Latest Episode: Forests and Frontiers

• a painting from the VHS collections, "Lake Memphremagog," artist unknown from c. 1840; it shows lumbering in progress and a slowly industrializing landscape.

Vermont’s extensive old-growth forests drew representatives from the King’s Navy looking for mast trees. What can their map of timber resources tell us about our relationship to the land, how Vermont defined itself, and how history is saved or not?

Image courtesy of Vermont Historical Society

About the Show

Before Your Time is produced by the Vermont Historical Society and Vermont Humanities. Every episode, we go inside the stacks at the Vermont Historical Society to look at an object from their permanent collection that tells us something unique about our state. Then, we take a closer look at the people, the events, or the ideas that surround each artifact.

Forests and Frontiers

Forests and Frontiers

Vermont’s extensive old-growth forests drew representatives from the King’s Navy looking for mast trees. What can their map of timber resources tell us about our relationship to the land, how Vermont defined itself, and how history is saved or not?

Canal Fever

Canal Fever

In the summer of 1829, three Army surveyors created a map exploring a potential canal route that would have connected Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River. “Canal Fever” was gripping the region, with the success of the Erie Canal. But this quantum leap in transportation technology would have to contend with an even bigger idea: the railroads.

Call it A New Life

Call it A New Life

Technological improvements, from butter churns to electricity, transformed life on Vermont farms from the 1890s through the mid-20th century. Many of these changes eased the workload of Vermont’s farming families. But other changes – done in the name of modernity – had long-term impacts on the future of dairy in our state.

A Foot in Both Worlds

A Foot in Both Worlds

People speaking Spanish as they milk cows may not fit our traditional image of a Vermont farm. But workers from Mexico and Central America are crucial to the state’s economy. And such migrant labor has a long history in Vermont.

The Curious Catamount

The Curious Catamount

Though said to be extinct, catamounts live on in the minds of many Vermonters. In this episode we retrace a Barnard panther hunt from 1881 and consider the hold that these big cats continue to have on our imaginations.

A Town Solves a Problem

A Town Solves a Problem

Town meeting is central to our identity as a little state on a human scale that does things differently. But what happens to town meeting when it needs to change during a pandemic? Or when it changes because Vermont itself has changed?

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