I just learned the new phrase, “You will see it when you believe it,” from inspirational speaker and National Geographic photographer DeWitt Jones. His point is that the great photograph will be made if you first believe that a subject of importance exists, and that your lens will find it. At the Vermont Granite Museum forum in October, the passion for completion of the museum project was palpable. Those attending confirmed their belief that the museum is important to our community.
It was marvelous that there was no skepticism at the forum — just a lot of people who believed the museum was a good idea when first conceived and who want to continue to work on it.
The public, who came from Barre and Barre Town, Montpelier, Hardwick, Calais and more, believed that we have a unique story of historical and national interest to tell. The attendees still believe the story will attract tourists to Barre while educating our children about their home community. There was a consensus that we really don’t need to change the original ideas or goals of the project, but rather make some refinements and keep working on them together in order to see results.
To this end VGM board members are embarking on a series of meetings with community organizations and municipalities to present the findings of our survey and forum. We will be looking for help, ideas and actionable commitments to the project. We will announce through email and in The Times Argus meetings which require help to lay out plans for participation. If you are a member of any service club or development organization, we encourage you to involve your organization to help us complete this project.
In the short term, we have a number of exciting things happening. Next summer we will be hosting a traveling Smithsonian exhibit titled “The Way We Work.” This is a photography exhibit from the Smithsonian’s collection which showcases the American worker. Few labor harder at their jobs than our granite industry workers, so we will be supplementing the exhibit with local displays. To be open for this exhibit we require volunteers to act as hosts to the exhibit throughout the summer.
Planning has begun on our portion of the bike path thanks to the Semprebon funds. DuBois & King has started to work on the layout for the path and sculpture garden. The plans and material estimates will enable us to apply for grants and raise funds to construct the path that will make our property accessible, useful and enjoyable to walkers and bikers alike.
In late January, when the city budget and the City Place development details have been finalized, look for a public presentation to Barre City Council of the survey and forum results. In the meantime, the VGM board will continue to discuss the priorities identified by community members at the forum and make plans on how best to move the project forward.
So in this season of celebration, let’s be inspired by our belief in the importance of our granite stories. Spread the word that the Vermont Granite Museum is important to our community and is worthy of our continued efforts. We will see the museum completed when you believe it is possible and focus on that belief.
If you would like to volunteer please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For updates, check out our website at www.granitemuseum.org and friend us on Facebook.
Patricia L. Meriam is chairwoman of the Vermont Granite Museum and Stone Arts School.
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