Claude Monet, Les glaçons, (The Ice Floes), (Detail),1880. Oil on canvas, 38 1/4 x 58 1/4 in. Collection of Shelburne Museum, gift of Electra Havemeyer Webb Fund, Inc. 1972-69.2.

Finding Our Way Forward—Together

Author: Tom Denenberg

Editor’s Note: This post launches a series designed to bring Shelburne Museum and the arts to you wherever you are and offer a mini break or pensive moment. The posts are focused around four themes: The Comforts of Home; We Collect; We Create; and Larger than Life. You will hear from staff, community members, and artists each Wednesday morning. Thank you for joining us.   

One month ago, Shelburne Museum was full steam ahead preparing for exciting new exhibitions, prepping for our springtime celebration, and getting our 45acre grounds ready to be fully open. Then we changed course. 

Most of us are working from home, adapting to seeing colleagues via computer screen, and adjusting to new routines. Foremost in our minds since the coronavirus pandemic has been the health and wellbeing of our staff, their families, and our community. Like most Americans, we have wondered, “What can we do to help?” 

For us, the answer is: We can do what Shelburne Museum does bestoffer a unique experience that engages and inspires through beautiful and storied collections, buildings, and gardens. We can’t do that in person right now. But we can reach you in your homes via social media and our web site. And that is what we will do, until we can see you here again. We plan to engage you in several ways that we hope help. Here’s how: 

 #TenTwoFourBreak: fun and creative daily Facebook posts to help cope with being cooped up;  

Weblog: Wednesday blog posts written by Museum staff and artists centered on four themes: The Comforts of Home; We Collect; We Create; and Larger than Life. 

In the Brick HouseFacebook Live with Chief Curator Kory Rogers offering insightful insider tours of the Museum founder’s historic Brick House on Thursdays; 

Music from the GreenSpotify playlist featuring musicians who have performed or are scheduled to perform at Ben & Jerry’s Concerts on the Green, with a song added each Friday; 

–Educational resources for teachers, families and learners are being adapted for online learning. 

To be sure, we are in uncharted territory without visitors in our galleries, without yellow school buses emptying out gleeful children onto the grounds, or the unmistakable sound of the steamboat Ticonderoga’s whistle at 5:00 sharp, things are not normal. But our impulse to engage the community, to meet unmet needs, and to be here for you, is not new. We’re just doing it a little differently.  In the words of our founder Electra Havemeyer Webb, we forge ahead. Please join us, and we’ll see you in person soon.  

Tom Denenberg is Director of Shelburne Museum.