Scenes from the Fairbanks Museum

Thomas Slatin Fairbanks Museum February 2023

In early February, on a cloudy, chilly Monday, Thomas and I made our way through the winding roads of Vermont to visit the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury. It’s a hidden gem of a museum, known only to Thomas because she had visited it nearly twenty years ago. It’s known best by those living nearby and attendees of the nearby Vermont Community College. Thanks to websites such as Atlas Obscura, it’s finally becoming better known to public, after being there since 1891!

Surrounded by the verdant hues of the trees and the crispness of the air, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation building inside of me. As we finally arrived, and we stepped out of the truck, I gazed up at the 1890’s stone building, feeling a sense of awe wash over me. The building itself is a work of art with a grandeur that spoke of a bygone era. Cleary the founders of the museum spared no expense in creating a space that would not only house their collections, but also inspire wonder and awe in all who entered.

As we made our way inside, I was struck by the sheer breadth of the museum’s collections. From fossils and minerals to taxidermy animals and ancient artifacts, the Fairbanks Museum holds a treasure trove of knowledge and history. Each exhibit Thomas and I visited was like stepping into a different world and time. Each display was a reflection of the best in human curiosity, and the remarkable state of the preservation and still lives captivated my senses.

Thomas Slatin Fairbanks Museum February 2023
Thomas Slatin at the Fairbanks Museum, February 2023

One moment, I found myself ogling dazzling gemstones, each one more beautiful than the last. The next, I would stare in wonder at a towering moose or brown bear, preserved with such care and attention to detail that it almost seemed as though the creature was still alive.

What truly set the Fairbanks Museum apart in my eyes was the passion and dedication clearly evident in every single aspect of the museum. The staff was particularly friendly and were more than happy to answer any questions. But Thomas and I preferred to quietly and independently explore the museum for ourselves, letting our wonder and curiosity alone fuel our experience.

While Thomas and I did get to see everything the museum had to offer, unfortunately I wasn’t feeling particularly well. So for the last few exhibits on the second floor, I left most of the exploration to Thomas. I wanted to see it all, since it’s a two and a half hour trip each way from our home in Southwestern Vermont. Fortunately, many of the pictures I took with my Google Pixel came out well, so our time was well spent.

Here are Tom’s selected photos from the Fairbanks Museum that day.

The Fairbanks Museum exceeded all my expectations, and I’ll carry the memories of my visit with me for years to come. My visit left me swept up in a newfound appreciation and love for natural history and the ancient achievements of a more innocent form of humanity. It was a place truly embodying the beauty and wonder of the world, both natural and manmade, and I felt honored to be able to step inside its hallowed halls. Thomas and I plan to visit again when they finally open their new Science Annex, which hopefully will be completed sometime in 2023 or 2024.

Related: Scenes from The Museum of Everyday Life | Scenes from the National Toy Train Museum

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.

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