VHS Statement on the Coronavirus

Update 6/16/2020

Phased re-openings of the Leahy Library in Barre and the History Museum and gift shop in Montpelier following Gov. Phil Scott’s re-opening plan for libraries, museums, and galleries are planned.

The Howard and Alba Leahy Library is now open by appointment-only. Appointments can be made by email: library@vermonthistory.org?or phone: 802-479-8509. Exhibits at the History Center in Barre will remain closed until September 1 or later. 

The Museum and store in Montpelier will re-open on July 1 with modified hours. Visitors are welcome Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm. https://vermonthistory.org/museum/ will be open, including Freedom and Unity, The Dames, and The Sheldon Relic Chair. The Museum will be closed on Saturday, July 4, in observation of Independence Day. 

Visitor guidelines and requirements are made in conjunction with mandates and recommendations from the State of Vermont and are subject to change. 

Update 5/20/2020

As Vermont gradually reopens, VHS is working on plans to open the Research Library and Museum to the public. At this time, we plan to open the Library on June 15th by advance appointment only. Alongside the State Historic Sites, we plan to reopen the Vermont History Museum on July 1 with some limited hours. These plans are contingent on evolving state orders and mandates and may be amended. Requirements for public visitors in our spaces will also be provided based on applicable state mandates/recommendations for health & safety. 

We have enjoyed "seeing" everyone these past months in the virtual realm and will continue to provide online resources and programs, especially over the summer. No in-person programs or events will be scheduled before September. 

For local historical societies and museums looking for guidance, please visit our COVID resource page https://vermonthistory.org/lhs-covid

Thank you to all for your continued support and patience. We look forward to seeing you all when it is safe to do so.

Update 4/14/2020

"Awoke at 7:00 sick, sick, sick. Didn’t get up or try to. Had a high fever an awful headache every minute all day and was sick to my stomach also. . . Greased cloths with Inflamacene all day and wrapped around throat and chest and held a bottle of hot water at throat most of the time.”   

Though this passage could have been written yesterday, Dorman Kent recorded these words 102 years ago during the height of the 1918 Influenza epidemic in Vermont.  Kent’s detailed journals of life in turn-of-the-century Montpelier give us a unique look at Vermont in a previous time of crisis. The value of this resource, amongst so many others, has been proven as researchers, students, and local and national media attempt to make sense of our current situation.    

Culturally not a talkative bunch, Vermonters have otherwise done a remarkable job recording the stories of their lives and the lives of those around them utilizing journals, diaries, artwork, photographs, and more. Since 1838, Vermont Historical Society has collected and preserved this varied material, documenting Vermont for a better understanding of past, present, and future.  
As Vermonters navigate this new and unfamiliar world of restricted movement, social distancing, and remote learning as well as working while supporting family, friends, and neighbors through anxiety and uncertainty, VHS strives to preserve this time for future generations.     

Dorman Kent’s journals give us insight into Vermont’s past. In 2020 our access to tools for recording and sharing our experiences exceeds what Dorman Kent could have envisioned in 1918. Through the Vermont Historical Society’s COVID-19 Archive: Images and Stories from Vermont initiative and digital collecting tool, we aim to document Vermont’s response to this crisis in the most thorough way possible.  In order to complete this task, we need your help! Please “think like a historian” and save those images, journals, poems, and artwork for the benefit of future generations. Our online tool gives you an opportunity to upload your stories to the Vermont Historical Society Archive, making it available to the public immediately and researchers in years to come.  
Please stay safe, stay connected, and stay engaged. 
Best Regards, 
Steve Perkins, Executive Director 


UPDATE 3/16/20

Dear Vermont Historical Society Community, 
With the health and safety of our entire community in mind, the Vermont Historical Society will close to the public as of March 17.  As previously communicated, all special events, classes, and tours in the immediate future have been cancelled or moved online. 
I encourage you to explore our digital offerings - be it a live broadcast of a Third Thursday lecture via our Facebook page, listening to our enthralling Before Your Time podcast, viewing the extensive archive of At This Place in History TV programs, or exploring our Library Catalog and image galleries.  VHS staff is excited to add to these opportunities over the coming weeks, so please check back often. 
I know that many Vermont students have worked very hard on their Vermont History Day projects and looked forward to the daylong competition and celebration on April 4th.  Rather than cancel the entire program, we are administering a Virtual Competition with planned in-person celebration later in the year.  More information can be found on the Vermont History Day page of our website. 
Please check this website regularly for updates on the reopening of our facilities and return to normal programming. 
Be well and stay healthy. 
Best Regards, 
Steve Perkins 
Executive Director 

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