The Sheldon Museum, on Middlebury’s town green, serves as both a municipal archive and showcase of 19th-century small-town Vermont life.
The Shelburne Museum: Just do it. Electra Havemeyer Webb’s collection of fine and folk art may be Vermont’s greatest cultural treasure. The “gallery” experience could not be less intimidating. You can walk leisurely between the buildings, where people in period dress act as printers, blacksmiths and apothecaries. Or wander through the staterooms on the lovingly restored passenger steamer S.S. Ticonderoga. In the Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building are some of the museum’s — and the world’s — most precious paintings by Manet, Monet, Degas and Cassat.
The same Webb family that founded the Shelburne Museum gets credit for developing Shelburne Farms, created in 1886 as a model agricultural estate. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted envisioned the campus; architect Robert Robertson designed the buildings, including the massive, fairy-tale breeding, farm and coach barns. In its heyday, the 3800-acre farm had 300 employees. Today Shelburne Farms is an educational nonprofit practicing “rural land use that is environmentally, economically and culturally sustainable.” There’s also an inn that serves amazing food.
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