Vermont Museums Explore Rocks, Organs and Everyday Items

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Vermont Museums Explore Rocks, Organs, Birds and Everyday Items

Vermont museums are gearing up for the 2024 season with new exhibits highlighting mining and minerals, birds, New England culture, Vermont firsts, organs, history and the notion of stains.

Read on to learn about summer and fall exhibits at eight Vermont museums across the state.


-The Museum of Everyday Life is a self-service museum in Glover.

Museum of Everyday Life in Glover

The Museum of Everyday Life in Glover will open a new exhibit, Stains, later this summer (recent flooding across the region has postponed the exhibit’s July opening).

Stains can appear anywhere—on rented tuxedo shirts, teeth or someone’s reputation. The desire to be free from stains has fueled an entire universe of stain-removal products and processes. The museum will display a collection from the community, ranging from personal artifacts to art.

The museum’s current exhibit, The Wheel, is now open.

The Museum of Everyday Life, 3482 Dry Pond Rd., Glover;; This is a self-service museum open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Turn on the lights when you enter and off when you leave. Donations are accepted at the door. The space is not heated, so wear a coat if it’s cold.

Vermont museums

-Shelburne Museum opens for the 2024 season on May 11. Courtesy of Shelburne Museum.

Shelburne Museum

Founded in 1947 by Electra Havemeyer Webb, the Shelburne Museum includes houses, barns, a meeting house, a one-room schoolhouse, a lighthouse, a jail, a general store, a covered bridge and the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga. The museum features a variety of exhibits in 2024, including New England Now: Strange States from May 11-Oct. 20.

The psyche and the surreal have long fascinated New England artists, like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Stephen King. In the New England Now exhibit, 12 multidisciplinary artists highlight mythology, environmentalism, the ideals of beauty, transformation, and gender and cultural identity.

The museum opens for the season on May 11, 2024.

Shelburne Museum, 6000 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne; Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission $8-$25, kids under 5 admitted free.


-Vesuvianite, a mineral from Vermont’s Lowell quarry. Collected by Richard Ransom, circa 1998-2000. Collection of Kenneth Carlsen. Photo by Jeff Scovil / Courtesy of Bennington Museum 

Bennington Museum

Vermont is the only state in the union with three official state rocks: granite, marble and slate. Bennington Museum’s new Vermont Rocks! exhibition explores the economic and cultural significance of mining and minerals to Vermont’s identity. It also examines the environmental and human health impacts of the mining industry.

See photographs, archival materials and mineral specimens, including a fire orange grossular garnet from the Belvidere Mountain Quarries in Lowell and Eden.

The exhibit runs June 20 to Nov. 10, 2024. The museum is open for the season. 

Bennington Museum, 75 Main St., Bennington;; Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission $15, kids 17 and under admitted for free.


-The Birds of Vermont Museum features beautiful bird carvings and walking trails. 

Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington

The Birds of Vermont Museum features lifelike bird carvings of over 200 species by master carver Bob Spear. The museum’s new community art exhibit, the Power of Perspective,
explores art that speaks to both humans’ and birds’ perspectives and experiences.

Make time to explore the museum’s walking trails, open from dawn to dusk.

The museum is open for the 2024 season.

Birds of Vermont Museum, 900 Sherman Hollow Road, Huntington;; Open Wednesday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Admission $4.50-$9.

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-From 1793 to 1961, Rokeby was home to four generations of Robinsons, a family of Quakers, farmers, abolitionists, artists and authors. Courtesy of Rokeby Museum.

Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburg

The Rokeby Museum opens for the season with Seeking Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Legacy of an Abolitionist Family. Explore the history and ongoing legacy of enslavement in the United States and the complicated story of the Robinson family as they went from enslavers in earlier generations to abolitionists in the 19th century. 

Rokeby Museum presents a variety of events over the summer, including Music with the Museum May 30 at the Ferrisburgh Community Center; Sheep and Wool Day June 15; and free museum day on Juneteenth.

The museum opens for the season on May 25, 2024.

Rokeby Museum, 4334 Route 7, Ferrisburgh; Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May-October. Admission $10-$12, kids under 6 admitted free.

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The former Estey Organ Company in Brattleboro. Photo by Joshua Carnes. Courtesy of  Brattleboro Historical Society. 

The Estey Organ Museum in Brattleboro

The Estey Organ Museum showcases the history and heritage of the Estey Organ Company, makers of reed organs, pump organs, melodeons and pipe organs.

During its heyday, the company was producing 700 instruments per month. It continued manufacturing organs through two world wars and the Great Depression. In 1960, the company (then rebranded as Estey Electronics, Inc.) closed its Brattleboro location and moved production to California. Estey Organ Co. produced over half a million organs over 109 years.

Land on the hill behind the factory was made available to employees to build their homes. The area became known as Esteyville. In 2002, the Brattleboro Historical Society opened the Estey Organ Museum on the premises of the old factory.

In September, the museum will host EsteyFest’24, a multi-day event by the International Reed Organ Society to showcase on-going contributions to reed organ history and preservation, and to promote musical relevance and continued use of reed organs.

The museum opens for the season on May 18, 2024.

The Estey Organ Museum, 108 Birge Street in Brattleboro,; Open Saturdays between May 18-Oct. 19, 2024, from 2-4 p.m. A donation of $5 is requested for non-members.


-The Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury opened in 1884. Courtesy of the Henry Sheldon Museum.

Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History in Middlebury

The Henry Sheldon Museum, the oldest community-based museum in the country, has welcomed visitors and researchers since 1884. The museum opens for the season with Patent Pending: Ingenuity and Innovation in Vermont.

On display from May 11 to Nov. 19, 2024, the exhibition features many patents, ideas and inspirational “firsts” that have come out of Vermont, including the clothespin, a fishing spoon lure and sports bra. Others include globally significant innovations like the first electric motor the Global Positions System (GPS).

The museum opens for the season on May 11, 2024.

Henry Sheldon Museum, One Park St. Middlebury; Open Wednesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission $5-$10, youth 18 and under admitted free.

old stone house museum

-The Old Stone House Museum tells the story of Alexander Twilight, the first African-American college graduate and U.S. state legislator.

Old Stone Museum and Historic Village in Brownington

The Old Stone House Museum and Historic Village tells the story of Alexander Twilight, the first African-American college graduate and state legislator in the United States. He built the museum’s Old Stone House, which he called Athenian Hall.

Inside the museum’s 30 rooms are more than 75,000 objects—including furniture, paintings, tools, textiles, and folk art—that tell the story of Orleans County. In addition to the Old Stone House, the museum includes a collection of historic buildings from the 19th century.

The season opens with Strong Ties, Forgotten Bonds. It tells the story of William Barstow Strong of Brownington who became president of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. A second exhibit on display is titled Cultivating Life in Nineteenth Century Brownington.

The museum opens for the season on May 18, 2024.

The Old Stone House Museum and Historic Village, 109 Old Stone House Road, Brownington; Open Wednesday- Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission $5-$10, kids under 5 admitted free. To go inside the Old Stone House and other historic buildings, you must book a tour in-person on arrival or online before you visit.

Which Vermont museums do you plan on visiting this year?

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