Dorset Vermont Historical Society Bley House Museum
Current Exhibits



Current Exhibits
On Display Until May, 2019

Textiles in Dorset
A Sampler

In the days before synthetic fabrics, cloth was spun from sources like plants that could be grown (e.g. cotton and flax) or sheep that were raised on farms.


Textile work was performed primarily by girls and women.  This included spinning the thread and yarn, which would then be used in making needlework designs, bedspreads, tablecloths, blankets, clothing, quilts--and, yes, samplers.  As the 19th century progressed, women found it easier to purchase mass-produced cloth and clothing.

The items in this exhibit provide a small glimpse into the long tradition of textile work done here in Dorset, from pillowcases made in the 1790s to blankets crafted by a local company in the 1970s.
Main Gallery

Dorset Artists
(1806 – 1924)

Dorset was home to several artists even before developing a reputation as a haven for artists. 
Itinerant artists and stencillers passed through the area in the early 1800s, while other artists
grew up in Dorset, but pursued their careers elsewhere.  Hobbyist artists defined Dorset art in the mid-century, and professional artists, drawn by professional or family connections, arrived in the last part of the century.


The artists displayed here have nothing in common, other than a connection to Dorset.  They left here; they came here; they left, and came back.  They were self-taught, trained under professionals, were amateurs, were professionals.  They worked in oil, pastel, charcoal, and watercolor, painted portraits, photographed people and events.

The works of most of these artists are rarely exhibited.  One reason is that none, or few, of their works remain in the area.  Another is that the works have been newly discovered. Another is the artists passed through, leaving perhaps one or two pieces in their wake.
Venetian Red Room

The Dorset Village Historic District, Part II
Church Street and West Road


Part Two of a two part exhibit on the Dorset Village Historic District highlights the homes and businesses on Church Street and the Dorset West Road.
Upstairs Hallway

Recent Acquisitions and Images of Church Street


Each year, the Conference Room showcases paintings recently donated to our collections.  This year, we also have several paintings and photographs which portray the Church Street section of the Dorset Village Historic District, to complement the exhibit in the hallway.
Conference Room

Huntington Pratt Gilbert (1876 – 1962): Photographer


Hunt Gilbert was an egg farmer who lived on the West Road and took out his camera a few days every year and photographed everyday activities in Dorset. Some images he sold as postcards. The Dorset Historical Society owns several hundred of Gilbert’s negatives, donated in 1995 by Anne Gilbert Graham and each year we digitize and print 50 more and exhibit twenty.  Some of these images have not been seen by the public in the hundred years since they were first taken. This exhibit can be seen as the work of a skillful artist, or as an historical time capsule, or both.






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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