BENNINGTON, Vermont -- December 1, 2002 - Starting June 14th 2003, the city of Bennington and the state of Vermont will house the first and only museum dedicated to the preservation and education of the history, science, culture, and the environment of covered bridges, past and present.
The Vermont Covered Bridge Museum (VCBM) is another project and dream of Bruce Laumeister who along with his wife, Elizabeth Small, have already established a premier art center in the nonprofit Bennington Center for the Arts. The Laumeisters' wish is to promote the Vermont way of life, preserve, educate, and exhibit natural wildlife art, and Native American art and lifestyles. In keeping with this goal, Mr. Laumeister, in collaboration with local historian John Dostal, envision the new museum to become a major repository for covered bridge information and resources both for Vermont covered bridges and beyond.
The museum, however, will also entertain and educate visitors and local citizens with an array of exhibits and audio/visual stimulation that will bring a long time Vermont and New England symbol, the covered bridge, into the spotlight it deserves. Most importantly, it will convey the importance of covered bridge technology and how it influenced the bridges of today, while at the same time created a magical culture unto itself.
Anyone who has lived a lifetime near a covered bridge will certainly always admit to the many ways it has touched their lives. Combining the technology with the human element will be one of the strong points of the museum's exhibits.
In planning the overall style and layout, Mr. Laumeister has brought in the services of Knowledge Environments, Inc., a North Adams, Massachusetts company, specializing in delivering knowledge both through cutting edge technology and traditional educational systems. Emiliano, De Laurentiis, the founder of the company, has already directed the museum's film documentary about Vermont Covered Bridges that will serve as an introduction to the museum and as an educational overview about covered bridges, and will be available for purchase on DVD. Knowledge Environments, Inc. has also done work with the American Chestnut Foundation in Bennington, establishing an online curriculum.
Working with Knowledge Environments, Inc. in coordinating and designing the museum's layout and exhibits is Robert Campanile. Robert is the director of The Center for Science and Cultural Literacy, a project he established to provide educational resources and museum consultation. Robert located over 2 years ago to the Northern Berkshires after spending over 9 years working on diverse projects at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. He is past director and designer of the North Adams Museum of History & Science in North Adams, MA.
The entire team is especially excited because the museum not only symbolizes an enduring image of the past, its traditions, its beauty and good old fashion know how, but they also feel it will surprise people in how many interesting things there are to be learned about covered bridges.
The museum, which is shaped like a covered bridge, cuddles the already popular Bennington Center for the Arts with its rural surroundings that will bath the museum with the perfect atmosphere. The entire layout will provide a full spectrum of exhibits, including the Anatomy of the Covered Bridge, the Artful Covered Bridge, Covered Bridge Chronicles, the Natural Environment of the Covered Bridge, the Culture of the Covered Bridge, and more. A working covered bridge railroad layout will delight all ages, plus 3-D models and dioramas. A small theater will continuously run the film documentary about covered bridges and act as a lecture room for public programs.
Located on Route 9 just west of Bennington, both the Bennington Center for the Arts and its new Vermont Covered Bridge Museum will serve as a gateway and welcome center to the city of Bennington and the state of Vermont for visitors coming from the west and south. For Bennington's citizens, the museum will add to the flavor and excitement of a culturally growing city and accent what is our greatest asset, being New England. When the doors open for the scheduled June 14th, 2003 celebration, the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum will take its place as a vehicle for enlightenment and information for all those who cherish and appreciate the technology, influence, and culture of Vermont covered bridges and covered bridges everywhere.