FairBanks Museum and Planetarium

The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium is much more than Northern New England’s museum of natural history — it is a place to marvel at the wonders of our world in Vermont.  Perfect for families and visitors of all ages, the Fairbanks Museum invites you to explore your universe.

Inside our classic Victorian building, you’ll find a dazzling array of animals and artifacts, dolls and tools, shells and fossils, and much more! Take a trip through the cosmos in Vermont’s only public planetarium, and see weather forecasts in the works in our Eye on the Sky Weather Gallery. A full calendar of events, workshops, lectures and field programs invites everyone to explore the nature of our world.

 Inside, our collections include some 175,000 objects:

  • 75,000 natural science specimens (mounted birds, mammals, reptiles and fish; insects; nests and eggs; shells; fossils; rocks and minerals; herbarium)
  • 95,000 historical artifacts (tools; toys; dolls; textiles; weapons; archival photographs and documents)
  • 5,000 ethnological items representing Oceania, the Near East, Africa, Egypt, Japan and native North America.

The only public planetarium in the state of Vermont opened in 1961 and continues to offer guided tours of the cosmos every week.

Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in Vermont

Address:

1302 Main Street

St. Johnsbury, Vermont, 05819

P. 802-748-2372

W. Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium Vermont

Contact: Tara Holt

Vermont FairBanks Museum and Planetarium Hours

Summer Hours (April – October)

Monday – Saturday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sunday, 1:00 – 5:00 PM

Winter Hours (November – March)

Monday – Saturday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sunday, 1:00 – 5:00 PM

Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sunday, 1:00 – 5:00 PM

We are CLOSED on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. 

General Admission

Adults: $8.00

Senior citizens and children under 17: $6.00

Children under 5: free

Family (immediate family members only) up to 2 adults, no limit on number of children: $20.00

These local communities contribute to the Museum through municipal appropriations and all residents can enjoy free admission anytime: St. Johnsbury, Barnet, Burke, Danville, East Haven, Granby, Kirby, Lyndonville, Newark, Peacham, Sheffield, Stannard, Sutton, Walden, Waterford, Wheelock

Discount or free admission with your membership card from our affiliate organizations:

  • Association of Science and Technology Centers
  • American Association of Museums

Planetarium Presentations (50 minutes):

Saturday & Sunday, 1:30 PM throughout the year

Additional Summer Planetarium

Presentations (July – August):

Monday – Friday, 11:00 AM & 1:30 PM

Planetarium presentation: $5.00

The planetarium has room for groups up to 45 people. Please call ahead to reserve space for groups. Reserved tickets MUST be claimed at least 15 minutes before the scheduled presentation.

Wildflower Table

The Wildflower Flower Table at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium in Vermont is a living exhibit that reflects the abundance and diversity of flowers, grasses, berries, ferns and evergreens found in the Northeast Kingdom.

It has been part of the Museum since 1903, when it began as a simple arrangement of vases set out by Museum staff. With time, the Flower Table has grown to include some 400 species displayed throughout the year, in both fruit and flowering stages.

Omniglobe

The Museum’s new OmniGlobe is a 60-inch diameter sphere that allows viewers to see patterns and trends in our planet’s natural and political landscape. Study tectonic plate movement or view recent weather graphics showing systems from around the globe.

NEW: Our design team developed a graphic image of the Japanese Tsunami and its global reach, which is now visible on the OmniGlobe – take a look!

Bug Art

The Fairbanks Museum is home to the entire collection of mosiacs known as “Bug Art” created by John Hampson. Using thousand of beetles, moths and butterflies, meticulously postioned on wood and lovingly framed, his creations are a unique reflection of this artist’s vision and precision.

Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Museum invited Hélène Gillette-Woodard from the Williamstown Art Conservation Center in Massachusetts to assess the condition of our Bug Art collection. Her report details the much needed conservation work. We are seeking additional support to make sure these unique treasures are properly cared for so generations to come can enjoy them.

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Schools - Camps - Scout Groups

Vermont FairBanks Museum and Planetarium for

School – Camp – Scout Groups

Welcome! We have prepared a wondrous array of curriculum guides to help teachers and parents create activities within the Museum and beyond its walls. Our aim is to inspire curiosity and self-directed learning, so that children become life-long naturalists, always interested in the world around them.

The Museum’s learning experiences take place in our awe-inspiring galleries, state-of-the-art Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, Nature Classroom, classic learning hall and outdoor space.

For Teachers: The Museum’s Education team is ready to work with you and your school to help your students engage in active learning that excites them. Our curriculum guides are designed to meet VT State Standards. The Museum is a fabulous and memorable destination for field trips! Let us help you plan this excursion.

For Camp groups: Our Camp Days are a Summer offering of programs designed specifically for your children during the Summer — contact us to find out more!

For Boys’ and Girls’ Groups and other community organizations: Our planetarium presentations and other educational services are available for you.

 

Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium

Delve into our Solar System and beyond in our brand new, state-of-the-art Lyman Spitzer, Jr.. Planetarium! Your students will experience a journey through the cosmos in Vermont’s only public planetarium.Planetarium experiences can expose your students to the stars and constellations, our moon, the planets, even concepts like orbits and gravity.

Talk with Tara Robinson Holt, education coordinator, by calling 802-748-2372 to craft a Planetarium program that meets your students’ needs.

Educational Subjects for Groups

Are You A Citizen Scientist?

The term citizen science is gaining popularity in the media for its achievements observing changes that help scientists answer questions. But just what is citizen science? How do everyday people aid in scientific discovery and collect data to help us better understand the changing world around us? Can just anyone participate? We will answer these questions by exploring some well known historical figures and the legacy of citizen science through the ages. You will discover that YOU can be a citizen scientist and we will tackle a real science question using the scientific method.

This class is an introduction to our own citizen science program, Community of Observers, but can also stand alone.

Vermont Standards: 2.2, 3.7, 4.5

You are the Habitat!

Introducing your Microbiome!

You may know that your body is built of cells, but did you know that most of the cells on and in your body are not human! Yes, your body is an an entire habitat onto itself, teeming with multitudes of species of microscopic creatures that actually work to keep us alive.

Although some bacteria and other parasites can harm us, most of our “passengers” are highly beneficial! In this lesson, we will go on a safari into our skin and guts to find what creatures lurk there. We may find that our vision may not be the only sense we need to discover their presence!

Vermont Standards: 3.5, 3.7, 7.4, 7.11, 7.12, 7.13, 7.15

Dancing with the Planets

It is easy to take for granted some of the basic observations that we make about the sky. We see the Sun move across the sky from East to West. That is what we see, what we observe, but it is really the Earth and not the Sun that is in motion. We can’t feel the Earth moving, and there is nothing we can observe that actually tells us we are moving.

We’ll explore this challenging subject of motion in the sky, thinking about the Sun, the Moon, and the planets. Their individual movements, and the Earth’s, create a dizzying dance across the heavens. And their motions may not be what you think…

Vermont Standards: 7.12, 7.15

Other Planetarium Topics

  • American Indian Star Stories
  • Tonight’s Skies
  • The Moon
  • Mythology and the Stars

Rock On with the Rock Cycle!

Take a look around, and you will notice that rocks are everywhere! They are the most common material on earth.

Rocks come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Where do they come from? How were they formed? Why are there so many different kinds of rocks?

We will explore the Rock Cycle to learn how the three basic types of rock are formed, and explore their continuous patterns of change. Hands on activities will be used to gain an understanding of how these rocks are made and how existing rocks can turn themselves into new rocks!

VT Standards: 7.11, 7.12, 7.15

Weather Classes

At the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, we are recognized around the state for our comprehensive meteorological services.

Our staff meteorologists, the voices of the Eye on the Sky weather broadcasts, are also our weather educators.

What better source could there be for learning about the science behind weather and climate!

Introduction to Weather Instruments

What kinds of tools does a weatherperson use to measure what’s going on in the air? How do they work? Thermometers (liquid and bimetallic), anemometer, wind vane, barometer, psychrometer and rain gauge are explained and passed around for close inspection. A brief trip to the Weather Center and the Instrument Shelter closes the time.

Duration: 50 minutes, flexible for K (can include Weather Center/Instrument Shelter).

Suitable for grades K-3


Weather Center and Instrument Shelter

The title says it all! A guided view of the Northern New England Weather Center, including instruments and telecommunications equipment; then a quick trip to the Instrument Shelter for an explanation of its workings.

Weatherlore

Before computers, The Weather Channel, even the Old Farmer’s Almanac, forecasting the weather was a do-it-yourself project. And so, through hundreds of years of observing the weather, reliable signs were compiled and passed on, becoming those quaint country quips like when the cows lay down at midday, rain in on the way. Yet most, if not all of these bits of weather wisdom work. A look at the sayings, the science behind them, and a way for you to use them to forecast your own weather.

Appropriate for all ages.


How Do We Make a Forecast?

A day in the Life of a Meteorologist

An explanation of the process of making a weather forecast. We cover everything from taking local observations; through mapping regional, national, or hemispheric observations and using satellite imagery; to using computer model output. By the end your students should have a good understanding of how a meteorologist organizes his or her thoughts when faced with the task of figuring out the weather from 2 hours to 2 weeks into the future.

Best for Grade 4 & up


Weather a la Carte!

In the Weather Gallery along with the exhibits, we have a Weather Cart that can be rolled out and lessons taught on the following four topics:

Wind, Pressure, Temperature, and Moisture

These lessons could be presented one of two ways:

  • A short lesson focusing on one of four topics, with a “hands on” activity to follow, or,
  • A longer lesson focusing on one of four topics, with follow up materials provided for your class to conduct “hands-on” experiments back at school.

Family Programs

FairBanks Museum and Planetarium for

Parents and Families

Welcome! We have prepared a wondrous array of curriculum guides to help parents create activities within the Museum and beyond its walls. Our aim is to inspire curiosity and self-directed learning, so that children become life-long naturalists, always interested in the world around them.

The Museum’s learning experiences take place in our awe-inspiring galleries, state-of-the-art Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, Nature Classroom, classic learning hall and outdoor space.

Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium

Delve into our Solar System and beyond in our brand new, state-of-the-art Lyman Spitzer, Jr.. Planetarium! Your students will experience a journey through the cosmos in Vermont’s only public planetarium.Planetarium experiences can expose your students to the stars and constellations, our moon, the planets, even concepts like orbits and gravity.

 

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Author: Stuspots

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