The Vermont History Center is the home of the Vermont Heritage Galleries, located in the beautiful historic Spaulding school building at 60 Washington Street in Barre.
While visiting the Vermont History Center, be sure to see the Barre firehouse weathervane on display in the main lobby. Designed especially for the 1904 fire station on South Main Street in Barre, the weathervane graced the top of the former firehouse for nearly a century. This elaborate hammered-copper architectural ornament symbolized Barre's growing prosperity as the "Granite Capital of the World."
For more information about the exhibits, please call (802) 479-8500. One admission fee gives access to both the Vermont Heritage Galleries in Barre and the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier. Adults: $5; families: $12; students, children, seniors: $3; members and children under 6: free.
Special exhibit: "Service & Sacrifice: Vermont's Civil War Generation"
Service & Sacrifice, the third exhibit at the Vermont Heritage Gallery, opened on November 11, 2012. This powerful exhibit shows how the Civil War dramatically changed the course of life in many villages throughout Vermont in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
The "Service & Sacrifice: Vermont’s Civil War Generation" exhibit features:
- The famed 150' long Andrus Civil War panorama
- A Civil War flag owned by the State of Vermont
- Stunning Civil War photographs by George Houghton
- And other astonishing artifacts!
Special exhibit: "The Emergence of the Granite City: Barre 1880 to 1940"
During the period covered by the exhibit, Barre’s population increased from 2,206 to 11,855 in less than fifteen years, and it became known as the granite center of the world. Mark Hudson, Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society, notes that, “In addition to their diverse customs and languages, many of the new residents also had political beliefs that contrasted with the natives. With immigrant populations from French-Canada, Scotland, Italy and many other European countries, Barre became a cosmopolitan city distinct from others in Vermont.”
This exhibit includes:
- Pennywhistle used to heckle “bozos,” strikebreakers, during the violent 1933 labor dispute
- Regalia worn by a member of the Scottish Clan Gordon #12
- Part of a still used for making grappa by an Italian family living in Barre’s North end
- Photographs of families and social gatherings held by various ethnic groups
- Photographs and artifacts from the various schools, including Spaulding High School and Barre Evening Granite School
Special exhibit: "Icons, Oddities and Wonders: Stories from the Vermont Historical Society’s Collections"
With this exhibit, the Vermont Historical Society will focus on artifacts that represent the best, the worst, the weirdest, and sometimes the most wonderful stories of Vermont history.
This exhibit includes:
- Rare U.S. Tax Act Stamps from the 1790s used to emboss legal documents in Vermont
- Sword of English poet Lord Byron acquired in the 1830s by Montpelier freedom fighter, abolitionist, and lawyer Jonathan Miller
- World championship wrestling belt from the 1870s and 1880s won by Bakersfield’s John McMahon