Vermont museums & galleries serve interests from art to early technology
Vermont life and the work of its people are exhibited in historic homes, old grist mills, charming museums and galleries. Learn about the foundations of modern industry, 19th and 20th century folk and fine art, maritime history and the artifacts of daily life through Vermont's history. Norman Rockwell is highlighted in two locations, including a display of his work from his years living Arlington. There are even museums to skiing and fly fishing in VT. Browse the state’s museums on a tour of cozy B&Bs or mountain resorts.
Vermont Folklife Center
88 Main Street
Middlebury, VT, 05753
The Vermont Folklife Center preserves and presents the folk arts and cultural traditions of Vermont through exhibits, media, publication and educational projects. The center has made preservation of the spoken word the core of its endeavors, and its archive now comprises more than 3,800 taped interviews, which have been transcribed and electronically indexed. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Information; http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/
American Museum of Fly Fishing
Manchester, VT, 05254
The American Museum of Fly Fishing, home to the world’s largest collection of angling art and angling-related items, brings the history of fly fishing alive for anglers and others. The museum contains an impressive exhibit gallery space, a library and reading room, a museum store, and other resources. The exhibit’s opening section contains an illustrated timeline, which takes the visitor from Aelian’s comments on fly fishing in 200 A.D. to the developments and issues surrounding the sport today.
Cost: Adults, $5; children over age 10, $3.
Hours: Year-round, Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Black River Academy Museum
14 High Street
Ludlow, VT, 05149
The three-story academy building, which once housed the Academy (Calvin Coolidge's alma mater), is now a historical museum for the town of Ludlow. There are academy memorabilia, 19th-century furnishings, costumes, tools, farm implements, a Finnish exhibit, Coolidge memorabilia, and a textile school offering courses in weaving, spinning and quilt making. Hours: June-Columbus Day, Tuesday–Saturday, 1–4 p.m.; winter hours by appointment.
Chaffee Center for the Visual Arts
16 South Main Street (Route 7)
Rutland, VT, 05701
The Chaffee Art Center represents more than 200 artists working in virtually every medium from painting, sculpture, and photography to ceramics, printmaking, and fine furniture. Housed in a Victorian mansion. A gift shop is open on the premises.
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, noon-5 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday
Vermont Historical Society Museum
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT, 05602
Headquarters of the state historical society, the museum offers exhibits and programs revolving around Vermont's history and historical figures.
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $5; seniors, students, children, $3; families, $12.
Southern Vermont Natural History Museum
Marlboro, VT, 05344
Bring your curiosity about Vermont's native wildlife to this museum on Hogback Mountain. Six hundred specimens of hundreds of New England bird and mammal species are here for your perusal, along with minerals, wildflowers, live birds of prey. fish, and reptiles. You can do hiking and mountain biking next to the museum; access to state and national forests is nearby. Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; weekends 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Open daily, year-round. Cost: : Adults, $5; children, $2; seniors, $3. Information: www.vermontmuseum.org
Morse Farm Sugarhouse and Museum
East Montpelier, VT, 05651
Visitors are welcome to tours the sugar house and taste the maple, at no charge. Film and other displays in a theater in a real woodshed, nature trail, country store, and museum of Vermont farm life. Throughout the grounds are carved folklife characters created by Burr Morse.
Hours: Year-round, daily, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Southern Vermont Arts Center
Manchester, VT, 05254
The Elizabeth de C. Wilson Museum, is a secure repository and display space for the Arts Center’s permanent collection, now approaching 800 pieces, of 19th and 20th century works, including the world’s largest collection of works by Luigi Lucioni, and a venue in which to host major national and international traveling exhibitions.
Admission: Adults, $8; students, $3.
Hours: Year-round, Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Saint Albans Historical Museum
Church and Bishop Streets
St. Albans, VT, 05478
The museum building is the former Franklin County Grammar School. The three-story Renaissance revival style structure was completed in 1861 and was used for public education until 1969. Museum features a military room, railroad room, civil war exhibit, and local exhibits.
Hours: May 18-October 16, Tuesday through Friday, 1-4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Admission: Adults,$5; children age 6 to 14, $2.
Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History
1 Park Street
Middlebury, VT, 05753
One of Vermont's premier collections of furniture, art, textiles, tools and other artifacts displayed in an 1829 brick Federal style marble merchant's home. Extensive archival collections in the Stewart-Swift Research Center. Changing art and history exhibits in the Cerf gallery. Museum Shop, gardens, public programs and special events year round. Hours are Spring, Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Summer and Fall schedule also includes Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission fee is charged. Information: www.henrysheldonmuseum.org/
Old Stone House Museum
109 Old Stone House Road
Brownington, VT, 05860
The Old Stone House, built as a school dormitory in 1834-36, now houses 25 rooms of exhibits focusing on 19th century life in northern Vermont. The collection includes furniture, textiles, photographs, pottery, folk and fine art, and many of the tools and utensils of daily life.
Season: May 15-October 15, Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Hours: Call for hours of operation. Admission is by guided tour only. There is no tour schedule; when a visitor arrives, a tour guide will begin.
Admission: Adults, $8; students, $5.
TW Wood Gallery and Arts Center
46 Barre Street
Montpelier, VT, 05602
The gallery maintains a continuous display of the paintings of Thomas Waterman Wood. The gallery shares a building with the Monteverdi Music School and the River Rock School. Exhibitions displaying the work of regional contemporary artists and craftsmen. Hurs: Tuesday-Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Information: www.twwoodgallery.org
Norman Rockwell Exhibition
Route 7A and Sugar Shack Lane
Arlington, VT, 05250
Display of Norman Rockwell’s artistry, featuring work he did while living in Arlington from 1939 to 1953. There are Saturday Evening Post covers, illustrations, prints, and gift shop in the former 19th-century church. In mid-May there is an annual reunion of the townspeople who posed as Rockwell’s models.
Hours: Call for hours of operation
New England Maple Museum
Rutland, VT, 05763
Visitors to this museum will learn all about the manufacture of Vermont maple syrup. Exhibits include demonstrations of sap collecting, candy-making, and syrup making. A slide show and tastings are included, and a gift shop is open on the premises.
Hours: May 23-October 31, daily, 9-5 p.m.; November 1-December 23, daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; January & February, closed; mid-March-May 22, daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Echo at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
1 College Street
Burlington, VT, 05401
Discover 60 species of fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles, over 100 hands-on experiences, traveling exhibits, and the Awesome Forces Theater. Live animal feedings. The 2.2-acre site also includes the Lake Champlain Navy Memorial, Eclectic Gift Shop, and seasonal café.
Cost: Adults over age 18, $12.50; seniors over age 60 and students, $10.50; children age 3-17, $9.50.
Hours: Year- round, daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Montshire Museum of Science
One Montshire Road
Norwich, VT, 05055
This award-winning, hands-on museum offers more than 125 of exhibits indoors and out, relating to the natural and physical sciences, ecology, and technology. The building is located on 110-acres next to the Connecticut River, and the Museum’s outdoor environment is a large part of the visitor experience, including a network of walking trails and trailside exhibits. Two-acre Science Park features water exhibits from early May to mid-October. Food service is available in the Hughes Pavilion July and August. Hours: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, (closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day). Admission: One day pass is $14 for adults and $11 for children age 2–17. Free for members and children under the age of 2. Two-day passes are available. Information: www.montshire.org
Vermont Marble Museum
62 Main Street
Proctor, VT, 05765
One of the world's largest displays of marble features historic exhibits, sculpting demonstrations, carvings of U.S. presidents. A gift shop and movie theater are also on site.
Hours: Summer season, daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Adults, $7; seniors, $5; teens, $4.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
4472 Basin Harbor Road
Vergennes, VT, 05491
Four acres of exhibits, shipwrecks nautical archaology, antique boats and more. Explore the vibrant history of the Champlain Valley through its military, commercial and regional periods. Climb aboard the 54' replica gunboat Philadelphia II. Twelve exhibit buildings, collections, working forge, boat building courses and workshops, replica gunboat, shipwrecks, nautical archaeology center, antique boats, boat livery, visitor center and museum store, field study, outreach, summer programs.
Hours: Late May to mid-October, daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Adults, $10; seniors, $9; students age 5-17, $6.
Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
10 Vernon Street
Brattleboro, VT, 05301
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is a small, on-collecting museum housed in a historic train station. Compelling new exhibits by regional and internationally acclaimed artists are shown each season.
Hours: Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Adult, $8; seniors, $6; student, $4.
Vermont Ski Museum
One South Main Street at The Perkins Building
Brandon, VT, 05672
This museum contains exhibits that focus on the history of skiing in Vermont.
Hours: Daily except Tuesday, noon-5 p.m.
Admission: Suggested donation is $3 per person or $5 per family.
Adams Old Stone Grist Mill Museum
Mill Street Under-the-Hill
Bellows Falls, VT, 05101
This historic museum features 19th century milling equipment, farm tools and machinery. The structure houses much of its original equipment, including all the grain elevators and storage bins. Implements from the Vermont Farm Machinery Company are also stored in the building, as well as household articles, antique signs, and hand tools used by various craftsmen that were there when the business closed in the early 1960s, and the original sleigh for the Mill, as well as the family sleigh, all belonging to the Adams Family.
Hours: Memorial Day to Columbus Day, Saturday and Sunday and by appointment.
Norman Rockwell Museum of Vermont
Route 4 East
Rutland, VT, 05701
A comprehensive and chronological display covering the entire span and diversity of Rockwell's career. The collection shows the development of Rockwell as a commercial illustrator and reflecting the political, economic and cultural history of the united Sates in the first three quarters of this century. Collection dates from 1911 until his death in 1978. Gift shop and gallery, in-house matting and custom framing.
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium
1302 Main Street
St. Johnsbury, VT, 05819
Natural science collection of 160,000 objects housed in a landmark Victorian building. The historical collections contain examples of 19th-century agricultural, industrial, and household life. The natural history collection houses New England mammals and birds, rocks and minerals, shells, butterflies, insects, bird nests and egg sets, and hummingbirds. Exhibits on astronomy and rural history.
Admission: Adults, $6; seniors and children age 5-17, $5; family, $18; planetarium show, $5.
Hours: Year-round, Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m. Call for planetarium show times.
Birds of Vermont Museum
900 Sherman Hollow Road
Exhibits feature carvings of over 450 species of birds, including an archaeopteryx and other extinct and endangered species. There is a wild bird observation area, as well as nature trails, carving demonstrations and a gift shop.
Cost: Adults, $6; seniors, $5; children age 3-17, $3; family, $15.
Hours: May 1-October 31, daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; in winter by appointment
U.S. Route 7 - P.O. Box 10
Shelburne, VT, 05482
This super-cool museum on the edge of Lake Champlain is filled with unusual attractions that are sure to entertain every person in the family. Kids and parents will love the authentic paddlewheel steamboat Ticonderoga, which was a workhourse of passenger and cargo transportation on the lake for decades in the 19th century. Shelburne Museum is one of the nation’s most eclectic museums of art, Americana, and design, displaying 150,000 objects on 45 acres in 25 historic New England buildings. There's even a lighthouse. A full day of family fun waits here, May through October.