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Annual Report

2016 Impact Statement

What an extraordinary year for the Fairbanks Museum. 

The Museum grew through the addition of two buildings, allowing us to accommodate more guests and students, work together smoothly, and preserve our treasured collections for generations to come. It’s an incredible amount of change in just a year. While all of this was happening, we still delivered top-notch programs, engaged students in hands-on learning, and welcomed visitors.

In 2016, we continued to see positive trends in our admissions with 30,000 visitors from around the globe.  Our membership base is growing, and this is the bedrock of our sustainability. Your support keeps us going.

As a banner year recedes into the past, we are hard at work making sure this year is just as incredible.  Whether it’s in the live native butterfly house or viewing the traveling insect exhibit from the Montreal Insectarium, we can’t wait to see you at the Fairbanks Museum in 2017.

Thank you,

Ed Vilandrie, Board Chair

Adam Kane, Executive Director

2016 Highlights

  • Our William Eddy Lecture Series hosted two outstanding speakers. Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins filled Fuller Hall at St. Johnsbury Academy on a steamy summer day full of inspired poetry and conversation. John Abele, founder of Boston Scientific, presented his fascinating quest for his father’s ship, which was lost during World War II off the Alaskan coast. Although we lost a dear friend, William Eddy’s wisdom remains the guiding light of this series.
  • We partnered with the Northeast Kingdom Astronomy Foundation to launch a Governor’s Institute Vermont Astronomy Camp at Lyndon State College. This inaugural year drew 25 high school students for a week-long immersion in deep space.
  • Your museum welcomed over 1,400 creatures, ghouls, and characters of all ages during St. Johnsbury’s Halloween Parade.
  • Our Victorian Holiday Open House was part of the community-wide celebration of St. Johnsbury’s turn-of-the-century architecture and traditions.

In the past year, we focused on building – both expanding our base and a consolidating collections. What we have now is a campus! It meets our current needs and allows us to work more effectively as we deliver programs, provide services, develop exhibits, and create new ways for you to explore our natural world with you!


The youngest naturalists were delighted to embark on their exploration our natural world in the Balch Nature Preschool’s bright new home – a fully-equipped early childhood learning center.

Our team of scientists and naturalists with a passion for teaching inspired over 13,000 students in grades K – 8 with hands-on science education programs. The Fairbanks Museum has been a teaching institution since it was founded, over 125 years ago.

Eye on the Sky meteorologists Mark Breen, Lawrence Hayes, and Steve Maleski moved out of a cramped basement studio to a new space that allows them to keep an eye on the sky while recording for Vermont Public Radio and other stations in our state-of-the-art recording booth.

We finally finished a multi-year process of reviewing our vast collections in storage. With lots of volunteer help (and more than a little good fortune), we carefully relocated each artifact into our new climate-controlled collections facility, accomplishing the dream we’ve had for years to bring all of the objects in our care under one roof. This process allows us to rotate our collections for display and maintain them for years to come.

Franklin’s Guides are museum ambassadors, aged 10 – 16, who provide fresh interpretations of our collections during the summer. We welcomed 16 of these promising students in June for 8 weeks of mentored research and discovery of the natural world

Our Feast with the Beasts featured fresh flavors from local farms prepared by 5 local catering kitchens welcomed over 170 guests for an evening of fun and food, celebrating in one of Vermont’s true treasures.

We were honored to present the Franklin Fairbanks Award to Governor Madeleine May Kunin recognizing her political and personal accomplishments that continue to influence Vermonters. She spoke from under our great moose head about her personal connections to the Museum and the Northeast Kingdom.

A special exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution opened our eyes to what lies beneath the surface. “X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out,” presented the intricacies of fish anatomy and evolution and an intersection of science and art through graceful images. Local businesses and lead donors brought this stunning exhibit to the Museum.

Mounted butterflies and moths from the Glanz family became part of the Museum’s permanent collection and were displayed in our balcony gallery throughout the year.

A new installation that recognizes the importance of William E. Balch’s nature photography was installed. In addition to being the Museum’s main taxidermist and an accomplished naturalist, Balch had an exquisite eye and captured the graceful blooms of northern New England’s rare orchids.

Our Wildflower Table boasted over 90 different varieties of local blooms during peak season. This living display has expanded to include evergreens during the winter months.

We’re working together – we mean literally working side by side in new offices that allow us to be more effective and efficient – to keep your museum lively! Our new McGuire Center is home to administrative offices – it’s where you’ll find Adam Kane, executive director, as well as the people who keep our books in order and operations running smoothly. Our campus has expanded, but we’re managing all of our programs, exhibits, and services with the same staffing levels.

More than 8,300 visitors toured the cosmos in our Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium – Vermont’s only public planetarium. We’ve increased the programming in this space to include short presentations for younger audiences in addition to in-depth astronomy presentations, and visitation increased by 11% over 2015.

Income and Expense Statement (unaudited)

Administration  $             33,729
Building  $                   299
Development  $          211,202
Exhibits  $               3,000
Programs  $             24,104
School  $          124,589
Visitor  $          252,751
Weather  $             67,505
Project overhead  $          180,951
Reserve support  $             80,000
   $          978,130
Administration  $          167,691
Building  $          172,692
Collections  $             82,968
Development  $          121,941
Exhibits  $             46,850
Programs  $             50,083
School  $          160,845
Visitor  $          157,193
Weather  $             90,114
Income from Investments  $          (67,447)
   $          982,931
Net surplus (deficit) for 2016  $             (4,801)

2015 Impact Statement

2014 Annual Report