Fairbanks Museum

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Brett and I are on our way to New Hampshire for the 2013 Northeast GSA meeting, which starts on Monday. Today we stopped for a few hours in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, to visit the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium.

The Fairbanks Museum is housed in a beautiful building built in the late 1800’s (top). Inside is a single main gallery stretching nearly the length of the building:

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The style of the exhibits is consistent with the architecture. Victorian era natural history museums were often dominated by taxidermic mounts, and they packed in as many as the available space could hold:

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These are old mounts, mostly dating from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, and include some things that are no longer available due to extinction, such as the Carolina parakeet Conuropsis carolinensis and the Passenger pigeon Ectopistes migratorius:

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There was also a small paleontology display that included this eurypterid:

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Fairbanks is also a history museum, and the balcony in the main hall mostly included artifacts and artwork with connections to Vermont. There is also an interesting display of scales in the basement; Franklin Fairbanks, the museum founder, was a member of the family that founded Fairbanks Scales.

Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium is a member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), which means that you get free admission with your VMNH membership card. It’s well worth a visit if you find yourself in northern New England.

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