Posted in A bit of history, Earth, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, Thursday Travels, Travel, Up North, Walking & Wandering

The Shelburne Museum: The Round Barn

The Round Barn at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.

The people of wealth and power do not know what it means to take a place seriously: to think it worthy of love and study and careful work.  The Amish question “What will this do to our community?” tends toward the right answer for the world.  The only sustainable city—and this, to me, is the indispensable ideal and goal—is a city in balance with its countryside.  The real work of planet-saving will be small, humble, and humbling, and (insofar as it involves love) pleasing and rewarding.

~ Wendell Berry

Another view of the Round Barn.

One of the places I was fortunate enough to get to visit during our travels in New England was the Shelburne Museum (located in Shelburne, Vermont which is not far at all from Burlington).  It is a fascinating place.  The Shelburne Museum has over twenty gardens, over 40 buildings/structures, and is spread out over 45 acres.  It was the most unusual museum I’ve ever visited, and it’s difficult to describe.  It is, sort of, a collection of collections and some of the things collected include buildings such as one Vermont’s few remaining round barns (from East Passumpsic, Vermont, 1901), a lighthouse (Colchester Reef, Lake Champlain, 1871), a meeting house (Charlotte, Vermont, 1840), a general store (Shelburne, 1840) that includes a barbershop, a post office, and a taproom, a schoolhouse (Vergennes, Vermont, circa 1840), a stagecoach inn (Charlotte, Vermont, circa 1787), and much more.

The beginning of our walk around the grounds.  You can see the Ticonderoga (220-foot-sidewheel steamboat) to the left, barely glimpse the lighthouse in the center behind a tree, and clearly see the Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building (the big white building) to the right.  The Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial building houses furnished rooms from the New York apartment of the museum’s founder (Electra Havemeyer Webb).

I went with a friend on a very hot day.  We spent several hours there and barely scratched the surface of all there was to see.  I think that’s why tickets to the museum ($24 for adults; there are various discounts available such as one for senior citizens, one for those who are AAA members, etc.) are for two days.  You need at least two days to see it all.  We talked about going back the next day, but didn’t make it.  I’m hoping to get there again someday, possibly with one or more of my grandchildren.  M was unable to go (he was busy at a conference), and I think he would enjoy it, too.

Entering the Round Barn.

I took a bazillion pictures, and it would probably take me nearly a bazillion posts to show them all to you.  Rather than put us all through that, I’ll try to hit the highlights and save a goodly amount of photos to pair with quotes or for Silent Sunday or Wordless Wednesday posts.

Going up to the second floor of the Round Barn.

I will also spare you a long tome on the history of the museum. Here is a short version:  Electra Havemeyer Webb was the daughter of (wealthy) collectors and became a collector in her own right when she began to buy American folk art as, some say, a kind of rebellion against her parents more cultivated (Rembrandts, Manets, etc.) collections/tastes.  Many of the buildings she collected, including a covered bridge, were slated to be torn down.  There are over 150,000 objects/works housed throughout the various buildings.

There is a great article about the Shelburne Museum in the New York Times.  You can find it here, if interested.  A search for the Shelburne Museum will turn up lots of interesting stories about its founder, its history, and its collections.

Going round in the Round Barn.

I had never before seen a round barn.  I found it fascinating.  I read somewhere that round barns were situated in the landscape in such a way that each floor would be accessible from the ground.  Round barns were said to originate with the Shakers who built them that way “because the devil can’t catch you in the corners.”  There are, of course, more practical reasons.  Round barns were thought to be more efficient and a better way to house dairy cows.  Large farm equipment could be driven in and housed on the upper floor, the milking was done on the middle floor, and there were trap doors on the middle floors that allowed for the shoveling of the manure to the lower floor where wagons were kept to haul it out.

Funeral carriage.

The Round Barn at the Shelburne currently houses some horse-drawn vehicles on the (I think) the second floor.  There were quite a few sleds and sleighs (as you might expect in Vermont which is known for its winter sports!).

A sleigh.

I have never taken a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh.  I’d like to do that someday.

I can’t remember how many people this sled seats, but it looks like quite a few.

That sled looks pretty interesting, too.

Snow plow.

As you might imagine from the little I’m showing you, a lot of time can be spent looking over the collection in just one building.  It was amazing (to me) how many different types of horse-drawn vehicles there were.

Continuing around.

That’s about it for this edition of How I Spent My Summer Vacation (or what I used to call Thursday Travels; I might revert back to that eventually).  Thank you so much for stopping by and joining me in the Round Barn.  There is so much more to see there than what I’m showing you so if you happen to travel to Vermont, you might want to put the Shelburne Museum on your list of things to see.

Be good, be kind be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Going up.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  266)  I found a salt marsh mallow plant blooming in our marsh!  It’s the first one I’ve seen there.  (I usually have to walk, drive, or bike elsewhere to see and get photos of them.)  267)  A beautiful, breezy day.  268)  A square of delicious dark chocolate with salted caramel.  269)  A cup of tea to go with that dark chocolate and salted caramel.  270)  A much-needed message arriving first thing this morning.

Closing the barn door.


Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

15 thoughts on “The Shelburne Museum: The Round Barn

    1. That’s so true (about the chocolate), Merril. 🙂 It really was fascinating. I especially liked the Circus Building (which I’ll get to next). The grounds are set up like a little village with gardens interspersed throughout. The founder, Mrs. Webb, apparently saw beauty in everyday objects. It’s quite unique, I think. I wish I’d gotten to the peony garden. The peonies were blooming while we there (I think this was my 4th spring this year in which I got to see peonies blooming in different places), and the peony garden has over 700 peonies planted there. The scent when they’re blooming must be incredible.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. You really need to live close by and be a member to see this museum, I think! I almost went once, but realized I didn’t have the time to do it justice. Still haven’t made it back. It’s collection is like the Smithsonian!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right about that, Eliza. It would take a very long time to see everything there. I am glad we got to see some of it. We fit in as much as we could during the short time we were there, and would have stayed longer but the heat was fierce and many of the buildings are not air conditioned. We did take advantage of the shuttle as we made our way back to the entrance/exit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Our friends Debbie and Woody (from OCNJ) ‘s son got married at the Sherburne Museum and the Round Barn is in their wedding pix! We didn’t get to go to the wedding because it was the same weekend M and M got married so we were with you!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.