The lilacs are in full bloom and the green grass is growing -- sure signs it's springtime at Shelburne Museum.
"The two weeks leading up to opening day are a mad house -- the full staff are fully engaged getting the grounds groomed beautifully," said Museum Director Tom Denenberg.
Opening day is always a big affair. About 2,000 people make their way to the grounds, where there are activities for people of all ages -- from arts and crafts, to tea parties with your favorite dolls.
"I got to make a box. It looks great," said one young participant.
"I really like the Ticonderoga," said Colin Halliburton, another young museum-goer "It's old and it sailed and now you an see it and actually can explore in it."
Halliburton loves coming every year with his family. But this year is different -- organizers say it's the last of it's kind.
"This is our 66th season. It's very exciting for us. Once we are open for the season, we are never closing again," Denenberg said. A new Arts and Education Center set to open August 18th will stay open year round. The museum is traditionally closed after the fall tourist season until May. "That will become a mini Shelburne Museum in the winter time, so the Center for Art and Education and the visitors center will be open."
Denenberg said the new building --which will host temporary exhibitions, classes, and has an auditorium for music events and film series -- is part of an effort to reconnect with the community. "We have the new building which opens in August and we have this wonderful new fence where people can actually see the museum grounds, so we're beginning to reorient the museum toward Route 7, so the museum becomes part of the village and part of the community," Denenberg said.
Building on a bond between the museum and the town it calls home.
The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October. In November the new winter schedule kicks in and the museum will be open 10-5 every day except Monday.