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The Old Stone House Museum is pleased to announce that, despite restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 emergency, it will open on Friday, May 13 for visitors in a safe, physically-distanced way. Even though its buildings will be closed, the museum collection and resources will be made available through an exciting array of online classes and workshops, as well as virtual tours of the museum and its permanent collection.

“We will follow recommended health guidelines,” says Museum Director Molly Veysey, “but remain committed to making our resources available to the community. This season we are finding new and interesting ways to do this.”

For those interested in touring the village, maps with descriptions of eight historically restored buildings and other related structures—including the monumental stone edifice that the progressive African American educator Alexander Lucius Twilight built in 1836—will be available.

Gardening, woodcarving, rug hooking, and knitting are only a few of the many online classes and workshops to be offered. This year the Museum’s traditional kitchen garden will expand to become a giving garden able to produce more vegetables to be distributed to those in need.

The increasingly popular Kids’ Fridays will continue with to-go activity kits available each Friday of the summer. This year, the museum will collaborate with Green Mountain Farm to School to provide free lunches to accompany the activity kits for children under 18.

Perhaps most exciting is the development of a one-mile trail around the nearly 60 acres of rolling pasture and woodland that surround the historic village thanks to a $22,000 grant from the State of Vermont’s Recreation Trails Program. “One of the best ways to enjoy the museum this season is to visit the outdoor spaces,” says Veysey. “By fall accessible trails will be available to both history buffs and nature enthusiasts who will be able to walk in the footsteps of Alexander Twilight who used the land near his school to teach his students about natural history and science.” NorthWoods Conservation Corps will begin building the trail in July.

Alexander Twilight’s connection to the Old Stone House Museum makes it more than simply a collection of historic buildings. Because of this energetic and accomplished individual—America’s first Black college graduate (Middlebury in 1823), first elected official (VT legislature in 1836)—the Old Stone House Museum is a featured stop on Vermont’s African American Heritage Trail. “It was absolutely essential that we continue to provide access to visitors wishing to know more about this remarkable man,” says Veysey, “and especially important as we celebrate the 225th anniversary of his birth.”

The Old Stone House Museum is located at 109 Old Stone House Road, Brownington,  and is open mid-May through mid-October.

Visit www.oldstonehousemuseum.org for information or to sign up for classes and workshops. Sign up to receive e-newsletters by emailing information@oldstonehousemuseum.org. To reach administrative offices, call 802-754-2022.