Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Almost Utopia

Yesterday we were enjoying a visit to the small Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, Vermont. I was pleasantly surprised to see that in addition to the expected "folklife" items of quilts, duck decoys, and the like, the center celebrates the contemporary cultural diversity of Vermont. Working with refugee communities, the Center has brought, for example, Congolese drummers to the State House in Montpelier.

We were admiring the diversity of offerings in the gift shop when the attendant there invited us to the "Almost Utopia" exhibit upstairs. It is an excellent example of mid-twentieth century efforts around what is now called sustainability. Through old photographs and recent interviews, the exhibit describes the 1950s intentional community of Pikes Falls.

Middlebury itself is a delightful place to visit, full of shops that support local artisans and farmers. A visit any time would be worthwhile and should include a stop at the Folklife Center. Get there before September 5 to see the Pikes Falls exhibit.

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