Campus & Buildings

The Coach Barn: Welcoming Educators & Guests

Posted by Holly Brough
Director of Communications


Educators at our Education for Sustainability Institute, 2018.

The Coach Barn hosts community and educational events for Shelburne Farms. Our community — both near and far — gather for the Vermont Fresh Network's Annual Forum Dinner and Vermont Mozart Festival summer concerts. After school winds down, the space comes alive with teachers who gather from around the world to explore education for sustainability and what it might look like in their classrooms and schools. Our programs inspire educators and renew their passion for teaching—to help build a healthier and more just world:

Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability

Student teams design year-long projects addressing one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This program started as a collaboration among Shelburne Farms, Vermont educators Kate Toland and Lindsey Halman, the Rubenstein School of the University of Vermont, the Greater Burlington Sustainability Education Network, and Vermont Learning for the Future. Now, Cultivating Pathways has grown to include other community partners, hundreds of youth, and their teachers.

2019-20 Northeast Farm to School Institute

Vermont FEED, our Farm to School partnership project with NOFA-VT offers a year-long professional development program to support selected schools in designing and implementing effective, school-wide Farm to School programs— programs that create a culture of wellness, improve food quality and access, engage students in agriculture and nutrition education, and strengthen local food systems.

Education for Sustainability: Summer Institute

School teams spend five rich days with colleagues from around the country at an informative and restorative institute created to give you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of Education for Sustainability. This week is part conference, part workshop, part retreat. Designed to be dynamic and democratic, the Institute offers teachers the time and space to develop projects of personal interest while providing opportunities to learn from colleagues and other leaders in field of Education for Sustainability.


But the Coach Barn didn't always host educators and community members. Here's a pictorial walk back through time to illustrate the evolution of this beautiful structure.


Educators often gather in the courtyard for opening or closing activities.


When family descendants founded the nonprofit Shelburne Farms in 1972, the Coach Barn became the organization's first center for education programs.


The Coach Barn also hosted our annual Harvest Festival for years, until the event was moved to the Farm Barn.


In the 1950s and 1960s, the Coach Barn housed cattle, and Derick Webb hosted cattle auctions in the courtyard.


The back of the Coach Barn in the 1950s. (photo: Shelburne Farms Archives, Kitty Webb Harris Collection)


At the turn of the 20th century, the main floor of the Coach Barn stabled horses...


...carriages (in what is now the West Hall)...


...and saddlery (in what is now the East Hall). Upstairs, the barn stored hay and off-season vehicles, with an elevator to move the vehicles up there. It also had well-appointed accommodations for groomsmen. The Coach Barn boasted a chiming clock, heat, electricity and running water.


The Coach Barn was completed in 1901, the last major building designed by architect Robert H. Robertson (1849-1919) for the agricultural estate of Lila and W. Seward Webb. Here it is soon after construction. The roof's dark slate was quarried in Brownsville, Maine.


Submitted by Pat Reaoner on Tue , 06/18/2019 - 08:40 PM

This is great info, Holly! Some of it is new to me and the pictures help put it
all in perspective. Talk about changing landscapes!

Submitted by Mary Van Vleck on Tue , 06/18/2019 - 09:30 PM

Thank you Holly! This is one of the most useful and delightful articles I've ever seen on the Farm. I am very grateful for the photographs, especially of the horses in the Coach Barn stalls, and the cattle and Derek Webb in front of the same barn, just as I remember him from the 1960s.

Submitted by Douglas Radick on Wed , 06/19/2019 - 12:16 PM

Wonderful building, with great historical photo timeline. Thank you so much!

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