Institutional News

Landscape and Literature

The Robert Frost Stone House Museum launches the 2024 season. 

Bennington College’s Robert Frost Stone House Museum in Shaftsbury, Vermont, is entering its seventh season as a part of the College and the summer following the 150th anniversary of Frost’s birth, which was on March 26. The museum brings students and staff together with community organizations and neighbors with the aim to animate the peaceful landscape with art and purpose. This year, they are continuing successful projects and introducing new ones.

The more we can bring the Museum to life with the type of industry and creative pursuits that Frost himself engaged with, the more we will see the connections between this landscape and his words, and the more we foster a new generation of writers, artists, and thinkers. 

Erin McKenny, director of the Robert Frost Stone House Museum

The museum is open 10 AM-4:00 PM weekends through May and Thursday-Monday from June-October. Its focus is on providing access to the activities, both writing and agricultural, Frost undertook during his time there. 

Robert Frost Stone House Museum

Frost lived in the Stone House in Shaftsbury 1920–1929, during the time he composed many of the poems contained in New Hampshire, which won him his first Pulitzer Prize in 1924, and in West-Running Brook, published in 1928. McKenny is grateful to the previous stewards of the Robert Frost Stone House Museum. The Friends of Robert Frost, who owned the house from 2002 to 2017, completed many restoration projects, including refinishing the floors, re-pointing the stone mortar, rebuilding the stone walls, and replanting Frost’s orchard with cuttings from the original trees grafted to hearty rootstock. Above the graft, the trees are genetically identical to those Frost planted nearly 100 years ago. They also restored the house with a historically accurate cedar roof and repainted the house as it had been painted in Frost’s time. 

Art and Agriculture

In recent years, gardeners have been common visitors at the Frost House. They arrive each week through the growing season with arms full of produce as a part of the Museum’s “Grow a Row” program. The Museum challenges local gardeners to devote a row of their gardens to area food charities. The Museum collects the produce and distributes it to food banks. 

“We find the ‘Grow a Row’ dropoff at the Robert Frost House to be very convenient and personally rewarding,” said participant Rick Kobik, who, with his wife Greer, has grown vegetables for the program since it began in 2020. “It's a good feeling to be able to share our garden's bounty with those in need of fresh, healthy vegetables.” 

A collaboration with Bennington County Beekeeping Club reintroduced an observation hive to the property last year. Frost had an observation hive in a window of the house when he lived there. The collaboration continues throughout the 2024 season, so visitors can feel the same amazement Frost himself likely felt seeing the bees return to the hive loaded with pollen. 

“With these projects and others, this place helps people understand what a successful writing life looks like,” she said. “Creativity does not exist in a vacuum. The landscape, the work, the sense of place, is all a part of it and feeds the work.”

Improvements to the Barn

Several organizations, including the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s Historic Preservation Barn Grant program, and the Edwin S. Webster Foundation have granted nearly $50,000 in total funds to help restore and increase the use of the late English bank barn on the property. The metal roof was replaced in December, and water, electricity, and Wi-Fi services will be added throughout the spring.

“I am so grateful for the support of these generous funders to complete this work,” said McKenny. “While these projects require a substantial investment, I know they will be worthwhile in expanding our capacity for meaningful programs for the community.” 

These repairs and improvements to the barn, the property’s largest indoor space, will allow the Museum to host even more of the readings, concerts, and workshops, like wreath-making and basket-weaving workshops, that have dotted its calendar over the past several years. 

A grant from the Preservation Trust of Vermont will provide funds to host a talk about historic barns this season. 

Old Meets New

A new project by Bennington College student Ahmed Shuwehdi ’25 will make a virtual reality experience of Robert Frost's “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” available to museum visitors from the end of May through October. 

“The project is designed for children but open to everyone,” said Shuwehdi. “The users will put on a virtual reality headset and have a 3-minute experience.”

Shuwehdi has been studying computer science and creative expression at Bennington. This project gave him an opportunity to combine his academic interests with his admiration for Frost’s work.

“Frost was a pretty famous guy. His house is such a monument here,” he said. “His poetry is very simple but has a unique attraction.” 

Throughout the past 3 years, Shuwehdi has been working to write and refine code for virtual reality experiences. This is the first time he is showing his work. 

“I write code telling the snow that it is a particle, telling the fire that it is a fire,” he said. “It is trial and error.” 

Once the user puts on the virtual reality headset, they will experience a small peaceful world. They will see a one-room house in a snowy landscape. Users can walk around and interact with the world. Then, they will hear the poem as read by a voice actor. 

“I wanted visitors to the museum to live in that moment and see what it was like,” said Shuwehdi, who hopes to make virtual reality experiences for museums. “If I get good feedback and people enjoy it, I plan to create virtual reality experiences of other poems.”  

Upcoming Workshops

As students use the house for their coursework, the public is invited to experience the exhibits, relax in the peacefulness of the grounds, hike the Robert Frost Trail, browse the gift shop, and attend the popular events and workshops held at the house. 

Planned workshops include Weaving Together: A Naturally-Dyed Potholder Workshop at 12:30-3:00 PM July 28 and August 11 and a Braided-in Rug Workshop on September 8. Later this fall, they will offer a Historic Vermont Barn Lecture, supported by the Preservation Trust of Vermont; Bread and Puppet Theater; and a Vermont Poets-of-Color Reading. 

“The Museum offers so much between its exhibitions, programs, and the beautiful grounds,” said McKenny. “We look forward to a wonderful season and lots of visitors throughout the summer and fall.”  

McKenny encourages those interested in more information about events and workshops at Robert Frost Stone House Museum to email or visit their Instagram or sign up for the Museum's newsletter for updates. To support the Museum or become a member, visit