The state allowed museums to reopen June 1. But how many are welcoming visitors?

CLOSE

Return of the Butterflies opens at ECHO for a seven month exhibit run. Burlington Free Press

Museums shuttered because of COVID-19-related shutdowns in Vermont can reopen at limited capacity as of June 1. But will they? The Burlington Free Press checked with Vermont museums to find out if they will give culture hounds a place to visit this summer.

This story may be updated.

Bennington Museum

The southern Vermont institution best known for housing several works by Grandma Moses will reopen July 3 from 1-8 p.m. Fridays and 1-6 p.m. Saturdays-Mondays, according to the museum’s website. Face masks must be worn at all times inside the building and temperatures of each visitor will be taken. Those with temperatures over 100 degrees “will be asked to return another day,” according to the website. The gift shop reopens June 19.

–          Bennington Museum, 75 Main St., Bennington. (802) 447-1571, www.benningtonmuseum.org.

Billings Farm & Museum

“We plan to open to the general public Thursday – Monday, 10 am – 4 pm beginning June 27,” Marge Wakefield, the museum’s public-relations and community-relations coordinator, wrote in a June 4 email. Based in Woodstock, the Billings Farm & Museum notes on its website that once the space opens again, visitors will be required to wear face masks and asked to “minimize contact with touchable surfaces.”

–          Billings Farm & Museum, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock. (802) 457-2355, www.billingsfarm.org.

Birds of Vermont Museum

The Huntington museum’s 100 acres of trails are always open, and as of Wednesday the museum is as well, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. “We are limiting the number of people in the building to 12, and masks are required,” according to a June 2 email from Erin Talmage, the museum’s executive director. She said the opening coincides with the opening of this year’s art show “Borders: illusions that constrain us.”

–          Birds of Vermont Museum, 900 Sherman Hollow Road, Huntington. (802) 434-2167, www.birdsofvermont.org.

Dorset Historical Society/Bley House Museum

“The Dorset Historical Society Bley House Museum is closed to the public until further notice,” according to the website for the southern Vermont institution. “Until then, all programs, including hikes, have been cancelled.” No one from the museum responded to an email seeking additional comment.

–          Dorset Historical Society/Bley House Museum, Vermont 30 at Kent Hill Road, Dorset. (802) 867-0331, www.dorsetvthistory.org.

ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

The science and nature center on Lake Champlain in Burlington expects to have details Thursday about plans for reopening, according to a June 3 email from Erik Oliver, director of development and communications.

–          ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, 1 College St., Burlington. (802) 864-1848, www.echovermont.org.

More: ECHO Science Spotlight: Try this fun experiment about friction!

Fleming Museum of Art

“For the health and safety of the public, the Fleming Museum of Art is currently closed,” the website of the gallery at the University of Vermont reads. “Please check back for updates on when the Museum may reopen.” Museum representatives did not respond to emails seeking additional information.

–          Fleming Museum of Art, 61 Colchester Ave., Burlington. (802) 656-3131, www.uvm.edu/fleming.

Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History

“The Sheldon Museum and Archives are temporarily closed,” according to the Middlebury museum’s website. “Please check back for updates on when we will reopen.” Executive director William Brooks wrote in a June 3 email that the museum “will be making that decision in the next week or two as we examine the restrictions.”

 –  Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, 1 Park St., Middlebury. (802) 388-2117, www.henrysheldonmuseum.org.

Heritage Winooski Mill Museum

The site inside the Champlain Mill remains closed. Hopes are to reopen the gallery Aug. 1, according to a June 2 email from museum director Miriam Block.

–          Heritage Winooski Mill Museum, 20 Winooski Falls Way, Winooski. (802) 355-9937, http://www.themillmuseum.org/

Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home

Hildene was the southern Vermont home of Robert Lincoln, son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. Paula Maynard, press and group director for the site, wrote in a June 3 email that Hildene “will be open Thursday-Monday from 10:00am to 4pm, beginning on June 11.  Guests will have access to the Welcome Center/The Museum Store, gardens, grounds, and trails at a reduced admission rate. There are plans to open buildings and exhibits later in the month.”

–          Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, 1005 Hildene Road, Manchester. (800) 578-1788, www.hildene.org.

Middlebury College Museum of Art

The gallery on the college campus remains closed indefinitely. “We do not yet have confirmation of a date to reopen,” Richard Saunders, director of the museum, wrote in a June 2 email. “We will finalize our plans once the larger decision of reopening the College is announced.”

–          Middlebury College Museum of Art, Mahaney Center for the Arts, 72 Porter Field Road, Middlebury. (802) 443-5007, www.museum.middlebury.edu

Montshire Museum of Science

“In the interest of public health,” reads the website of the Connecticut River valley site, “the Montshire’s buildings, grounds, and trails are temporarily closed until further notice.” Representatives of the museum did not respond to an email seeking further information.

–          Montshire Museum of Science, 1 Montshire Road, Norwich. (802) 649-2200, www.montshire.org.

Rokeby Museum

The historic home that was once part of the Civil War-era Underground Railroad will reopen July 1 with hours from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Oct. 27. “We will be opening a special exhibit mid-July, ‘Mending Fences,’ that is applicable to our times,” museum director Catherine Brooks wrote in a June 2 email.

–          Rokeby Museum, 4334 U.S. 7, Ferrisburgh. (802) 877-3406, www.rokeby.org

Shelburne Museum

The sprawling indoor/outdoor complex that houses the eclectic collections of Electra Havemeyer Webb announced in early May that it will be closed “through the spring and summer months.”

–          Shelburne Museum, 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne. (802) 985-3346, www.shelburnemuseum.org

Southern Vermont Natural History Museum

This collection of live animals and taxidermy exhibits will reopen this weekend – likely Saturday – by appointment only, Michael Clough, the museum’s managing director, wrote in a June 2 email.

–          Southern Vermont Natural History Museum, 7599 Vermont 9, West Marlboro. (802) 464-0048, www.vermontmuseum.org

Sullivan Museum and History Center

Norwich University houses this museum, which remains closed as does the Northfield campus, according to museum director John Hart. He wrote in a June 2 email that the museum will “follow the guidance of our university task force dedicated to the safe reopening of the campus.”

–          Sullivan Museum and History Center, Norwich University, 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield. (802) 485-2000, www.norwich.edu/museum

Vermont History Center/Vermont History Museum

The Vermont Historical Society, which oversees both sites, sent a news release June 2 updating plans for each. The Howard and Alba Leahy Library at the Vermont History Center in Barre will be open by appointment only starting June 15; exhibits will remain closed until at least Sept. 1. The Vermont History Museum and Store in Montpelier will reopen July 1; hours will be from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays (closed July 4).

–          Vermont History Center, 60 Washington St., Barre. (802) 479-8500, www.vermonthistory.org/history-center/

–          Vermont History Museum, 109 State St., Pavilion Building, Montpelier. (802) 479-8500, www.vermonthistory/org/museum/

Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum

The site in Stowe will reopen June 5 with hours from noon-5 p.m. Fridays-Sundays. “Our capacity will be limited to 10 total people in the museum at one time,” Abby Blackburn Chaffee, executive director, wrote in a June 2 email. “We ask that anyone that is or feels sick, stay home. We will be practicing social distancing of 6 feet minimum and will require our visitors to do the same (with the exception of families visiting together). We strongly encourage all visitors to wear a face mask.”

–          Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum, 1 S. Main St., Stowe. (802) 253-9911, www.vtssm.com.

Zlotoff Tool Museum

“Due to health concerns resulting from the Corona virus pandemic,” reads the South Hero site’s website, “the Zlotoff Tool Museum will remain closed for the foreseeable future. You can still visit our Collection page to examine many of our tools online.”

–          Zlotoff Tool Museum, 71 U.S. 2, South Hero. www.zlotofftoolmuseum.org

Historic sites reopen

A half-dozen state historic sites will reopen in early July, according to Laura Trieschmann, state historic preservation officer. Mount Independence and the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site will open July 1. Bennington Battle Monument, Hubbardton Battlefield, Chimney Point and the Justin Morrill State Historic Site will open July 3. (802) 828-3051, www.historicsites.vermont.gov/

Contact Brent Hallenbeck at (802) 660-1844 or bhallenbeck@freepressmedia.com. Follow Brent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BrentHallenbeck.

This coverage is only possible with support from our readers. Sign up today for a subscription to the Burlington Free Press. 

Read or Share this story: https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/life/2020/06/04/vermont-vt-museums-reopen-how-many-welcoming-visitors/3134590001/