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Annual Report

2015 Impact Statement


2015 was a year to remember for the Fairbanks Museum.  From a new layout and lighting for the Museum, through Dinosaur, Butterfly and Extinct Vermont exhibits, and a Solar Installation and new Collections Facility, 2015 was momentous.  Of course, as we moved the institution forward, we continued to provide awe-inspiring experiences for students and visitors, and vital meteorological information to listeners and viewers.  Through it all, the Fairbanks Museum remains your Museum.  I hope we’ll see you often in 2016.    

Fairbanks Museum inspires wonder, curiosity and responsibility for the natural world.

What brings you to the Fairbanks Museum?

“Working with students at the Fairbanks Museum is total immersion education. Students work in a historical space in their own community and engage in their education in an authentic way. Working with the staff at Fairbanks allows my students to be students and scholars, as the education staff is engaged and in tune with student interest. The staff provides a balance of instruction and student ownership, allowing students to see themselves as stewards of education in our community.” St. Johnsbury Academy teacher

“We come with our school to learn about stars and plants and water.” (4th grade student) Every year, our educators share their passion for the natural world with over 5,000 students in grades K – 8. Students come on field trips or as part of ongoing science learning programs. They leave with inspiration and ideas.

“The Balch School nurtures a joy of learning and excitement about being outdoors.” (Balch Nature Preschool parent) Our youngest naturalists are curious about mud, rocks, bugs and clouds … we encourage them to be bold explorers of our natural world.

“Home School Days offer flexibility and incredible learning for my family.” (home school parent) Monthly Home School Days invite students and their families to make use of our natural history collections, galleries and planetarium for an alternative approach to science learning.

Investing for Now and the Future

Collections Facility

We made an investment in 2015 to ensure the safe care and protection of our treasured collections for generations to come. A new collections facility will allow us to consolidate our collections under one roof so that experts can examine, catalogue, research and maintain thousands of objects.

Solar Panels

We installed an 11kw solar array to lessen our environmental footprint and realize long-term savings.


We replaced all of 450 light fixtures in the Museum with LED’s realizing energy savings and reducing ultra-violet exposure to our collections.

Making it happen

Our exhibits and programs reflect the care and attention you give them. Your support is a direct investment in the excitement of discovery, investment in collections care, and overall awe that this Museum inspires.

2015 in numbers

  • 31,430 guests from around the world
  • 8,052 students in school classes
  • 2,566 students on field trips
  • 671 individuals contributing through memberships or annual gifts
  • 28 business sponsors


2014 Highlights from our Annual Report

Here are just a few examples of what happened in and around the Museum in 2014:

  • Stuart Comstock-Gay, President of the Vermont Community Foundation, came to the Museum on an icy January evening to wish Charlie Browne, retiring Executive Director, the very best after 37 years of inspired and inspiring commitment to the Fairbanks Museum.
  • As January’s cold endured, we traveled to Montpelier with author Calvin Trillin who filled the State House with warmth and laughter during his thought-provoking presentation, hosted by the William Eddy Lecture Series.
  • The Soucy Family Exploration Station opened in February! This installation of interactive exhibits invites you to explore our ever-changing landscape by focusing on our senses and honing observation skills.
  • The Museum’s spring Astronomy Camp launched rockets and sparked excitement during April vacation week.
  • Throughout the summer, a remarkable team of Franklin’s Guides – aged 11 to 15 – helped interpret our exhibits during the summer by taking to the air with a drone that flew over and photographed the unearthed pipes along Main Street.
  • Graceful weathervanes in the shapes of a heron and hummingbird arrived in the summer to perch on top of new banner poles in front of the Museum, part of a public arts partnership with Catamount Arts.
  • The Museum’s signature Feast with the Beasts brought together over 170 guests for a celebration that included “dirty water drinks” and the unveiling of David Macaulay’s drawing of the Museum.
  • An exhibit of David Macaulay’s sketches opened in our upstairs gallery in June.
  • David Macaulay brought smiles to nearly 400 people of all ages who came to the St. Johnsbury School to hear him talk about what inspires him, hosted by the William Eddy Lecture Series. Thanks to Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, everyone who came to this presentation went home with a David Macaulay book to keep!
  • With help from local businesses, we opened our doors on Halloween and welcomed over 600 visitors to scare the bears!
  • The annual Fairbanks Victorian Holiday Open House was sweeter than ever – our way to ring in the holiday season with friends and neighbors.

Throughout the year and in all kinds of weather, the Fairbanks Museum is here for you. Our doors are now open daily, 9 AM to 5 PM.  Stop in, say hello, let us know what you like and what you’d like to see. This is your museum.

The Fairbanks Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that relies on contributions to offer public programs, provide educational services and to maintain our historic building. The Museum's funding comes from a variety of sources. Here is an overview from our 2014 Annual Report:



Admission and Program Fees

 $   100,562


 $   150,000

Household and Business Contributions

 $   384,034

Major Donors

 $   113,025

Municipal Appropriations

 $     80,573

Museum Store

 $     55,685

School Services

 $   109,592

Weather Services

 $     62,095






Administration Expense

 $   203,257


 $   160,592

Building and Grounds

 $   127,432

Collections Care

 $     65,568

Development and Marketing

 $   105,682


 $     63,000

Museum Store

 $     56,204

School Services

 $     99,680

Weather Services

 $     95,123


 $     74,002




Net Operating Income

 $        5,026


Investment Income (net)

 $     49,621

Temporary Restricted Asset Decrease

 $    (53,038)

Permanently Restricted Asset Increase

 $     47,025


Net  Income

 $    (45,416)



 $        2,014


 $   293,446

Unrestricted Investments (+$122,363 gain)


Temporarily Restricted Investments

 $   273,731

Permanently Restricted Investments

 $   451,025

Fixed Assets, net of Depreciation


Total Assets



 $   146,380



Total Liabilities and Equity