roaring Brook Falls.

If you’re looking for a great place to stay nearby, check out Gauthiers Saranac Lake Inn.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum

Hours: Daily: 10am-5pm

Cost: Adults: $15, Children: $12


Address: 2634 Main St
Lake Placid, New York 12946


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