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Annual Report

1701 people gathered for an astronomy lesson to set a new Guinness World Record in St. Johnsbury on August 10, 2018.

2018 Impact Report

With your help, we’re bringing our mission to “inspire wonder, curiosity and responsibility for the natural world” to life.  In 2018, we made investments in our buildings, collections, displays and programs, all with the goal to spark a passion for natural sciences.

In 2018, your contributions advance the Fairbanks Museum as a thriving educational and cultural center that inspires amazement and creativity.

Here’s a glimpse at what we did to create a passion for learning and exploration. 

Our campus is dedicated to natural science, and we’re excited to lead the way in a commitment to renewable energy. We purchased 60kW of offsite solar production to align our energy consumption with production.  We’re also working to reduce the carbon footprint of our heating systems.  Our Balch Nature School and McGuire Center buildings now feature cold-climate heat pumps.

Science education fires us up.  We moved swiftly from concept to reality to establish a new STEM Lab with support from the Argosy Foundation, Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, and many private donors. This new partnership with the New Hampshire Academy of Sciences features state-of-the-art equipment so that students can participate in real scientific research.

It’s our honor and responsibility to take care of our collections. Their maintenance received a boost with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to conduct a Facility and Collections Assessment – the recommendations from this assessment helped us prioritize our collections care. Support from the Stockman Family Foundation helped us conserve our Birchbark Canoe in 2018.

The William Eddy Lecture Series continued to challenge habits of thinking when we hosted Somali author Abdi Nor Iftin, whose book, Call Me American, chronicles his journey from war-torn Mogadishu through refugee camps to New England.

Your support keeps us going, and your guidance steers our course.

Thank you for the many ways you inspire curiosity, spark fresh ideas, and always keep us striving to discover what’s next.

Adam Kane, Executive Director

Ed Vilandrie, Chair, Board of Directors

Reports like this need numbers, and here’s what we’re proud of this year:

Counting Stars at our Saint J Subaru Stargazing Party:

  • 1,701 people gathered for an evening of astronomy fun to set a new Guinness World Record!
  • 35:07.95 minutes was the exact length of the astronomy lesson delivered by educator Bobby Farlice-Rubio
  • 80 volunteers kept time, greeted guests, counted participants, cleaned up, and made this event a community effort.
  • 2 turnstiles recorded every person who entered the North Church green.
  • Infinite: our thanks to every participant, volunteer, sponsor and friend who made this dream a reality!

Branching Out with New Exhibits

Our Soucy Family Exploration Station has 10 interactive stations! We love hearing the pop of the bottle launcher and the giggles that come with launching paper flyers. We’ve noticed quiet concentration around the building station, where imagination and experimentation are key.

A “shocking” electricity exhibit from Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute buzzed and whirred and clanged to life with 16 hands-on displays focused on fundamentals of electric currents, charges, and transmission.

Franklin Fairbanks Award recipient Richard W. Brown celebrated his book, “The Last of the Hill Farms” with an exhibit of 23 stunning photos of northern New England farms.

We dedicated a new display to taxidermy, highlighting the work of William Balch and the art of capturing life-like animal mounts with the tools available in the 19th Century.

All 7 native turtles of Vermont are featured in an alcove dedicated to the species and their adaptations.

Our galleries are now interpreted with audio-tours featuring over 100 recordings that delve into the history, natural science, and hidden secrets of our collections … plus a Quebecquois French introduction to the Museum!

Great Programs Continue to Grow

The Balch Nature School, our nature-based preschool, had another superb year as we expanded the horizons of our youngest naturalists.

The Observation Beehive and the Shippee Family Eye Car Butterfly House buzzed and fluttered with excitement for a second year.  They’ve become a not-to-miss experience. 

School programs have been the Museum’s pride and joy from the start.  In 2018, we saw 10,400 students for classes on 60+ topics.

2018 Financial Operation (Unaudited)

Total Operating Revenues


Total Operating Expenses


Income from Investments


Restricted Contributions


Temporarily Restricted Contributions


Net Surplus (Deficit)


Assets (12/31/2018)

Unrestricted Funds


Temporarily Restricted Funds


Restricted Funds


Go to this Sway

2017 Impact Report

2016 Impact Report

2015 Impact Report

2014 Annual Report