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After Auction, Green Mountain College's Giant Kaleidoscope Looking At Cross-Country Move

A working kaleidoscope sculpture on the Green Mountain College campus in Poultney.
Dan Roberts, courtesy
This week a working kaleidoscope sculpture was taken away from the closed campus of Green Mountain College, in Poultney. The new owner plans to send it to Prescott College, in Arizona.

Dan Roberts was never a student at Green Mountain College, but the now-closed campus in Poultney still played a big part in his life. He grew up about 15 minutes from the school, and he has childhood memories of playing with a 12-foot kaleidoscope that — until this week — stood on the school grounds.

Roberts also worked at the college early in his career, lived on campus, and even met his wife there. She also worked for the school and is a Green Mountain alumna. Now the couple lives in Alabama, but they often come back to Vermont to visit family and friends.

Their visit last month happened to coincide with an art and collectibles auction of some of Green Mountain College’s collection.

Roberts went to the auction — and he said he was heartbroken when that giant, sheet metal kaleidoscope he remembered so fondly wasn't getting any bids. So Roberts raised his auction paddle and, after a little back-and-forth with another bidder, it was his.

"I thought for sure, being a piece this size, being a piece that truly kind of symbolizes Green Mountain College for us and a lot of other people … I thought for sure it was going to go for, you know, many, many thousands of dollars," said Roberts.

His winning bid? $650.

"With auction fees and all that, I ended up paying about $800 for this monstrosity," he said. "Which, again, I had no plans for. But in the moment at an auction, honestly I didn’t have time to think about it."

Now Roberts is reaching out to Green Mountain alumni to try and raise enough money to move the kaleidoscope to Prescott College, in Arizona. He said many former Green Mountain students and faculty have landed at Prescott, and that's also where Green Mountain College's records are being stored.

Roberts said he hopes that by bringing the kaleidoscope to the Prescott campus, a piece of Green Mountain College will live on where the closed school's records now reside.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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