Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Latest installment of 'Seeing' series explores the fraught legacies of Vermont museums

Two students sitting outside on colorful chairs outside of a red brick colonial style building that reads "Robert Hull Fleming Museum" at the University of Vermont.
Marlon Hyde
VPR File
The Fleming Museum of Art at the University of Vermont has been showcasing art and historical artifacts for over 90 years. Now it and other museums are grappling with creative legacies that include stolen and offensive items in their collection.

Across the country, museum leaders and curators are re-examining their collections and the legacies of their founders. Some have objects in their collections that were acquired unfairly, stolen, or are seen as offensive today. Others work at institutions founded by people who are now considered bigoted. VPR reporter/producer Shanta Lee Gander spoke with Vermont Edition about these fraught legacies.

The question of creative legacy is central to the latest installment of Gander's Seeing…the Unseen and In-Between within Vermont's Landscape project.

The first story in the series wrestled with the idea of legacy, and how individual artists think about the creative legacy they’ll leave behind.

The second installment focuses on creative institutions like museums, and how they grapple with the more problematic parts of their legacies. For the latest installment, Gander spoke with Martin Mahoney, executive director of the Bennington Museum; Janie Cohen, director of the Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington; and Eva Garcelon-Hart, research center archivist for the Henry Sheldon Museum in downtown Middlebury.

Listen to the full interview to hear excerpts from these museum leaders, reflections on the collections and founders, and issues Gander hopes to explore in upcoming installments of the 'Seeing' series.

This interview is about VPR's "Seeing" series, an exploration of the individual and institutional aspects of creative legacy. Find part one here, and part two here.

Broadcast on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.