Skip to Content

Annual Report

2017 Impact Report

Shippee Family Eyecare Butterfly House at the Fairbanks Museum

Orange Spice cateripillars in our Shippee Family Eyecare Butterfly House, which welcomed visitors from June through September.


What a great year for the Fairbanks Museum! The Museum saw visitation grow to over 40,000 as we used our new campus to expand programs and exhibits, and, ultimately, our impact. Here is a quick review of our proudest achievements:

  • Native butterflies thrived in our Shippee Family Eyecare Butterfly House delighting thousands of guests.
  • Our observation beehive offered a glimpse into the complex workings of a colony.
  • “Creepy Crawlies” invited us into rarely seen spaces where nocturnal Arthropods rule.
  • "Allies and Invaders," as part of the Eddy Lecture Series, offered a fresh approach to familiar and foreign insects led by forestry experts and Dartmouth professors.
  • Sonam Wangchuk’s Eddy Lecture presented an uplifting message of innovation amidst adversity, inviting us to reimagine agriculture and education.
  • Our 2017 Franklin Fairbanks Award honored artist and author David Macaulay for his transcendent books that make the myst
  • erious mechanisms of today’s world easier to understand.
  • School programs at the Museum and in the fields, forests, and wetlands in St. Johnsbury, Danville, and beyond touched nearly 10,000 students.
  • The Great American Eclipse brought over 1000 people to our front lawn for an incredible block party!
  • More than 5,000 people of all ages took a journey to the cosmos in our Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium
  • Our Moose, Hummingbird and Woodpecker exhibits were refreshed, and we installed "Balancing Science and Wonder," a timeline that details our history and pays tribute to the spirits of teachers, curators, directors and others whose presence 
  • is still felt in our halls.
  • New interactive science displays were added to the Soucy Family Exploration Station.
  • Rich audio tours, including one in Quebecois French, were developed to accompany your Museum visit.
  • Our existing 23kW of solar power was boosted with the purchase of 60kW in the Solaflect Fairbanks Solar Park. We now create as much electricity as we use!

We’re able to engage and inspire because 750 people made gifts to the Museum and 27 businesses sponsored programs or exhibits with contributions or in-kind support to the Museum in 2017. 

Campus Vision becomes RealityFairbanks Museum and Planetarium campus

Over the past 3 years, opportunities to rework our administrative, teaching, exhibit, and collecting spaces opened, and we jumped. We now own a block in St. Johnsbury that includes four buildings (totaling 35,000 square feet) giving us the infrastructure to increase our impact and efficiency … and have some fun. All the while, we stay true to the timeless legacy of Franklin and Frances Fairbanks and their vision of a grand museum that inspires awe and fosters curiosity about our natural world.

Here’s a story to celebrate! To create the Fairbanks Museum campus, we raised $937,459 and invested $894,596!

Sources of support:

  • $488,146 – Lead Donors led the way with investments that are already paying off. We’re deeply grateful for major gifts from William D. McGuire, Phil and Peg Soucy, Dover Ford and family, Ed and Marty Vilandrie, and Anne and Art Brooks.
  • $351,178 – Specific projects were accomplished with Federal and State grants and tax credit from the US Department of Agriculture, Northern Borders Regional Commission, and Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.
  • $48,510 – Gifts from individuals made the dream come true.
  • $49,625 –A. D. Henderson and Bay & Paul Foundations awarded essential grants.

How we invested in our community:

  • $197,199 – McGuire Center: We acted swiftly to accept a donation of the former “Sunset Home,” now our McGuire Center, where our administrative, educational and Eye on the Sky weather offices and a state-of-the-art conference room are located.
  • $271,085 – Balch Nature School: The house which used to contain our administrative offices underwent extensive renovations to transform it into the new home for the Balch Nature School, summer Discovery Camps and intern housing.   
  • $219,887 – Collections Facility: We purchased and renovated a former duplex to be our Collections Facility.  Treasures tucked away for decades are now stored in a controlled and secure building, making it easy to research, repair, and display artifacts.
  • $193,410 – Solar Parking: We created easy off-street parking for our guests and installed 11kW solar panels to power our exhibits.
  • $13,015 – Eye on the Sky: Our signature Eye on the Sky forecasts are now produced from bright office with views of the sky!

2017 Financial Operation (Unaudited)

Total Operating Revenues


Total Operating Expenses


Income from Investments


Net Income


Reserve support


Net Surplus (Deficit)


Assets (12/31/2017)

Unrestricted Funds


Temporarily Restricted Funds


Endowment Funds


2017 Impact Statement

2016 Impact Statement

2015 Impact Statement

2014 Annual Report