“We’re on Main Street in Stowe,” Mike Hoey said. “People can probably figure out where exactly on Main Street we are, but what brings us here this week?”

“We’re at the Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum,” Vermont Historical Society executive director Steve Perkins said. “We’ve been doing a lot of these history pieces and we’ve talked a lot about skiing and recreation in Vermont, but this is one of the great places you can go to learn about that industry. So, we’re going to go inside and we’re going to meet with Abby Blackburn, who’s the (executive) director of the museum.”

“The museum started in 1988, and its home was in Brandon, Vermont,” Blackburn said. “It bounced around a little bit — Brandon and then on Route 4 between Rutland and Pico (Mountain). A group of Stowe locals really thought that Stowe would be a great home for the museum, and it was just a matter of finding that home. And this building, which was actually built in 1818 on the other end of the village — it was moved here in the late 1800s and it housed multiple things — the Fire Department, Stowe Water & Light.

“Then, in the year 2000, it was vacated, condemned, needed a ton of expensive work, and (this) group of locals were like, ‘this is it; this is the home’. They got together, they ran a capital campaign and in 2002, gold Olympic medalist (Andrea Mead Lawrence) cut the ribbon (when the museum opened here).”

“You mentioned a capital campaign,” Hoey said. “Any idea of about how much that campaign needed to come up with?”

“I believe it was $1.4 million,” Blackburn noted.

Perkins asked, “What are people going to see if they come here?”

“Yeah! A lot of ski stuff. People are pretty generous with their donations,” Blackburn answered. “We don’t purchase anything for our collection; it’s all donation-based. We have old snowboarding stuff, Nordic, biathlon, National Ski Patrol, a lot of (U.S. Army) 10th Mountain Division stuff.”

“Some of the larger pieces the museum has in its collection would be lift cars from some of the more prominent resorts,” Hoey observed. “Those have even been donated, I see.”

“Yup, absolutely. You can see on the mobile here some of the older (lift cars), and then we’ve got a storage unit in Stowe,” Blackburn said. “We can’t keep everything here. What you’re seeing here in the museum is probably — quick math — one-twentieth of what we actually have.”

“We’re surrounded by an art exhibit,” Perkins said.

“This exhibit that you’re seeing on the first floor now will be here until mid-October,” Blackburn replied. “It opened at the end of November, so our rotating exhibits — it’s annual, once a year, so it’s here for a while for people to enjoy. Right now, it’s the work of Scott Lenhardt, (who is) a Vermont artist, and he’s done more than 55 graphics for Burton (Snowboards). We’ve had bigger 10th Mountain Division exhibits; things like snowboarding photography.”

“Now, it’s not just the exhibits,” Perkins added. “The museum does a lot of programs throughout the year. Could you tell us a little bit of a sampling of some of the programs — certainly touching on the Hall of Fame, too?”

“Yeah, so the Hall of Fame is an annual event,” Blackburn said. “There was a tiny little lapse during the pandemic. But my favorite programming, which has really, really grown, is the Red Bench Speaker Series, and it’s named after this literal red bench right behind us that was in the Octagon Lodge at Stowe (Mountain Resort).”

Hoey asked, “Abby, should anyone wants to learn about upcoming subjects of the Red Bench Speaker Series or any other upcoming programming, how can people find out about it?”

Our website is the best place to start,” Blackburn answered.