Friday, March 4, 2011

A Sappy Time of Year

A folk art model of Vermont maple sugaring.

Town Meeting Day in Vermont heralds the traditional start of the maple sugaring season.

In honor of the beginning of maple sugaring festivities, we will give you a behind-the-scenes look at all of Shelburne Museum's sugaring equipment. Keep in mind, there are much more advanced techniques for maple sugaring today.


Shelburne Museum's (Sweetened) Condensed Guide to Historic Maple Sugaring

By Fran and Monica (resident experts)

1. Sugar Maple trees need to be tapped and a sap spout inserted. We have many sap spouts in our collection, including some of metal...

...and others of wood.

2. The sap is collected in sap buckets and transferred to larger tanks or buckets. We have some pretty neat buckets in our collection.

Monica inspects some of our buckets in Dutton House.

3. You then use a yoke to transport the sap-filled buckets to an evaporator. A yoke is worn over your shoulders and helps you bear the weight of these heavy loads.

Fran holds one of our finest wooden yokes.

4. Maple sap could also be transported in hauling tanks instead of buckets.

This is a model of a hauling tank. Models like these were used a trade fairs as demonstrative tools.

5. Using an evaporator, the sap is heated and condenses into maple syrup. Evaporators can be quite large, but we have a nice model evaporator in our collection.

One of our nicest glass maple syrup bottles came from Wilmington, Vermont.

Maple syrup is truly one of Vermont's treasures. We hope you enjoy maple sugaring season!


  1. It is so neat to see these items! My grandfather and uncle used to use two huge, beautiful draft horses to draw a sledge through the woods to carry the sap. This was in Waterville, Vermont. My parents have some lovely old black and white photos of Gramp engaged in sugaring activities.

  2. It's that time of year again. Hurrah!