Morgan museum to move out of Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — The National Museum of the Morgan Horse (NMMH) will be trotting north to the American Morgan Horse Association’s Shelburne headquarters after a five-year stay in rented space at 34 Main St. in Middlebury.
The museum’s impending departure was confirmed early this week through a brief press release issued by the NMMH.
“In an effort of maintaining an actual display, continuing cataloging the current collection, creating a larger digital database, and efficiently managing rising costs, the American Morgan Horse Association Board of Directors, at their Aug. 13 meeting, voted to temporarily move the museum from Middlebury to Shelburne,” the release states.
Museum officials could not be reached to provide additional comment on the upcoming move.
“This relocation allows for both the AMHA Board of Directors and the NMMH Advisory Council to continue their work to maintain and preserve the history of our beloved Morgan horse,” the release continues. “Working together, a strategic plan will be developed to ensure the longevity and permanent future of this vital entity. The process of developing a strategic plan to move the museum forward in the coming years is currently under way and we hope all will continue their support of this vital endeavor.”
Museum officials will continue to work on cataloging the NMMH archives, currently housed in Middlebury College Library’s Special Collections, according to the release. The NMMH’s extensive collection consists of paintings, photographs, prints, letters, ephemera, trophies and sculptures depicting the Morgan horse in various activities from the late 1700s to the present.
It was during the late summer of 2010 that the NMMH signed a five-year lease for 34 Main St. in downtown Middlebury, a spot that had previously hosted Vermont Beads & Fibers.
The move was designed to place the NMMH closer to the University of Vermont Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge and Middlebury College. It was the late Joseph Battell, one of Middlebury’s towering historical figures, who published the first volume of the Morgan Horse Register in 1894, marking the beginning of a formal breed registry.
The NMMH was founded in 1992 by the American Morgan Horse Institute, for the purpose of educating the public about the Morgan horse while collecting, preserving and making available for study art and historical materials related to the storied animal, whose roots date back 1789.
The museum will close to the public on Sept. 2, then reopen in Shelburne on Sept. 30, according to the press release. In the meantime, the museum gift shop is selling merchandise at 50 percent off.

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