PITTSTON TWP. – This isn't your father's tourism information stand.
The Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area unveiled Tuesday a nearly $20,000 interactive exhibit in the baggage collection area of the terminal at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
It includes two touch screen kiosks, a video showing Lackawanna County attractions on a flat screen TV and a colorful hand-painted Styrofoam sculpture depicting area attractions.
We celebrate history, but we don't have to live in it. And this proves it, said Natalie Gelb, the executive director of the Scranton-based organization.
Airport officials and Lackawanna Heritage Valley leaders gathered to show off the new exhibit. Among the points of interest depicted are the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, the Everhart Museum, the Electric City Trolley, Steamtown National Historic site and the iconic Electric City illuminated sign.
The display was created by Jeff DeAngelo, a Scranton prop maker and artist.
He said he was given a list of attractions and chose ones he felt could best be used artistically in the 20-foot long display. He was pleased with the end result, which will be shown for 30 months with a lease price of $9,000.
We didn't want it to look like an advertisement but we wanted to advertise the area, DeAngelo noted.
Gelb and other officials said the airport, though in Luzerne County, seemed like the obvious place to locate the display.
This is where people come to our area and sometimes they don't know there's so much to do, Gelb said.
And it's not just tourists who could benefit. She said sometimes people who live locally don't realize how much there is to do in their own backyard.
Lackawanna County Commissioner Jim Wansacz, also one of the six members of the airport's board of directors, said many business travelers visit the area. He said that touting attractions and quality of life could help convince companies to consider the region as a place to set up shop.
First impressions are meaningful, said Corey D. O'Brien, the chairman of the airport board and a commissioner in Lackawanna County.
The kiosks allow users to explore 10 historic, cultural and tourism sites and several recreational opportunities in the region, including the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. In addition to details, contacts and links to websites, there are QR codes that users can scan with smartphones to access additional information.
And for those who like it old-school, colorful brochures of attractions are still available nearby at the information desk.