The Fairbanks Museum is part of the world-wide creation and expansion of natural history museums during the late nineteenth century.
The original, encyclopedic collection of specimens and objects from around the world was assembled by Franklin Fairbanks in the tradition of the Kunstkammer, or Cabinet of Curiosities, which he assembled in his home in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Today, the collections in the Fairbanks Museum encompass zoology, paleontology, geology, anthropology, ethnology, and other natural sciences.
Franklin Fairbanks had a deep appreciation for natural history, and he wanted to share his love of the natural world with his community. Through his initiative and generosity, his collections and objects that were added over the years are curated and displayed in our classic Richardsonian Romanesque building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the cornerstone of St. Johnsbury's Historic Main Street District. With its fine wood interior, original display cases and dioramas, it is one of North America's few surviving natural history museums where you are fully immersed in the wonders of the Victorian era.
The full-habitat dioramas created in the late 19th century by the local taxidermist, William Everard Balch, rival anything from that period. Mentored by C.W. Graham of St. Johnsbury, he brings whimsical detail to his habitat renditions.
Our collection of specimens and objects are the finest representatives of the Fairbanks legacy, natural history during the Victorian era, and the special qualities and history of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Our goal is to continue to inspire, engage, and delight everyone who passes through the doors.
For more about the Fairbanks Museum collections, contact Dr. Henry H.C. Choong, Curator of Natural Sciences.