About the Vermont Humanities Council

Because Ideas Matter

Supporting Public Health by Pausing our Events

Illustration from “Ferdinand the Bull” by Robert Lawson.

Dear Friends,

We often use the story of Ferdinand the Bull in our early literacy programs. If you recall, Ferdinand’s friends run and jump around the field to prove that they’re the ones who should be chosen for the bullfight. But Ferdinand chooses a different approach. He opts to just sit quietly and smell the flowers.

Our current situation is not one of our choosing. And we know that this is a very stressful moment for many in our community. But it may be time to sit quietly and take a moment to reflect, especially for those of us with the option to do so. Cultural organizations like ours can support public health by pausing our work.

Vermont Humanities is postponing our public events for the foreseeable future, due to the increasing number of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases worldwide, and in response to the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation to cancel or postpone all public events that may draw over 50 people.

We do not make this decision lightly. We partner with dozens of libraries, schools, and community centers around Vermont to present over 800 events each year. We support hundreds of scholars, teachers, artists, and performers with our work.

Many of our partners have already postponed or cancelled events. Some other partners, who host some of our smaller programs like reading and discussion groups, are still considering whether they will postpone programs or move them into virtual spaces. Many libraries across the state are switching to online service only, and schools are closing.

We will keep the calendar of events page on our website updated with the latest information, and post regular updates to Twitter and Facebook. We have cancelled our First Wednesdays lectures scheduled for April and May.

But during this time of social distancing, we will meet our mission via our social media and digital channels. Look for us to share talks, videos, and podcasts from our archive, as well as new content like study guides, discussion group materials, and other resources that you can use with your family, friends, and community members in virtual gathering places like Skype, Zoom, Google groups, or Facebook.

We are asking our partnering organizations to provide us with updates regarding postponements and cancellations, so that we can coordinate our rescheduling efforts. Partners that postpone or cancel events due to public health concerns will be afforded the same help that we initially provided. And we ask you to continue to support cultural organizations in your community.

We are monitoring the situation carefully and will provide links to information and updates as they become available. In the meantime, our partners at the Vermont Department of Libraries are maintaining a Coronavirus Information resource page.

Please contact us if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback; we’re here to help. While I hope you’ll continue to interact with us online in the coming weeks, I also hope you will take a moment to just “sit quietly and the smell the flowers.” They are coming soon, and even the Coronavirus can’t stop spring.

Stay safe,

Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup signature

Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup
Executive Director

List of Postponed or Cancelled Events

Here’s a listing of the Vermont Humanities events that have been postponed or cancelled due to concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19.)