Vermont Marble Museum and the Preservation Trust of Vermont
Located in Proctor, Vermont, The Vermont Marble Museum tells the story of what was once the largest marble company in the world and one of Vermont's most important industries.
In the spring of 2012, after many years of operations, the current owners decided to close the Museum and sell the collection. The Preservation Trust stepped in, hoping to raise enough money to purchase the entire operation with the ultimate goal of keeping the collection intact and finding a new non-profit owner to run the museum in its current location in Proctor.
As of December 31, 2012, the Preservation Trust had successfully raised $250,000 to complete Phase I of the project, taking a significant step forward on the path to saving this irreplaceable piece of our heritage. This phase includes the acquisition of the museum collection and displays, including the 2000+ rare glass plate negative collection, and the gift shop.
This has been a miraculous turn-around from a little more than a month ago. At that time, we announced that we had not succeeded in raising the $400,000 necessary to acquire the entire museum collection (displays, gift shop and archives). Fortunately the owners Marsha and Martin Hemm were patient, flexible, and willing to explore different solutions. In addition the Proctor Library, Historical Society, Selectboard, and School Board went to extraordinary lengths to attempt to raise the $150,000 to substantially fill the funding gap. The timing was challenging and while the $150,000 was not raised by the year-end closing, we are working to assure that the archive and stone library will be accessible to the public.
The Trust is grateful for support from the Johnson Family Foundation, Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation, the Walter Cerf Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation, an anonymous foundation, and many generous individuals. We are also grateful to the owners Marsha and Martin Hemm who have been patient, flexible, and willing to explore different solutions. In addition the Proctor Library, Historical Society, Selectboard, and School Board have all gone to extraordinary lengths to assist our efforts.
THE FUTURE of the VERMONT MARBLE MUSEUM
The Preservation Trust is now beginning Phase II which includes raising funds for the acquisition of the museum building. To date, we have raised $125,000 of the total $480,000 needed towards this effort, thanks largely to a commitment from the owners and the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. We also need to raise additional funds for insurance, engineering expenses, planning costs, interest expense and rehabilitation work on the building. We are hopeful that we can complete this phase by the end 2013. Donate Now to Help Save the Vermont Marble Museum
Additionally, we are actively seeking a new non-profit owner and operator for the museum. Click here to make a donation now. Click here to download a Request for Letters of Interest from nonprofit organizations interested in owning and operating The Vermont Marble Museum.
The future of the extensive paper archives and the stone library - samples of marble from all over the world - is still under negotiation, but we are confident that the resources will be accessible to museum visitors.
VERMONT MARBLE COMPANY HISTORY
Reportedly the largest museum in the world dedicated to the production of marble, the Vermont Marble Museum is located in what was once the main manufacturing plant of the Vermont Marble Company. During its heyday between 1880 and the 1930’s, the Vermont Marble Company grew to be not only the largest marble manufacturer in the world but one of the world’s largest companies. It employed over 5000 people, had offices in most major U.S. cities and owned the rights to all the marble in Vermont, Tennessee, Colorado and Alaska. Vermont businessman and politician Redfield Proctor, Sr. founded the Vermont Marble Company in 1880 when he merged several smaller Vermont marble manufacturing operations into one entity.
The Town of Proctor, established by an act of the Vermont legislature in 1886, was carved out of what was once the Town of Rutland to serve as the Vermont Marble Company headquarters and company town. Most of the laborers and management lived in Proctor and the municipal buildings, ancillary industrial and office buildings as well as the bridge across the Otter Creek were all made of marble. The town is still dominated by the large manufacturing plant located at Sunderland Falls, which once provided the waterpower to drive the machinery.
The company expanded rapidly until the 1930’s when demand declined due to the Great Depression. During World War II, the equipment was modified to produce metal for the war effort but marble production resumed after the war. In 1950, the Company manufactured the marble for the United Nations headquarters in New York City, one of the largest commissions in its history.
The Vermont Marble Company’s facilities in Proctor were purchased by OMYA, Inc. in 1976, but after gradually divesting itself of many buildings in Proctor, OMYA, Inc. moved its headquarters to Ohio in 2007.
There are prominent buildings and monuments made from Vermont marble all over the United States and the world including many significant Washington, D.C. structures including:
THE VERMONT MARBLE MUSEUM TODAY
The museum began as an exhibit and show room for Vermont Marble Company’s products. Today the museum includes:
Also included in the Museum holdings, though not currently accessible to the public, are extensive paper archives and photographs documenting the early years of the Vermont Marble Company operations.
Make a Donation Now
We at the Preservation Trust of Vermont have a lot of work ahead of us in this upcoming year, and as always, we depend on your support to make it happen.
We appreciate your support!