Vermont Humanities

Before Your Time Podcast Series

Men filming in front of a Vermont store in the 1950s

Before Your Time is produced by Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Historical Society. 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.


Camera crew shooting in Pittsford Vermont in 1950

Before Your Time: 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?

Boy looking into mailbox. Photo by Library of Congress

Before Your Time: Send Me a Box

We examine some of the products that people have mailed from and to Vermont, from maple syrup to complete houses and almost everything in between.

Kenneth O'Donnell by Suzanne Opton

Before Your Time: Vermont on the Silver Screen

From “A Vermont Romance” to “Funny Farm,” our state has been featured in films for over a century. What are the myths that Hollywood creates about our lives in Vermont? And what are the myths that we create ourselves?

Children gathered on highway for Green Up Day in 1970

Before Your Time: Green Up Day

Vermont’s Green Up Day celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In 1970, the day featured closed interstate highways, coerced schoolchildren, and shouted encouragement from a buzzing Cessna.

Three women who hiked the Long Trail in 1927.

Before Your Time: The Long Enough Trail

Stories from those who founded, hiked, and loved Vermont’s Long Trail, including the first women to through-hike the “footpath in the wilderness” in 1927.

Before Your Time: Princes and Free Men

It’s well-known that Vermont is one of the whitest states in the Union. And so the stories of African American Vermonters can sometimes get forgotten, no matter how important they have been to our state’s and our nation’s history.

Jose before barbed wire fence by Marek Bennett

Before Your Time: After the Crossing

Many different groups of people, from many different continents, have helped build our state. But from the 19th century through 2019, the stories of immigrants have largely been excluded from the popular image of Vermont.

Ryan Newswanger with Glenn Eames and old bike

Before Your Time: Green Mountain Grab Bag

It’s a shame that some of the things we record get edited out of our stories. So here’s an episode of lost clips: bike whistles, pewter purists, halfway houses on the border, needlework, and the grave of “Vermont’s Donald Trump.”

Proud not Cowed T-shirt

Before Your Time: A Place for Us

Queer lives and queer histories in Vermont were often kept private for good reason: the fear of losing one’s job, home, or family. The fear of violence. But it’s important to know that LGBTQ people are here, have always been here, and are part of the state’s history.

Woman with horse and Kendalls Spavin Cure pennant

Before Your Time: Herbs and Remedies

It can seem like every town in Vermont once had a pharmacist brewing their own special blend of medicine. Some of these cures were derived from herbal folk remedies. Others were created from a lot of alcohol, some food coloring, and a pinch of carefully honed hokum.

Image of Madeline Kunin press conference

Before Your Time: The Power of the Press

A massive wooden printing press made in the mid-17th century has a place of pride in the Vermont History Museum, and not just because it’s old. It represents both the history of written law in the state, and the crucial role that journalism—the press—plays in a democracy.

Image of Dimetrodon building

Before Your Time: Built To Last

Plenty of Vermont’s historic buildings are traditional homes, churches, and meeting houses. But as the state changed in the 20th century, its architecture did too. Now experts are looking more closely at buildings that look nothing like what came before.

Vermont Humanities*** November 6, 2017