Every artifact might have its own story, but that doesn’t mean a collection always carries a common theme.
Such was the contemplative background of the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum’s new exhibit, “Curious and Cool,” an eclectic mix of unusual and random items from the worlds of skiing and snowboarding, now on display in downtown Stowe.
“It has lots of the really fun, eclectic mishmash of stuff that people have collected and donated to the museum,” says exhibit curator Meredith Scott. “It’s kind of a celebration of all these people and their stories and the places throughout Vermont that these funny things represent.”
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Recent exhibits at the museum have centered around ski fashion, or detailing the history of the National Ski Patrol. But with a number of imminent anniversaries to look forward to (it’s been 30 years since the museum first opened in Brandon, Vt., and 15 years since it arrived in Stowe at the Perkins Building, which celebrates its own 200th anniversary in 2018), Scott believes it just seemed like time to “get out all the fun stuff that never really fit into those nice, neat, themed stories.”
Two years went into the planning of the exhibit, which opened Dec. 1 and runs through October. While some of the items have been exhibited in the past (including one of the two gold medals Vermont skier Andrea Mead Lawrence won at the 1952 Olympics) much of it has been in storage over the years, giving Scott the opportunity to revisit the wealth of items she has collected over time and put away since becoming the museum’s first full-time curator in 2002.
There’s one of the original chairs from Stowe’s Ranch Camp, an old lumber camp that served as the beginning of the town’s skiing reputation. There are samples of chairlift rope unraveled to reveal what it’s made of. Burton’s 2018 Olympic uniform is even on display, the only place to see the collection on exhibit.
“It’s a real range of really old to really new,” Scott says.
Among Scott’s favorite pieces in the exhibit is a crafted mobile featuring two people riding a lift with little pieces of wood for their skis. Each pole has a piece of sequin as the pole basket and distinctively-patterned clothing, an oddity for sure, that didn’t exactly fit the mold of the museum’s previous exhibits.
While the evolution of skiing in general is on display, it’s the recognition of the people behind the items that Scott hopes to highlight.
“When you’re telling a distinct story, there are so many great things that should come out,” she says. “The people are just so important.”
If you go:
Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, One South Main Street, Stowe, Vt., vtssm.com