Electra Webb spent years building elaborate collections now on display in a beautiful setting near Lake Champlain.
A winding walkway takes you from one curious collection to the next. Each is housed in one of several unique buildings across the property such as a round barn, weaver shop, stagecoach inn, lighthouse, and jailhouse. Large outdoor sculptures and gardens are interspersed between the buildings, so every turn yields a surprise.
One of Webb’s more amazing feats was accomplished in 1955 when an 890-ton steamship, Ticonderoga, was hauled two miles across land to be displayed on the property. Aboard, visitors can investigate its four decks of public and working areas. It’s also one of the few remaining paddle-wheel ships.
For automaton enthusiasts, some of Gustave Vichy’s works are housed on the museum campus. Throughout, visitors can find 18th and 19th-century toys and dollhouses. If you are searching for the 3,500 piece handmade circus parade, it’s housed in its own horseshoe-shaped building. Edgar Kirk spent around forty years carving the exhibit.
Know Before You Go
The museum is seven miles south of Burlington on Route 7.
Parking is free and the full campus is open Spring/Summer: May 1 – October 31, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., except for major holidays. Being set up like a village, you may prefer a sunny day as it takes a while to get from one exhibit to another on the 45 acres grounds.
Allow time for the gun collection, horse carriages, and assorted tools of the early industrial era at the museum. Arrive early if you plan to take in the whole village. The Shelburne could be one of the most educational places you'll ever visit that isn't all housed under one roof.