Visiting Shelburne Museum in Vermont

Activities and sights in Vermont aren’t limited to going on road trips, sampling maple syrup, leaf peeping and seeing covered bridges. The state also has its share of fascinating museums and historic sites. The Shelburne Museum is both a museum and a historic site and is one of the top things to do in Vermont.

Visiting Shelburne Museum Vermont: Cottage and Garden
Cottage and Garden

Shelburne Museum Vermont was founded in 1947 by a woman named Electra Havemeyer Webb, the daughter of two famous art collectors. When she founded the museum, she had already established a huge collection of American folk art. While her parents’ passion was Asian and European art, Electra was obsessed with all things American: art, architecture and artefacts. She eventually even began collecting entire buildings. Now, the Shelburne Museum houses nearly forty old buildings from around New England and New York. Inside those buildings you can see astonishingly large collections of the most random stuff.

Visiting Shelburne Museum Vermont

This eclectic museum is located a few miles south of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, on the shore of beautiful Lake Champlain.  It features collections of strange homemade household tools, old guns, heads of deer and moose, antique artefacts and so on. By visiting Shelburne Museum in Vermont  you will be overwhelmed by a massive amount of Americana. It’s a truly unique museum. And kind of weird, too, I must say.

Visiting Shelburne Museum Vermont: Horse-Drawn Carriage
Horse-Drawn Carriage

To give you an impression of the randomness that you can expect when visiting Shelburne Museum Historic Site in Vermont, I can say that there is a collection of 400 dolls from all around the world, 120 weathervanes, more than 250 horse-drawn carriages, many hundreds of duck decoys and a 3,500-piece miniature circus.

Some of the buildings on site are a covered bridge, horseshoe barn, round barn, a railroad station, school house and the historic paddle steamer ‘Ticonderoga’ that used to transport people across Lake Champlain. The open-air museum is meant to represent an old New England village, but in reality it feels like just a random collection of old buildings. Beautiful buildings, though, don’t get me wrong. And the museum does show what a typical New England church looked like, for example, or how a blacksmith would go about his day.

Visiting Shelburne Museum Vermont: Round Barn
Round Barn

There’s no denying that the amount of artefacts is unique and that visiting Shelburne Museum Vermont does give you an impression of the day-to-day life of common people in old New England. It doesn’t really matter if everything looks completely random; it probably is in the first place.

The Shelburne Museum in Vermont shows the beauty of the ordinary and that’s more than enough!

About Bram


Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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