The Hughes Barn Museum is located at 2274 Route 113, in Thetford, Vermont. The Museum, established in 1950, contains a remarkable collection of artifacts and implements from in and around Thetford, representative of rural Vermont life in the 18th and 19th centuries. What follows are floor plans showing permanent exhibits, to give an idea of the scope of the collection.
Areas in the four buildings have been organized by subject: there are spaces dedicated to farming and associated activities, incuding plows and harrows, haying and harvesting equipment, horse harnesses, and cattle yokes. Trades are well represented, including blacksmiths, wheelwrights, stonecutters, carpenters, coopers and cobblers.
A look into domestic chores and the everyday artifacts used during this period may be seen in the Water Room, located on the Main Floor of the Barn, where all manner of water related items are located, including washing machines, dishwashers, and an early bathtub. Also here are a number of horse-drawn conveyances, including a mail stage used between Thetford and Lyme, and a carriage recovered from Lake Fairlee. A steam engine that was formerly used at both the Ely Mine in Vershire and the Elizabeth Mine in Strafford is here, as are large water tubs, and machinery powered by horses and dogs.
Displays dedicated to the production of cheese and the processing of apples are upstairs, in the Main Barn, along with baskets, early china, flatirons, and furniture, some of which was made locally. Also on the Second Floor of the Main Barn are items from Thetford's churches, one-room schoolhouses, Post Offices, and general stores. A section of floor space is dedicated to special exhibits, which change from year to year.
Up the hill from the Main Barn are two structures: the brick Ash House, and the Carriage House. An Ash House was used to store wood ashes from a stove or fireplace. Ashes were used in the production of lye water, an ingredient needed for home soap production. Within the Carriage House are horse-drawn transportation and larger farming implements, as well as early maple sugaring equipment.
Three permanent displays in Building #3 are dedicated to Sheep Raising, Carpentry Planes, and Maple Syrup production. A typical hearth is re-created, with pots, pans and other utensils commonly used in a home kitchen. Textiles are the focus of the remainder of the building, with numerous artifacts displayed that are used in the production of flax(linen) and wool. Typically, at least one loom is set up and in operation, and selected clothing items from our collection are on view. This area is also used for special exhibits.