Originally appeared in the print version of Seven Days on Nov. 23, 2011 and posted here: http://www.7dvt.com/2011shelburne-museum-shuts-down-winter-not-everythin...
In Beach Lodge, the bears are hibernating. The temperature is a chilly 45 degrees, and the windows will soon be boarded up, leaving the taxidermy Ursus in darkness. It’s creepy in here.
Outside, groundskeepers, curators, gardeners, carpenters and conservators rove the grounds in golf carts, their activity recalling a scene from Richard Scarry’s Busytown. Twenty-three gardens have already been cut back and composted; the carousel has been disassembled and stored.
Welcome to the end of the season at the Shelburne Museum, where workers have indeed been busy battening down the hatches for winter. It’s an aspect of the museum the May-to-October crowd never sees. And, in a way, that’s too bad, because the process of buttoning up 39 historic buildings over 45 sprawling acres is itself an interesting “exhibition” with history lessons.