The Division for Historic Preservation has announced the Vermont State Historic Sites opened on a limited basis the week of July 1. The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch and the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell opened Wed., July 1. The Bennington Battle Monument in Bennington, Hubbardton Battlefield in Hubbardton, Chimney Point in Addison, and Senator Justin Morrill Homestead in Strafford opened on Fri., July 3. The President Chester A. Arthur Historic Site, Kents Corner Historic Site, and Eureka Schoolhouse Historic Site will remain closed for the 2020 season.
State-owned historic sites will operate in accordance with the governor’s “Be Smart, Stay Safe” executive order and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s guidance. Historic sites will require guests to wear masks or facial coverings in buildings and when in the presence of others outdoors. Due to social distancing requirements, some spaces will not be open to visitors; among these are the observation level of the Bennington Battle Monument and the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge. Events will be limited this year, so please check the website as part of trip planning: historicsites.vermont.gov.
Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the recreational activities available at many of the historic sites, including interpretive trails, hiking trails, and walkable gardens. Many sites also include hundreds of acres of preserved forest and farmland, architecturally and historically significant buildings, and museum collections and educational exhibits. Vermont’s Underwater Historic Preserves of Lake Champlain also opened to the diving public on July 1. The preserves are managed in partnership with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum; please see their website for guidelines and registration: lcmm.org/archaeology/vermont-underwater-historic-preserves. Taken together, these sites tell the story of our region from the first inhabitants who settled the area approximately 9,000 years ago through to early 20th-century life.
Opening day at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site will also mark the opening of this season’s special exhibit: The Roaring Twenties: Fashions, Fads, and All That Jazz. Historic photographs, period clothing and accessories, and other personal items belonging to the Coolidge family bring this uproarious decade to life and illustrate its influence on residents of the White House.
In addition, the Vermont Historical Society will have a phased re-opening of the Leahy Library in Barre and the History Museum and gift shop in Montpelier. The Howard and Alba Leahy Library opened by appointment only on June 15. Appointments can be made by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (802) 479-8509. Exhibits at the History Center will remain closed until Sept. 1 or later. The museum and store in Montpelier reopened on July 1 with a modified schedule. Visitors are welcome Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Current exhibits will be open, including Freedom and Unity, The Dames, and The Sheldon Relic Chair. Please visit their website for up-to-date information about hours, visitation, and virtual programming:
Days of operation at the Vermont state-owned historic sites have been altered for this season and additional changes are possible. For all the most up-to-date information, please visit us online at historicsites.vermont.gov, or call (802)828-3051.