|McClure round barn at the Shelburne Museum.|
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SHELBURNE — The Shelburne Museum, located in the bucolic hills near Lake Champlain, is a must-see destination for lovers of American folk arts. Founded in 1947 by collector Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888-1960), this self-described “unconventional museum” contains over 150,000 works displayed in 39 buildings scattered throughout the sprawling property. Indeed, the most surprising thing about the museum is the resemblance of the grounds to a New England village.
Upon entering, take a map and wander paths to where each historic structure provides a window on the past, featuring 17th- to 20th-century artifacts, crafts, and fine art. Exhibitions include quilts and textiles, decorative arts, furniture, carriages, decoys, and some extraordinary Impressionist paintings.
When creating the museum, Webb relocated twenty 18th- and 19th-century buildings to the property, including the circa 1804 Stencil House, named for its elaborately stenciled walls and painted furniture. Visitors with children will enjoy the round barn, horseshoe barn, one-room schoolhouse, lighthouse, jail, general store, covered bridge, and the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga.
Lushly landscaped gardens include a circular formal garden, herb and heirloom vegetable gardens, perennial gardens, and over 400 lilacs. Bring a picnic and plan to spend the day. Open mid-May through the end of October.
6000 Shelburne Road, Vt., 802-985-3346, www.shelburnemuseum.org, adults $20, children ages 5-18 $10, under 5 free.