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  • Shelburne MuseumShelburne Museum Burlington, Vermont
    About 7 miles outside of Burlington, Vermont, the Shelburne Museum sits on 45 acres of spectacular relics and artworks that have been collected from many areas, that was begun in 1947, by Electra Havenmayer Webb. Today it houses one of the most unusual collections of American folk, fine and decorative arts in the nation. Also included are some 37 buildings that have been spread out over the acreage, and the New York Times has exclaimed that there is nothing like it in the museum universe; and the 150,000 items can attest to that. Some of the exhibits include rather mundane holdings like the quilts, early tools, weather vanes and decoys, but there are enough fabulous displays and buildings that have come here from all over the New England and New York region. There are numerous complete buildings that have been brought here, like the 1890 vintage railroad station, a round barn from Vermont, an Adirondack Lodge, lighthouse and stagecoach inn; as well as a 220 foot steamship that looks quite odd sitting drydocked on the grounds. A marvelous 1950s ranch house that is completely furnished with the styles of that period inside it is another wonderful attraction to visit and see how those folks lived, a collector's house that has been creatively constructed out of prefab metals, and other materials, plus it houses many folk art exhibits. There are visiting special displays like the Shaker designed furniture, the art of John James Audubon and African-American quilts.  Other exhibits include impressionist paintings, American paintings, quilts and textiles, folk art, decorative arts and a number of 17th to 20th century artifacts can be enjoyed. Electra was the daughter of Henry Osborne and Louise Elder Havemeyer who themselves been avid collectors of European and Asian artworks, impressionist art, and others, so that she was able to have an independent eye and passion for artifacts, art and architecture that celebrated an American world of art. When she started the museum, Electra started collecting buildings from the region so that she would have storage areas for her other collections that included a one-room schoolhouse, jail, general store, barns, meeting house, lighthouse and covered bridge. By creating Shelburne, she strove to build an educational project that was distinctly varied and alive, that is accentuated by a beautiful landscape that houses over 400 lilacs, herb and heirloom vegetable gardens, circular formal garden and perennial gardens. The folk art collection includes 50 carousel figures, 1400 wildfowl decoys and miniature carvings, 120 weathervanes, 150 trade figures and signs, and 40 animals from an early Dentzel carousel. In their circus collection, there are 600 historical posters, memorabilia and letters from P.T. Barnum, and the hand carved 4000 piece Kirk Brothers Miniature Circus. The Roy Arnold Circus parade has recreated 112 miniature attractions from the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey and Robinson circuses that sits in a 525 linear feet exhibition structure. In the textile collection, there are over 770 bed coverings that includes 500 quilts, 2800 costumes and accessories, 400 hooked and sewn rugs, 1800 samplers, laces and linens in the early household textiles collection; with the decorative arts collection containing 6650 pieces of memorabilia that includes pewter, metalwork, glass, scrimshaw, ceramics and one of the nation's finest regional collection of 18th and 19th century painted furniture. There are over 1000 dolls, with 1200 doll accessories and 27 dollhouses; with a major related publication of the doll collection that was finished in 2004. The museum houses 3200 American paintings, drawings, prints and graphics that pertain to daily living, and among the American paintings, the works of Andrew Wyeth, Church, Field, Bierstadt, Grandma Moses, Mary Cassatt, Homer, Lane, Copley, Daubigny, Hicks, Heade and Peto can be admired. The European collection contains works by Claude Monet, Corot, Manet and Degas are shown in a room that was recreated from the Webb's apartment in New York in 1930, and are the only impressionist images shown publicly in the state. The list goes on and on, just showing those interested that a full day can be spent here enjoying the wonders and marvels from days gone by and the strange inventions that happened to uplift the spirits and minds of the people coming here. 

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  • Robert Hull Fleming MuseumRobert Hull Fleming Museum Burlington, Vermont
    The Robert Hull Fleming Museum is located on the University of Vermont's grounds in Burlington, Vermont, and is the state's leading museum of anthropology and art. Opened in 1931, the world class art and visual culture now houses a marvelous collection of over 20,000 objects from around the world, as well as 9 annual special exhibitions that bring people from all over to this beautiful countryside that surprises many visitors that haven't been to the area, and especially such a wonderful cultural venue sitting between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. Artifacts from ancient Egypt, Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa can be thoroughly enjoyed in the permanent collections that grace the galleries and in the rotating collections that come here temporarily. Their African collection mostly contains sculpture from the central and west areas of Africa, that contain an 18th century Benin Queen Mother sculpture head, Mende sowo mask, Ashanti gold weights, carved wooden items from the southeastern parts of Africa and a 19th century beadworks collection. In the American collection, there are works from such greats as John James Audubon, Winslow Homer, Albert Bierstadt, Sol Lewitt, Charles Demuth, Ilya Bolotowsky, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Margaret Bourke-White, Andy Warhol, Charles Louis Heyde, Florine Stettheimer, Kara Walker, Louis Hine, Glenn Ligon, Alfred Stieglitz and Claire Van Vliet. In their ancient collection are near eastern, prehistoric Vermont objects, Egpytian, ancient art and archaeology, Mediterranean artworks that include a magnificent 3000 year old Assyrian bas-relief, that came from the palace of Assurnasirpal II, Greek pottery, over 400 Egyptian relics, Sumerian cuneiform tablets, Coptic textiles, and a late dynasty mummy and coffin from the Egyptian collections, from the 6th century BC.  The Asian collection is well noted for its Tang Dynasty tomb figures, Shang Dynasty bronze vessels, east Asian bronzes, Korean ceramics, Qing Dynasty textiles from China, and Japanese lacquerware, prints and calligraphy that includes a complete set of Hiroshige's 53 stations of the Tokaido. European artworks include 13th century illuminated manuscripts, paintings, contemporary prints, sculptures, and works on paper; that include the works of Auguste Rodin, Max Beckman, Francisco Goya, Jean-Baptiste Corot, William Hogarth, Honore Daumier, Albrecht Durer, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Hendrick Goltzius. Just reinstalled in the freshly restored James B. Petersen Gallery of Native American cultures, the museum's native American collection has over 2000 relics that date from the period around 800 BC. to the current day and represent both the north and south American cultures. 

January 11, 2011