The 250th and Vermont’s Local History

Vermont 250th Anniversary

If you’ve been listening in the history community the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard the buzz about “the 250th” as it is commonly known. Most broadly, the year 2026 will mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the formation of the United States of America. For the past few years, at the national and state levels, groups have been working towards ways in which we can commemorate and reflect on these events in an inclusive and thoughtful manner that incorporates where we are today with how we think about the past.

For Vermont communities with direct ties to Revolutionary War era events, you’ve probably already figured out your 250th plans and activities. But for communities and local historical societies who don’t, you may be asking yourself why you, to put it frankly, should care. One important reason is that examining and exploring the 250th at the local history level perfectly encapsulates those dual ideals from the Revolution of independence and union. Coming together around a cultural touchpoint can showcase how we are a state and nation together, and how broader events shape our individual experiences. While looking at it from an independent community lens allows for a wider range of stories to be preserved and shared.  

At VHS we are taking an approach that integrates 250th themes into our existing work and a select number of special projects. These include: 250th themed displays for our new Research & Exhibition Gallery at the Vermont History Center (opening Fall 2024); featuring exhibits that focus on 250th related themes in our Local History Gallery for 2026; working on both print publications and online resources that explore 250th themes; and collaborating with National History Day to encourage student exploration of 250th themes at the 2026 Vermont History Day.

What are some ways you could be involved in the 250th? You can look for inspiration from the recent recipients of the 250th Community Planning Grants administered by VHS and supported by Vermont Covered. The Worcester Historical Society will be integrating a 250th focused activity into their annual arts festival. The Tunbridge Historical Society is planning a guided bus tour of historic sites around town. The Town of Pomfret’s 250th Committee is working on upgrading and creating digital resources to help better share community stories. Other supported activities will include things like educational programs, historic markers, veteran’s programs, outdoor improvements, historic interpretation, digitization projects, publications, living history programs, walking tours, exhibits, theater productions, and large-scale community events. Wow!   

Applications are still open to get support for your 250th activities through these grants. The next application deadline is July 15. You can find details and link to the application form at 

If you’re looking for more ideas and approaches for programming- AASLH just released their 250th Anniversary Program Handbook. You can download the book for free at 

In the end, the 250th offers an opportunity to connect. We hope you’ll use it to connect to your community, to VHS, to others in the state, and to the nation.

Further 250th Resources

VHS 250th Resources Page

VT 250th Anniversary Commission

AASLH 250th

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