The Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor closed in 2012, after the private owners decided they wanted to sell the museum and its collections.
The Preservation Trust of Vermont has stepped in to try to buy the museum and its artifacts. So far, they’ve raised the money needed to purchase the remaining collection. And they’re in a fund- raising effort to buy the museum building.
But recently, the University of Pennsylvania acquired the museum’s archives, which include stone samples and paper records from the Vermont Marble Company.
Paul Bruhn is the head of the Preservation Trust of Vermont. He says as a result of the University of Pennsylvania purchase, the stone library, small samples of marble from all over the world, will be headed out of Vermont.
"The museum has always been privately owned." We jumped in and worked with the owners and tried to raise the money to purchase everything, we didn’t raise enough money to be able to do," Bruhn said.
"The good part is that they will be very good stewards of all of the things they have purchased." But Bruhn says that didn’t soften the blow. "The bad part is that they will now be located outside of Vermont. We were disappointed that we couldn’t keep this intact."
Stone from the Vermont Marble Company is found in the Jefferson Memorial, the U.S. Supreme Court building and the White House. And Bruhn says it’s that national legacy that caught the University of Pennsylvania’s interest.
"They consider this to be a national collection, that the Vermont Marble company was not just a Vermont company, it was a national company that worked all over the United States and world."
Even with that shared legacy, Bruhn says with congressional earmarks a thing of the past, there was no federal money available to preserve the museum.
The Preservation Trust of Vermont will continue to try to save what’s left at the museum, and they say most of the museum is still intact. Now they’re trying to raise $480,000 to acquire the building. And they’re hoping to find an existing organization to take over the care of the museum.
So far they’ve raised $120,000. They hope the raise the rest of the money by the end of 2013.