Thursday October 29, 2015
For 15 years, resident Bernie Pfenning has been part of the Vermont National Guard Library and Museum. Over the years, Pfenning has served as president, vice president, and treasurer. He currently is a volunteer and trustee at the museum, which is located in Colchester.
Founded in the early 1970’s, the Vermont National Guard Library and Museum is a showcase for Vermont’s proud military history, dating back to the Revolutionary War. It began solely as a library in an isolated corner of Colchester’s Camp Johnson but was moved to within 100 yards of the front gate about 20 years ago, where it has since expanded and grown into a multi-room facility housing one-of-a-kind historical items, all of which have been donated. The main objective at the museum is preserving the total Vermont military history and honoring the memories of the men and women who served both the state of Vermont and their country.
Since 2000, Pfenning says he has seen the museum grow from having four volunteers and being open one day a week to currently having 25 volunteers and being open four days a week.
Included in the museum’s collection is an oil painting by Vermont artist Charles Andrus. Titled Sheridan’s Ride, it is a 17” x 28” panorama of the civil war painted in 1880, and depicts General Phillip Sheridan rallying the 3rd Vermont Regiment troops as they turned the tide in the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia on October 19, 1864. In addition, there is a World War I room featuring a 40/8 boxcar gifted to Vermonters by the French for their efforts in the European trenches, American flags dating back as far as 1850, and cavalry uniforms worn by Vermonters in the Spanish-American War.
The Vermont National Guard Library and Museum is a non-profit organization run strictly by volunteers like Pfenning. Many of the volunteers are veterans who are available to guide guests through more than 230 years of Vermont military history.
The Vermont National Guard Library and Museum, 789 Vermont National Guard Road, Colchester. (Camp Johnson entrance. Museum on right. Stop at security gate before entering museum.) Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call 802-338-3360, e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.vtguard.com/museum.