Calling all history lovers! Shelburne Museum is the best place to experience Vermont’s storied past. Situated just a short drive from Burlington, the Shelburn Museum features architecture, artifacts, and even the Ticonderoga Steamboat to explore! Join us at Shelburne Museum VT as we see history through the eyes of Electra Havemeyer Webb, and how New England came to be.
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Shelburne Museum Vermont General Info
Location: 6000 Shelburne Rd, Shelburne, VT 05482
Tickets: Adult $25, Child $12 – Vermont Adult $15, Vermont Child $8
Hours: Open June 2–October 17: Wednesday–Sunday: 10:00 AM–4:00 PM
About Shelburne Museum in Vermont
Since it opened in 1949, the Shelburne Museum has been a place for both travelers and locals to learn about the great history of New England. Literally, I can remember going here on school trips as a young kid growing up in Vermont, and my father did the same before me.
The unique exhibits perfectly display the architecture of times past and show what life was like in the 19th and 20th centuries. As you walk from house to house, take in the nature, art, and small town-like setting at this remarkable museum.
5 Interesting Facts About Electra Havemeyer Webb
1. Electra’s father Henry was a 3rd generation sugar refiner. He made his fortune by expanding the family business and starting the American Sugar Refining Company in 1891.
2. Henry and Louisine Havemeyer raised Electra in New York and were avid fans of art from Asia and Europe. They were one of the earliest collectors to bring impressionist art to America.
3. Electra Havemeyer Webb founded the Shelburne Museum in 1947. It was first designed as a place just to store her family’s horse-drawn carriages!
4. With her parent’s collectors of work from abroad, Electra was more interested in American art and architecture. She also wanted to use it as a tool for education.
5. In addition to her historic carriages, she started importing different buildings from all around New England. Now you can find one-of-a-kind structures at the Shelburne Museum VT like a lighthouse, a jail, and even the Ticonderoga Steamboat!
Our Favorite Exhibits at the Shelburne Museum VT
Yes, you heard us right… Electra Havemeyer Webb transported the entire Ticonderoga Steamboat to the Shelburne Museum! The steamboat was built in 1906 and is 220 feet long. It originally ran regular routes across Lake Champlain. During both world wars, it even transported U.S. soldiers from New York to Burlington.
So you might be wondering how they got the Ticonderoga Steamboat all the way to the Shelburne Museum in Vermont! Well, they actually hauled it on special tracks laid out over two miles of terrain. It’s an incredible experience to now walk through the legendary steamboat and explore the well-preserved rooms.
Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building
Another amazing place to visit at Shelburne Museum Vermont is the Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building. This is one of the few buildings constructed on-site in 1967. The outside is built in Greek Revival-style whereas the interior resembles Electra Webb’s Park Ave apartment in New York City.
The true highlight of the building though is the works of art that hang on its walls! Here you’ll find the Shelburne Museum’s European art collection. This includes paintings from famous artists such as Manet, Degas, Monet, and Cassatt. The memorial building is an obvious ode to her parents, and it’s unreal to see this caliber of art right here in Vermont!
Colchester Reef Lighthouse
Aside from the Ticonderoga Steamboat, the other most notable structure at the Shelburne Museum is the lighthouse! The iconic building was plucked straight from Colchester Point on Lake Champlain where it marked the location of three reefs.
It was built in 1871 and run by 11 different lighthouse keepers until 1933 when it went automated. The lighthouse was moved to Shelburne in 1952 where it still stands proudly in the center of the museum grounds today.
The Round Barn
The Round Barn is the most unmistakable farming feature of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Its distinct shape serves as a reminder of both the importance of agriculture to New England and the innovative nature of its architecture over time.
In fact, this is one of only twelve round barns ever constructed in Vermont! It was built in 1901 and houses many of the most beautiful horse-drawn carriages at the museum. Also, make sure to take a look at the prints of the Vermont towns to get a glimpse of what they looked like hundreds of years ago.
Variety Unit Museum
For the most impressive collection of historical artifacts at Shelburne Museum VT, don’t miss out on the Variety Unit Museum! We were shocked when we first walked into this building at the staggering amount of different items inside.
The exhibit ranges from 18th Century Chinese porcelain bowls to old dollhouses and pipes. Get lost in the different rooms and antiques of the Variety Unit to get an idea of how people lived hundreds of years ago.
More to Explore at Shelburne Museum Vermont
General Store: This authentic Vermont country store reflects the time period from 1850 to 1900. Go back in time as you see an integral part of a local New England village.
Horseshoe Barn Annex: Like the Round Barn, this part of Shelburne Farms also holds old horse-drawn carriages. Discover the special types of stagecoaches and read the descriptive stories behind them.
Meeting House: The Charlotte Meeting House was originally built in 1840 by the Methodists of the town. The historic building had many uses over time. It served as a church, library, and even a theatre before it was moved to the Shelburne Museum in 1952.
Shaker Shed: Originally built by the Shaker community of Canterbury, New Hampshire. If you don’t know anything about the Shakers, they were a religious group prevalent throughout the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Stone Cottage: Small limestone house built in the 1840’s from just up the road in South Burlington, Vermont. A great example of family and agricultural life in this era.
Jail: Spooky 1890’s jail cells from Castleton, Vermont. The tiny rooms and jail bars will bring you inside the dark realities of prison life.
Walking Trails at Shelburne Farms
While you’re in the area, don’t forget to stop in at Shelburne Farms as well! Featuring 10 miles of walking trails, Shelburne Farms is the perfect place to explore before or after the museum.
Stroll past the different barns and gardens, and keep your eyes open for the birds and wildlife in this beautiful part of Shelburne. The North Gate Path will take you down to Saxton Point where you can get a stunning view of Lake Champlain.
Have any questions on Shelburne Museum in Vermont or want to share more of the best things to do and see? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Where to Stay in Burlington Vermont
Fun Vacation – Hotel Vermont Burlington – This rustic yet modern hotel is in the heart of downtown Burlington. Enjoy a stay close to Church Street, Lake Champlain, and all the great Vermont outdoor activities.
Lake View – Courtyard Burlington Harbor – This gorgeous Marriot is located perfectly on Cherry Street in between downtown and the lake. Take in the views of Lake Champlain, eat at the onsite restaurant, and relax by the pool during summer.
Great Location – Hilton Garden Inn Burlington Downtown – Spacious rooms and close to all the best things to do in Burlington Vermont. Also, amazing lake and mountain views!
Suites – Green Mountain Suites Hotel – Green Mountain Suites is a relaxing boutique inn situated just outside the city. Experience the Vermont country life while still being just a few minutes drive from downtown.
For more places to stay near Church Street Marketplace you can explore the latest prices here!
USA Travel Planning
Flights: We always find great flights using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld can be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic road trip!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. Book a tour of Fenway Park in Boston, skip the line at the Empire State Building in NYC, or go on a Sea Cave Kayak Tour in La Jolla California!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!