Aligning Stars with Schools

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fairbanks museum

ST. JOHNSBURY- The Fairbanks Museum may be small in size, but the role it plays throughout Northern New England is rather large. The building and its planetarium represent a history dedicated in connecting through education.


The origins of the museum trace back to 1891 when Franklin Fairbanks founded the establishment as a teaching museum. In fact, it was one of the first institutions to be built with a classroom located inside the structure. Classes and school groups were invited right from the beginning. "They were an active part of what happens here at the museum and to this day we continue to have strong relationships with schools", said Anna Rubin, the public relations representative at Fairbanks.

But these relationships might not be as strong without the presence of a planetarium. Recently redone, the planetarium has a new digital system that seemingly enhances an experience for visitors. Director of Programs Leila Nordmann added, "We have that as an asset, but we have really amazing educators who make that space come alive." Even with the digital upgrades, the original vision Franklin Fairbanks had for the museum has not been overshadowed.

One of Fairbanks' original goals was to bring objects and artifacts from around the globe in an effort to broaden sources throughout New England. For over 100 years, the presence of such genuine objects have stood the test of time. "These objects are essentially ambassadors of their species as people walk in", Nordmann mentioned.

Ultimately, Franklin Fairbanks had a vision to spark the curiosity of people across New England.  Through education and integration, the musuem remains a historically valued entity.  Rubin summed it up simply, "The Fairbanks Museum is an amazing asset and treasure in St. Johnsbury.