Dorset Vermont Historical Society Bley House Museum
Welcome to Historic Dorset, Vermont
Bley House
Welcome to Bley House Museum
The Dorset Historical Society was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1963. The Society's purposes are: to discover and collect materials that will help establish or illustrate the history of Dorset, Vermont; to provide for the preservation of relevant collections; to exhibit archival materials and disseminate historical information; and to educate members of the Society and the public. Toward these ends, DHS collects and maintains artifacts, art, photographs, documents, books, manuscripts, and genealogical records pertinent to Dorset and its environs from the time the town was chartered in 1761 to the present.
The Society's home is the Bley House Museum, located on Route 30 at Kent Hill Road. Among the museum's featured exhibits are Fenton stoneware, paintings by Dorset artists, and in the Marble Gallery, a large display that showcases 130 years of quarrying, hauling, and finishing marble in Dorset and East Dorset—all part of the town's most historically significant industry. Two historic buildings using marble from Dorset quarries are the Old Customs House in Erie, Pennsylvania—the first major building in the U.S. to use marble (1839)—and the New York Public Library (1910).
Dorset Quarry
Norcross-West Marble Quarry, earliest (1785) commercial marble quarry

On Display Until Early 2016

Dorset Schools

Today, hot political topics in Vermont have to do with school consolidation and school choice.  These are not new debates to Dorset, and this exhibit explores the stories of the 16 one-room and two-room schoolhouses, their closings, and the building of Dorset’s current educational system, which, in an area with no public high schools, has long experienced school choice.
Main Gallery

District 2 (Sykes District), c. 1910

Postcards from Dorset

Beginning in 1897, merchants and photographers created picture postcards of Dorset scenes.  This exhibit explores the changing views and scenes which appeared on postcards from Dorset over the twentieth century.  We also take a look at the merchants and innkeepers who commissioned postcards, who they commissioned them from, and who the
local photographers were.
Upstairs Hallway

Hand-Colored Postcard of Prentiss Pond, c.1930

Art Students League of New York in Dorset

Many of the creators who have made up the vibrant arts community in this small town came by way of the Art Students League of New York.  What were their connections to each other?  What drew them to Dorset?  This exhibit features original works by Walter Shirlaw, Edwin Child, Wallace Fahnestock, Herbert Meyer, Reginald Marsh, Jay Connaway, Dean Fausett, and many others.
Venetian Red Room

Reginald Marsh, "Old Fashioneds at Marjorie's" (1935)

Local Artists

Dorset has been home to many artists over the years, and this exhibit samples the works of a handful.  This year’s rotation includes works from our collections by Lillian Edmonds, Janet Gilbert, Lorenzo Hatch, Arthur Jones, John Lillie, Carl Ramsey, Peter Salmon, Patricia Willcox,
and many others.
Library/Conference Room

George McBride, "Raffle — White's Garage, Dorset (1938)

Huntington Gilbert Photographs

Poultry farmer Hunt Gilbert would take his camera out a few days each year and photograph his neighbors at work and play.  A few years ago, a large collection of his celluloid negatives , dating from 1905 to 1914, were donated to the Dorset Historical Society, and each year we digitize another segment of them.  On display are twenty of the most recent digital prints
from the collection. 

Huntington Gilbert, "Hay September 6, 1909"




Dorset Historical Society
Member of Vermont Historical Society and
The New England Museum Association

PO Box 52 · Route 30 at Kent Hill Road
Dorset, VT 05251 USA · 802-867-0331

— Open Hours —
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 10-4 p.m.
Saturday, 10-2 p.m.

Other days and times by appointment

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