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Science Annex

Science annex

Tang Science Annex

Coming soon ...  

June 30

The Tang Science Annex is under construction! 

We’re still in the early stages of the construction, but we expect activities to really take off in the coming weeks.  A temporary access ramp through the front door has been installed to keep the Museum’s main floor accessible during construction.   The construction zone in the courtyard is now fenced off, so you’ll need to walk a little farther to get to the Shippee Family Eye Care Butterfly House, but it’s definitely worth it! 

Our exhibits reveal an eye-opening world of ideas assembled under a vaulted ceiling. Intellectual curiosity – the spark that urged Franklin Fairbanks to start collecting rocks and later to create the Fairbanks Museum in 1891 – remains the guiding light of all we do today.

That quest to inspire wonder brings us to this turning point.  We need to restore, expand and update our facility, and bolster our programming so we provide the highest quality science education for generations to come. 

Tang Science Annex

Science Annex model

Take a look at the model of the Tang Science Annex on view now in our main gallery.

The Museum Trustees have approved a plan to construct a nearly $2.5 million addition that will create a 6,000 square foot, 3-story annex in the Museum's courtyard. The new space will include an elevator, making it possible for people with mobility limitations to view the balcony galleries. In addition, the Annex will house hands-on exhibits for astronomy and meteorology and new classrooms.

The Tang Science Annex will be Vermont’s first mass timber structure, constructed with an innovative and sustainable laminated timber technique. The design is a stunning compliment to the intricate woodwork of the main gallery.

In developing the Science Annex, we found an educational partner in the Community College of Vermont.  CCV’s programs in STEM education, environmental studies and early childhood education will lend themselves to endless partnership opportunities.  As Vermont’s second largest college with sites around the state, their St. Johnsbury location will move to the Science Annex in January 2022. 


This project also includes taking care of the precious building that Franklin Fairbanks gifted to this community over a century ago.  The elements have taken their toll, so with an eye toward ensuring another century for our building, we’re undertaking an extensive restoration in 2021.  You’ll see scaffolding surrounding both towers.  It’s a labor of love.

The Fairbanks Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a nationally significant building.  Because of its importance, a portion of this work will be funded by a Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service.  The Fairbanks Museum was the only Vermont grant recipient in 2020, and one of only 40 across the country.

You Can Help.

You can help us expand the delivery of inquiry-based science education long into the future by joining us as we enlarge, update and improve our galleries, classrooms and planetarium. donate today

We’re determined to provide lasting access to our vibrant programs and facilities by creating dedicated supporting funds. Creating long-term, sustainable funding is an investment in our community, our children and our future. Your generosity through current gifts and planned giving commitments ensures that the Museum will thrive long into the future.

The Inspire Campaign meets the needs of today and tomorrow while preserving the Museum's timeless character.

Contact Adam Kane for more about this project.