Shelburne Museum is an open-air museum of art, design, and Americana – a collection of artifacts depicting the history, geography, folklore, and heritage of the United States.
It is located in the city of Shelburne in the state of Vermont, USA, about 19 km south of Burlington. Over 150,000 works are exhibited here in 38 exhibition buildings, embedded in a beautiful park with many plants.
Impressionist and American paintings, folk art, quilts, textiles, decorative arts, furniture, carriages and many exhibits from the 17th to the 20th centuries can be viewed here.
25 exhibits can also be viewed on the outer museum grounds.
The approximately 18 hectare site is located near Lake Champlain. You will also find many differently landscaped gardens on the site, such as herb gardens, vegetable gardens and perennial gardens.
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History of the Shelburne Museum
In 1947, the Shelburne Museum was founded by Electra Havemeyer Webb. Electra Havemeyer Webb (1889–1960) was a collector of American folk art, Impressionist artifacts, European and Asian art.
She had a total of 37 historic buildings combined for an art museum and a historically-oriented open-air museum in Shelburne. Twenty buildings in New England and New York were dismantled and rebuilt on the museum grounds.
Farms, houses, barns, a one-room school, a carousel, a parish house, a lighthouse, a prison, a covered bridge, and the 220-foot steamer “ Ticonderoga ” were all built on the Shelburne Museum site. Through their diversity, the buildings reflect historic New England architecture and possible architectural styles of Vermont, such as the unusual mansard roof of the Colchester Reef Lighthouse and a very rare round barn from 1901.
The exhibition started with about 80,000 handicrafts. Here the first quilts – quilts would be exhibited. There are also over 200 carriages to see.
In 2013 the Pizzagalli Center for Arts and Education was opened with two galleries, an auditorium and classrooms. Like the Museums Shop, it is open all year round.
Shelburne Museum Collections
The core of the collection was assembled by Electra Havemeyer Webb. Mrs. Webb exchanged ideas with other great collectors, including Henry Francis du Pont, who founded the Winterthur Museum.
After Mrs. Webb’s death in 1960, the collections have evolved with an emphasis on folk art and contemporary art. Artifacts give an insight into the manual and artistic creation of the objects. As a visitor you can experience these exhibits in galleries, interactive exhibitions and demonstrations.
In addition, the Shelburne Museum’s Transportation, Agriculture, and Trade exhibits chronicle America’s industrial development from the 18th to the early 20th centuries.
Shelburne Museum enriches visitors with its art, history and culture. With approximately 150,000 objects, the Shelburne Museum is one of the largest and most diverse collections in the United States and is known for its wide selection and quality.
The Shelburne Folk Art Collection includes approximately 1,400 wildfowl and miniature carvings, signs, 120 weathervanes and 50 carousel figures. An accompanying circus collection includes 600 historical posters, letters and memorabilia by PT Barnum.
In the textile exhibition, 770 bedspreads and quilts, carpets, textiles, 2800 costumes and accessories are on display. The decorative arts collection features glass, ceramics, pewter, metalwork and painted furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries. Over 1000 dolls, dollhouses and doll accessories belong to the Shelburne Museum.
Other exhibits include American prints, paintings, drawings and graphics. Among them are American works by Bierstadt, Church, Mary Cassatt, Copley, Daubigny, Field, Heade, Hicks, Homer, Lane, Grandma Moses, Peto and Andrew Wyeth. Some European paintings, the famous Havemeyer collection and works by Corot, Degas, Manet and Claude Monet complete the exhibition.
Another highlight are over 200 horse-drawn carriages, over 1,000 agricultural implements and 5,000 tools for woodworking, carving, leatherworking, blacksmithing, weaving and spinning. 2,000 off-patent medicines and medical instruments from the 20th century are on display in a pharmacy.
Directions & Opening Hours of the Shelburne Museum
Shelburne Museum is located in the beautiful Lake Champlain Valley just 7 miles south of Burlington on Route 7. Vermont’s Shelburne Museum
is open year-round. Not all buildings are open in winter. The opening hours change according to the season. Parking is free.
Address of the Shelburne Museum attraction in Vermont
6000 Shelburne Road
Shelburne, VT 05482