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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
I have never taken a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh. I’d like to do that someday.
That sled looks pretty interesting, too.
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.
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. 🙂
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.