Vermont History Expo 2012

    Improve listing Presented by

Vermont in the Civil War

June 16 & 17, 2012
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Tunbridge Fairgrounds
Tunbridge, Vermont

At the Vermont History Expo, a collection of 150+ local historical societies, museums, and heritage organizations meets every other year to create a fresh picture of Vermont history with exhibits, music, family activities, music, food, presentations, performances, and lots more!

Special this year: The Constitution Brass Quintet of Vermont will perform in a free concert
at dusk
at the fireside of the Civil War Hemlocks on Saturday night, June 16th.
Please join us at the campfire in the Tunbridge Fairgrounds for a sing-along with the soldiers and other reenactors!

THEME for 2012: Vermont in the Civil War


  • 150 Local Historical Society, Museum & Heritage Attraction Exhibits

  • Genealogy Resource & Archive Center

  • Ongoing Musical Performances in Two Venues

  • Author Lectures/Book-Signings

  • Historical Presentations 

  • Genealogy Presentations

  • Heirloom Animals: Demonstrations and Breed Presentations

  • Hands-on-History Demonstrations

  • The Little Dig: Hands-On Field Archaeology with the Vermont Archaeological Society

  • Traditional Craft Demonstrations

  • Tunbridge Fair Log Cabin Museum, Late 18th to Early 20th Century Collection

  • Living History Encampments: Revolutionary, Civil & Korean Wars

  • Special Exhibit on Common Crackers

  • Viewing of 19th Century One Room Schoolhouse

  • Working 19th Century Blacksmith & Print Shops

  • Antique Farm Equipment Exhibits

  • Sponsor Exhibits

  • Vermont Historical Society Museum Store Annex

  • Food Vendors

  • History-on-PARADE TWO DAYS!: Saturday, June 16 and Sunday June 17, at 1:00 pm

  • Parade Preparation Craft Activities: Saturday, June 16 & Sunday June 17, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

  • Live Auction: Sunday only, June 17, at 2:00 pm

Vermont History Expo 2012: History Exhibits

In Vermont's 251 towns and cities, local history is kept alive by small bands of organized volunteers—the membership of Vermont's 195 local historical societies. At the invitation of the Vermont Historical Society, the collective efforts of 150 local historical societies, museums & cultural heritage attractions, conservation & preservation organizations and associations from every corner of the state, are showcased at this years Vermont History Expo. Using artifacts, documents, and photographs from their collections, these groups create distinctive exhibits that "tell an important story about the people, places, and events that shaped their community." They are invited to participate in the theme, this year being, Vermont in the Civil War or to create their own independent exhibit. Check back often for updates!

Local Historical Society Exhibits

Bakersfield—Bakersfield Soldiers of the Civil War
The Bakersfield Historical Society has some interesting items in the collection including a soldier's sword, a letter from a soldier to his wife, portraits, and a list of soldiers with their birth dates, service information, as well as date and location of burial.  Gravestone rubbings, and photos of soldiers homes will be on exhibit as well.

Barnard Historical Society—Barnard Writers

Barnet Historical Society—Barnet Boys in the Civil War:  Before and After
Barnet's men volunteered to serve in the Union Army to the degree that the draft was not necessary to provide the town's share of soldiers.  In letters home, soldiers referred to themselves as "the boys".  The exhibit will attempt to identify all who served from Barnet, describe the families and location of their homes before and after the war using census, town records, diaries, letters, and newspaper reports.

Barre Historical Society

Bellows Falls Historical Society

Bennington Historical SocietyThe Vermont Soldiers Home
The Vermont Soldiers Home was built to benefit the veterans of the Civil War.

Berlin Historical SocietyBerlin Endures the Civil War

Bethel Historical SocietyThe Fairbanks Family 1862
The Fairbanks family of Bethel will be featured with life-sized sitting and standing portraits along with written biographical information.

Black River Academy Museum & Historical Society—Civil War at the Black River Academy Museum
Exhibit will include photographs chronicling the Civil War from beginning to end.

Bradford Historical Society—Toys and Games of the Past
Drawing on our collection of toys and games and the memories of area residents, this interactive display is guaranteed to bring out the child in the willing.

Brattleboro Historical SocietyMustered In, Mustered Out
Exhibit will feature the site in Brattleboro of a major encampment where over 10,200 Vermonters were "mustered in" to fight in the Civil War. Later, at the same location was a military hospital and finally where 4,666 survivors of the war were "mustered out."

Bridgewater Historical SocietyCivil War Soldiers of Bridgewater
Information and artifacts from Civil War soldiers of Bridgewater including a signature quilt.

Bristol Historical Society—Bristol's 250th Birthday
Exhibit to include photographs, video and handouts detailing the history of Bristol from 1762-2012.

Brookfield Historical Society—Remembering Those Who Served:  Brookfield in the Civil War
The exhibit will feature soldiers from Brookfield, drawing information from letters, diaries, photos and military records.

Cambridge Historical Society—After the War:  Cambridge GAR Post #10
The GAR Post in Cambridge was an important part of the community.  We will highlight two Union soldiers of that post.


Chester Historical Society—At the Front and at the Homefront
Information and stories about who from Chester went to the front and those who stayed home.

Chittenden County Historical Society - Seamen, Civil Ward Soldiers and Children:  One Burlington Hospital, Three Roles, 1856-1945.

Crystal Lake Falls Historical AssociationBarton's Contribution to Vermont's Civil War Effort

Danville Historical Society—Mills, Morgans and Movers
From woolen mills supplying Union uniform fabric, to Morgan horses for the VT Cavalry, to "movers" including Thaddeus Stevens to Colonel Preston, Danville contributed greatly to the Civil War.  The towns weekly newspaper, The North Star reported it all.  The exhibit will feature illustrative artifacts and archival items.

Derby Historical Society

Dorset Historical Society—In Their Own Words:  Dorseters in the Civil War
An exhibit featuring Civil War letters and artifacts culled from the Dorset Historical Society collections and local residents.

Dover Historical Society—Dover and the Civil War
Civil War artifacts, pictures, clothing etc.

Duxbury Historical SocietyDuxbury's Civil War Patriots
Mementos and biographical sketches of Duxbury veterans, and other Civil War artifacts.

East Middlebury Historical Society—The Bidwell Monument
Mosby's Guerrillas were a small force of the Confederate Cavalry who specialized in disrupting Union supply and communication lines. The Guerrillas appeared unexpectedly, made a fast strike and escaped swiftly. Learn how Private Emory Bidwell of East Middlebury became a victim of Mosby's Guerrillas.

East Montpelier/Calais Historical Society—Delco Changed the World
Manufactured from 1916 to 1947, Delco Light Plants were portable generating and battery systems, providing power primarily for farms and homes in rural areas not yet served by central power systems.  Several farmers in East Montpelier invested in the plants in the 1920's and 30's, powering milking equipment, pumping water, lighting barns and homes, and making home & farm work more efficient.

Essex Community Historical Society—The Rest of the Story
The Essex Community Historical Society will trace the lives of several of their Civil War soldiers before, during and after the Civil War.  The exhibit will also highlight how Essex honored those who served.

Fayston Historical Society—Put the Vermonters Ahead
Faystonites in the Civil War with emphasis on Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg and Cedar Creek. Featured will be guns, Fayston's "Scythe Tree" and gravestones.

Glover Historical Society—Amanda Colburn Farnham Felch: Civil War Nurse From West Glover

Grafton Historical Society—Roles in the Civil War, Soldiers and Statesmen & The Rice Family
"Mrs. Rice" in period dress and civil war documents and artifacts will be featured.

Green Mountain Perkins Academy & Historical Association—On the Homefront
Agricultural and kitchen utensils and equipment from the Civil War era will be on display with interpretation.

Greensboro Historical Society

Guilford Historical SocietyJohn Wolcott Phelps; Soldier and Man of Letters 1813-1885
John W. Phelps was a Guilford native who distinguished himself as an Army officer leading the First Regiment Vermont Infantry Volunteers to the Civil War. The General who later became a poet, essayist and diarist, was a presidential nominee in 1880.

Hardwick Historical Society

Hartland Historical Society—Hartland in the Civil War
Artifacts, historic map, enrollment list and more.

Highgate Historical Society—The Industries of East Highgate
Photographs and tools from the Rixford Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of scythes and axes from 1837 to 1956. 

Jamaica Historical Foundation

Johnson Historical Society

Landgrove Historical Society—A Sharpshooter's Letters to Landgrove Hollow
The letters of Carmillus T. Warner will be used to paint the picture of home and war. The story will include his family, his buddies, his neighborhood and war experiences.

Londonderry Historical Society—Londonderry Sends its Boys to War
Meet a few of Londonderry's soldiers an the people who kept the home fires burning.

Manchester Historical Society—Equinox Guards
During the "War Between the States", Vermont men volunteered to serve in the Union Army.  Many from Manchester answered President Lincoln's call for troops.  Closest to the heart of Manchester and a part of Company E, 5th Regiment, Vermont Infantry, were the Manchester men who called themselves the "Equinox Guard". Made up of 87 men, 34 from Manchester, the "Guard" went to war in September 1861.  The Manchester Historical Society exhibit will follow these men as they served their country.

Middletown Springs Historical Society—Middletown Springs Timeline 1932-1951
The continuation of the Middletown Springs timeline will be featured.

Montgomery Historical Society—Montgomery in the Civil War
A look at the impact of the Civil War on life in Montgomery both during and after. Focus will be on Montgomery's first casualty, per capita participation and legacy today.

Montpelier Historical Society—Sloane Civil War Hospital
The site plan, and building for the Sloane Civil War Hospital that later became the Montpelier Seminary and then Vermont College.

Morristown Historical Society—We Loved Him and He Died: The Life and Death of George Roscoe Powers
This exhibit explores the last months of a young Civil War soldier and his impact upon the Powers family and the Morristown community.

Norwich Historical Society—James B. Tracy: Vermont 16th Infantry Regiment from 1862-1863
Norwich resident James B. Tracy gave generously to his country and his town.  This exhibit presents Mr. Tracy, the man; his service during the Civil War; and his generosity to the Town of Norwich through his bequest to the town of a "fireproof" community house, to be called Tracy Memorial Hall.

Orleans County Historical Society/Old Stone House Museum—The Rebirth of a Barn
Photos and descriptions of our post and beam barn building project from the underlying archeology and research to the barn raising on June 9th, 2012.  The exhibit will include a large model of the post and beam structure of the barn.

Orwell Historical Society—

Peacham Historical Society—Peacham's Story:  A Vermont Hill Town in the Civil War
The exhibit will feature photographs of soldiers and provide biographical information as well as prints of letters.

Plymouth Historical Society—Civil War Soldiers of Plymouth Vermont
Locate family names of those whom acccredited Plymouth as their township when they served in the Civil War.  Maps of soldiers homesteads at that time.  Some photos of now and then will be on display as well.

Pownal Historical Society—Pownal in the Civil War
View the roster of Civil War soldiers who enlisted from Pownal and the 1890 census of veterans and widows living in town. Also on exhibit will be artifacts and information about Pownal's most noteworthy soldier, Merritt Barber.

Randolph Historical Society—West Randolph Helps to Defend the Union
Photograpshs and biographical descriptions of several notable persons from Randolph associated with the Civil War, such as Albert B. Chandler who was President Lincoln's personal telgrapher, Captain Edmund Weston Jr. of the US Sharp Shooters, and Captain Frederick A. Aiken who was an attorney for Mary Surratt, a conspirator to the assassination of President Lincoln and the first female executed by the US Government. 

Rochester Historical Society—West Rochester in the Civil War
From 1861-1865 West Rochester's small hillside farming communities of Bingo and West Hill sent more than 90 men to serve in the Civil War. Forty men did not return home. The exhibit features photographs of these men and their families as well as images of their involvement in the war.

Roxbury Historical Society—Stories From Roxbury in the Civil War
Roxbury was well represented in the Civl War by its citizens. Their stories and those of the families left behind as well as the residents who did not go will be highlighted.

Royalton Historical Society

Rutland Historical Society—The Rutland Sharpshooters
An exhibit featuring the target shooting contest that was conducted in Rutland for the purpose of selecting Sharpshooter candidates and the Rutland individuals who distinguished themselves as Sharpshooters during the war.

Ryegate Historical Society—Ryegate's Role in the Civil War
Officers, soldiers, sharpshooters, surgeon, cavalrymen and their contribution to the war effort will be featured.  Additionally, the aftermath and impact on Ryegate and its stone sheds as a major monument producer following the war will be included.

Salisbury Historical Society—From the Battlefield to the Homefront
Stories of Salisburys Civil War Soldiers and life of the families at home.

Sheffield Historical Society—Our Local Civil War Heroes
Our exhibit will include completed genealogies of local civil war soldiers.

Shrewsbury Historical Society—Letters to Home
Letters from a Civil War drummer to his wife written by George Wellington Foster. Also will display a Civil War sword and flag.

St. George Historic & Conservation Trust

St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Center—The Vermont Third Regimental Band
The exhibit will feature artifacts and history from the St. Johnsbury members of the Vermont Third Regimental Band.

Stowe Historical Society—The Burgeoning Homefront, Stowe
Between 1861 and 1865 there was a building boom in Stowe. The Greek Revival Village Schoolhouse was built to accomodate the district school and a private Academy-High School.  The 1818 Meeting House was moved to the southern end of the village and the Universalist Church was built on the original site of the Meeting House.  The Mount Mansfield Hotel which accomodated 400 people was built in 1864. Visitors from many states and several foreign countries came to take advantage of the mountain air and scenery. Additional village homes were built. During the same period, Stowe was represented in the "War to Preserve the Union" by more than 230 men.

Swanton Historical Society—Swanton in the Great Rebellion, At Home and Far Away
Against the backdrop of a 6 foot by 11 foot homemade C1861 34-star Civil War Flag, we will display a local artist's depiction of an Antietam bivouac campfire, as well as actual photographs of local soldiers and their memorabilia consisting of sabers, revolvers, canteens etc.  There will also be a display of three rosters with names of Swanton soldiers inscribed.  The exhibit will also feature a map depicting the locations of the battles and other sites which claimed the lives of Swanton soldiers.

Thetford Historical Society—Thetford in the Civil War
Exhibit will feature profiles of several interesting and colorful Thetford residents and the various roles they played during The Civil War conflict

Tinmouth Historical & Genealogical Society—They Fought for Tinmouth

Townshend Historical Society—After the War
Exhibit will feature the Civil War experiences of several town veterans and townspeople. It will also focus on their postwar legacies and contributions.

Tunbridge Historical Society—Mourning During the Civil War
Clothing worn during the time of mourning in the Civil War era will be displayed.

Vershire Historical Society

Wardsboro—How Many Men?
Map showing where Civil War soldiers lived in Wardsboro and old photos of their homes. Information on geneology and burial sites.

Waterbury Historical Society—36 Who Served/Old Center Cemetary
In a small cemetary along Route 100 in Waterbury Center are the remains of 36 veterans of the Civil War.  The exhibit will focus on five of those soldiers.  A model of the cemetary will be displayed marking the graves of those 36 who served.

Weathersfield Historical Society—Weathersfield Remembers Edith F. Hunter
In addition to her work with husband Armstrong publishing the Weathersfield Weekly from 1971 to 1986, Edith Fisher Hunter was Weathersfield's premier town historian and VPR commentator.  She was a mainstay at the Weathersfield Historical Society display at the annual Vermont History Expo. Our exhibition will focus on Edith's contributions to Weathersfield history.

West Fairlee Historical Society—The Battle at Cedar Creek
In keeping with the Civil War theme, the West Fairlee Historical Society's exhibit will feature a large reproduciton of the Battle of Cedar Creek painting that hangs in the State House in Montpelier.  Accompanying this painting will be stories about the battle and the heroic General Stephan Thomas who participated in the battle and resided in West Fairlee.  The battle occurred in October, 1864, near Strasburg, Virginia.  General Sheridan's Union troops defeated the Confederat Army led by Lt. General Jubal Early. The battle ended the South's invasions into the North.

West Rutland Historical Society

West Windsor—West Windsor's Drummer Boy
Facts about West Windsor's local participation in the Civil War.

Weston Historical Society—Weston and the Civil War
Exhibit will feature artifacts including a Civil War uniform, camp stool, canteen, cartridge holder, bunting and captioned photos.

Williamstown Historical Society—Williamstown, Vermont in the Civil War
Photos and biographies of Williamstown Civil War soldiers.

Williston Historical Society—Williston's Place in the Civil War

Worcester Historical Society—Civil War Warriors from Worcester
The focal point of our display will be a Civil War quilt made by Cathy Hull with 81 names of the warriors from Worcester.  Artifacts will be on display as well as the publication "Civil War Warriors from Worcester" by J. David Book.

Antique Bike Circa 1900

Museums and Heritage Attractions

American Precision Museum
Ben's Mill Pond
Billings Farm & Museum
Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation
Divison for Historic Preservation
Estey Organ Museum
Friends of the Morrill Homestead
Henry Sheldon Museum
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Main Street Museum
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Mount Independence Coalition
Old Stone House Museum
Preservation Trust of Vermont
Rokeby Museum
Shelburne Farms
Slate Valley Museum
Sullivan Museum & History Center
The Vermont Humanities Council
The Vermont State House
Vermont State Historic Sites
Vermont Archaeological Society
Vermont Land Trust
Vermont Music Library & Shop
Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum
Vermont State Police Museum

History Conservation/Preservation Organizations

Crown Point Road Association
Countryman Press/HowardCoffin
Ed Larkin Dancers
Green Mountain Club
Historic New England Vermont
Antiquarian Booksellers
Vermont 251 Club 
Vermont Book Shelf
Vermont Covered Bridge Society
Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing
Vermont Philatelic Society / Post Office
Vermont Society of Land Surveyors
Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association


Vermont History Expo 2012: Special Exhibits

The Vermont Historical Society is proud to bring you the 2012 Vermont History Expo, to be held June 16 & 17. We are in the process of organizing the exhibits, live presentations, games, and much more.

To see a sample of some of excitement that the 2012 Expo has in store, please read below and use the menu on the left to browse information about the Vermont History Expo.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Special Exhibits—Expo 2012

Genealogy Resources and Archives Center

This popular feature of every Vermont History Expo brings together representatives from the State's leading genealogy organizations and archivists from Vermont's major repositories. Members of several of these organizations will present talks throughout the weekend.

Women look at historic documentsStaff members and volunteers from the Vermont Historical Society Library, the Genealogical Society of Vermont, and the Church of the Latter Day Saints will be on hand to answer questions about conducting genealogy research. Members of heritage societies and ethnic genealogy organizations will also be available to describe their groups' work and help with research.

Archivists staff exhibits from their repositories and answer questions about the organization and storage of archival collections. Staff members from the Vermont Historical Society will scan historic photos for preservation (see below).

Once again public access computers will provide visitors the opportunity to search for their family histories on the Internet. In addition, many of the participating organizations will offer a variety of genealogical publications for sale.

Genealogy Resources and Archives Center Participants

Genealogical Organizations:
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Genealogical Society of Vermont
Vermont Historical Society Library

Ethnic Genealogical Organizations:
St. Andrews Society of Vermont
Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society

Heritage Societies:
Colonial Wars in the State of Vermont
Sons of Union Veterans
Vermont Society of Mayflower Descendants

Archival Repositories:
Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont
New England Archivists
Vermont Historical Society Library
Vermont State Archives and Records

Dave Allen Old Maps

In the mid 1800s, very detailed maps were made of many American towns and counties. These historical maps are a great source for research, genealogical study, or for their artistic value. Dave Allen, “The Map Guy,” will be on hand with a great display of Vermont and New England maps, plus some "fun" things related to maps and history. Dave will also be giving a presentation on "Mapping Vermont in the 1850's: Just Before the War"

Have a go at the Mystery Towns Contest which will challenge visitors to identify at least at least 16 ancient Vermont towns by their modern names, based on a circa 1800 map!

The Vermont Morgan Horse

rebelThe Morgan Horse-A·Living Legend in Vermont. The Vermont Morgan Horse has a rich history that parallels that of our state. Military Morgan handler and rider Chris Heidorf will present riding demonstration and details of a Civil War soldier and his prized and trusted horse.  This performance involving expert riders and Morgan Horses walks us through the breed’s history.
 Performance Times: 11 am and 2 pm each day at the Riding Ring.

The Little Dig

Back by popular demand, the Little Dig lets you explore the Tunbridge Fairgrounds using the science of Field Archaeology along with professional archaeologists. This hands-on activity will systematically test units in the fairgrounds to discover what was left behind by decades of fair visitors.

Get your hands dirty with the Vermont Archaeological Society at the History Expo "Little Dig" on Saturday and Sunday!

Legend of the Common Cracker and the Cracker Barrel—A Tasty Vermont Story!crosscrackers

The Common Cracker has been a staple in Vermont kitchens since the early 1800s. Known by various names—Burlington Crackers, Cross Crackers, Hanover Crackers, Montpelier Crackers, Lamoille Crackers, St. Johnsbury Crackers—these hearty little crackers, often served with fresh milk, were a suppertime favorite at the table of many Vermont dairy farms.

Vermonters sent their sons off to fight in the Civil War with little more than a slab of salt pork and a generous supply of Common Crackers to sustain them. By the late 1800s there were no fewer than seven bakeries throughout Vermont producing these simple little crackers, most often sold by the barrel. Today, Vermont Common Crackers are still produced by the Orton Family of Vermont Country Store fame.

George Edson, Lyman Orton and Brooke Paige have collaborated in an exhibit which tells the story of the early bakers and how they produced and distributed their product throughout Vermont, bringing to life the legend of the Common Cracker with ephemera and artifacts.

There will be scheduled talks on the history of the Common Cracker and the Vermont Cracker Barrel and an interactive exhibit that includes the "Common Cracker Games" based on contests folks would use to pass the time at the local village store. Visitors will be invited to participate in these challenges with tasty prizes for contest winners.


Life in…” Vermont Counties and Towns Movies Senator Bill Doyle and filmmaker Vince Franke have been working with their students at Johnson State College to produce a film about each county in Vermont—they are about halfway there. They have also made movies of Barre and Montpelier. Each charming episode engages local residents to reminisce about life in their community at a different time. Relax and enjoy showings of these slices of another time

Tunbridge Fair Association Exhibits

In 1929, the Tunbridge Fair Association built an "antique log cabin" on the fair grounds to showcase a collection of Vermont antiques accumulated by Edward R. Flint, who was then secretary of the Union Agricultural Society, a.k.a. the Tunbridge Fair Association.

Man plays music for children at Expo 2006The September 1930 issue of The Vermonter, the state magazine of the time, featured "The World's Fair," and its extensive antique exhibit. Credit was given where credit was due—to Mr. Flint, "the indefatigable secretary, (who) has been all over Vermont, the quest often leading to far mountain sides and extending to two o'clock in the morning. He has found people most kind in co-operation."

"We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to Ed Flint for the nearly 30 years he devoted to amassing the antiques in our collection," says Euclid Farnham, current president of the Tunbridge Fair Association. "There is no way we could find these items today, no less pay for them. It took Ed's sheer will and folksy manner to persuade people to donate their treasures."

In 1972, the original log cabin on Antique Hill was replaced with a larger building to accommodate the growing collection of 18th- and 19th-century artifacts. "We kept the original fireplace," notes Euclid Farnham. "We had to. Farmers from all over Tunbridge brought the field stones from their land to build it and local masons put it together."Woman in period dress at exhibit

The Log Cabin Museum, which has traditionally been opened only during the four-day Tunbridge Fair, was open for the 2010 Vermont History Expo visitors. Many of the artifacts on display have a story, such as that of a butter print described in The Vermonter of 1930. "One of the women settlers went six miles to a neighbor's on the opposite hill and spun three days to pay for having this print made. On her way home she was chased by wolves and only escaped by running into the house in time, her horse being killed by them."

The fair association opened and staff several of its hallmark exhibits, including the 1840 Bicknell Hill District #8 Schoolhouse, which was moved to the grounds in 1940; 19th-century blacksmith and printing shops; a large, wooden cider press made in Strafford, Vermont during the mid-19th century; and the antique vehicle and farm equipment display.

Exhibiting Sponsors

The following sponsors will be exhibiting at the Vermont History Expo:

  • Black River Design

  • History Press

  • Laurence Leonard

  • Old Maps

  • Vermont Country Store

  • Vermont Magazine

  • WDEV (one day only)