Art Works and Historical Items of Note

“Adaptation/6,” Steel Rings Suspended with Maple Seedlings in Web by Gowri Savoor

Location: Stearns Student Center, 2nd floor, next to Stage Space

Plaque Reads: Constructed from maple seedlings, cotton thread and encircled by a steel frame, Adaptation/6 explores the hierarchical relationship between the three materials, each of which have been forced into an unnatural state of being, yet depend on one another for their existence. The artwork is a scrutiny of man’s complex relationship with nature.

Date: 2008


Admiral George Dewey’s Desk

Location: Dean of Students Office, Dewey Hall

Background:  One of Johnson State College’s most famous alumni, naval hero Admiral George Dewey (1837-1917), used this desk when he was a student in Chesamore Hall. He studied at the Lamoille County Grammar School (our precursor school) in 1850 and 1851, before going on to Norwich and then the United States Naval Academy and his illustrious naval career. He served in the Civil War on Admiral Farragut's flagship. He was very famous in his day and best known for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish American War. On April 27, 1898 he sailed from China with orders to attack the Spanish at Manila Bay. He arrived at the mouth of the bay late the night of April 30, and the following morning attacked at first light. Within six hours he had sunk or captured the entire Spanish Pacific fleet under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón and silenced the shore batteries at Manila, without the loss of a single life on the American side.

Date: Desk was used in the 1850s in Chesamore Hall.

Ceremonial Mace

Location: Martinetti Conference Room case

Background: The ceremonial mace is carried in all college ceremonies, such as Commencement and Opening Convocation, and is carried by the most senior member of the faculty. John Lord had the mace made in 1985, during President Eric Gilbertson’s administration. It was made of black walnut by a local artisan, and has an engraving of the College Seal on it.

Date: Made in 1985

Chesamore Bell Tower/Alumni Clock Tower

Location: Center of campus, near Stearns Student Center

Background: This clock tower was built to house the historic Chesamore Bell, thanks to the donations of alumni and current and past faculty and staff.  The Chesamore Bell originally hung in Chesamore Hall, on the main street of Johnson, which was the main building for this school from the 1830s until the 1950s and continued in use for classes until the 1970s. The bell was made by Meneely & Kimbery, Troy, New York, in 1873.

Date: Dedicated on September 24, 2011


Chesamore Honor Society Book

Location: Academic Dean’s Office

Background: The Chesamore Honors Society was established in 1988 to recognize students who have achieved academic excellence. Newly inducted members were invited to sign the Chesamore Honor Society book, until recently, at an annual dinner. The last signing was in 2008.

Date: 1988 to 2008.

Cyrus McQueen Tapestry

Location: Bentley Hall, stairwell

Plaque Reads: Professor McQueen 1951-1999.

Background: Plaque woven by Doris Florig, hand woven of hand dyed wool and linen.

Cyrus McQueen, Professor in the Dept. of Environmental & Health Sciences, passed away on April 12, 1999 following a struggle with cancer. Cyrus was an inspiring and beloved teacher, and a noted scientific researcher.  He was appointed to the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1987, promoted early to Associate Professor in 1992, on the strength of his teaching and scholarly work, and promoted to full Professor in 1998.  In addition to being a devoted and popular faculty member, and a widely published internationally known researcher in the field of bryophytes, he was a musician who played the guitar and the bagpipes. 

Date: 1999

Elizabeth Billings Tapestries: Be Not Indifferent

Location: Willey Library and Learning Center (LLC), Library

Background: The power of the written word, Vermont’s rich history, and subtle beauty are all woven into the tapestries that enrich the JSC Library. Installed in April 1998, these weavings are the work of Vermont artist Elizabeth Billings, who entitled them “Be Not Indifferent.” The installation begins with a large tapestry over the entry to the Library, and continues as a unifying theme over cornices and above windows through the three levels of the building. Elizabeth Billings spent the better part of a year creating these ikat panels, blending her skill as a weaver with her “native Vermonter” feelings for the state and its environment, using quotations from famous and ordinary Vermonters from the 1700s to present.  The installation was funded by the Vermont Art in State Buildings fund. See the article in the 1998 issue of Johnson Views for a full description.

Date: Installed in April 1998

Ellsworth Collections

Location: Exhibited in Ellsworth Room or stored in Ellsworth Archives, 2nd floor of the Willey Library and Learning Center (LLC)

Background: The Ellsworth Trust is a private foundation that enriches higher education at JSC and the study of political science and history through scholarships for undergraduates, annual lectures which bring visiting scholars to campus for lectures and seminars, grants to fund multicultural events, and travel grants for students and alumni. The Trust maintains a collection of artifacts and slides.

Ellsworth Conference Table

Location: Willey Library and Learning Center, 1st floor

Background: This cherry conference table was originally in Professor Ellsworth’s classroom in Dewey. It is currently on loan to the college from the Ellsworth Trust.

Endless Tablecloth, Sculpture by Cestmir Suska

(Map - 14)

Location: Between Dibden and Dewey

Plaque Reads: Endless Table cloth, inspired by a Czech folktale of having plenty.

Date: 2006

Fuel, Woodblock Print by Robert Slayton, 1936

Location: Library (LLC)
Background: Generously donated to Johnson State College by Reverend John Paterson in 2008
Date: 2008

Ground Breaking Shovel

Location: Martinetti Conference Room Case, Martinetti

Background: This is the shovel used to break ground in all major construction at Johnson State College, since 1999.  It was most recently used in the renovation of the Stearns Student Center.

Date: Spring 2000

Johnson State College Alumni Council Archives

Location: Willey Library and Learning Center (LLC), 3rd Floor of Library,

Background: The purpose of the Alumni Council Archives  is to collect, inventory, preserve, catalog, and maintain the College’s history and archives for future generations, to make the collection available to faculty, students, staff, alumni, and the broader community, and to foster institutional pride. The archives include historical photographs, course catalogs, yearbooks, alumni magazines (Johnson Views), student newspapers, honors convocation programs, programs of college events, such as ground breakings and dedications; course catalogs, and viewbooks.  Contact the Library or the JSC Alumni Office for more information.

Date: Established in 2004

Johnson State College Emeritus Faculty Photographs

Location: Willey Library and Learning Center (LLC), ground floor of Library

Background: The Vermont State College Board elects retired professors to emeritus status.  Johnson State College’s Emeritus Professors are Philip Chiaravalle, John Duffy, Robert A. Ellsworth, Selma Guttman, Robert Hutchinson, Walter A. Minaert, Margaret Ottum, Kenneth Raymond, Doris Spencer, Edward Stefaniak, Albert Swinchoski, and Alice Whiting.

Date: 1979 - present

Click here for more information

Johnson State College Presidents and Principals Photographs

Location: Willey Library and Learning Center (LLC), Library, first floor

Background: Photographs of the presidents and principals of JSC and its precursor institutions hang in the Library.

Date: Hung in Library, fall 2008

Click here to view the portraits and list of presidents and principals

JSC Banner

Background: This is the banner that hangs at Commencement each year.

Date: Purchased in 1984.

Julian Scott Oil Painting of Major General William Farrar (“Baldy”) Smith

Location: Willey Library Learning Center (LLC), ground floor of Library, when not hanging at the Vermont State House.

Background: This oil painting was painted by Julian Scott and is co-owned by JSC and the Friends of the Vermont State House. When in Montpelier it hangs in the State Capital Building’s Cedar Creek Room.

It will return to JSC in 2012. During the Civil War, Major General Smith commanded both the 6th (Army of the Potomac) and the 18th (Army of the James) corps.

Background: This paragraph comes from the exhibit catalog prepared by Robert J. Titterton for the “Julian Scott: A Return to Johnson” exhibition in Dibden from September 5 to 30, 1989: Born in St. Albans, Smith was a direct descendant of Vermont’s first magistrate, a congressman, and two governors. While a cadet at West Point, his thinning hair prompted classmates to dub him “Baldy” a moniker issued prematurely as this portrait attests. In October 1863, Smith was serving as the chief engineer of the Army of the Cumberland. The Union Army was bottled up at Chattanooga without supplies. Smith supervised construction of a pontoon bridge across the Tennessee River. This simple but inspired act relieved the siege and contributed to victories at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge Smith is pictured before his engineering feat that came to be known as “The Cracker Line.”

Date: Purchased by Johnson State College and the Friends of the Vermont State House in 1990.

Kate Pond Sundial

Location: Center of campus between LLC and Dewey (Map -3)

Plaque Reads: “Sundial” (Renovated, 2004) Kate Pond, Sculptor. Telling Time with the Johnson Campus Sundial (our dial is set to tell solar time, not clock time). The dial tells a unique ‘sun time’ that occurs only at this site for the following reasons. 1) Longitudinal difference —The sun appears earlier here than at the center of the Eastern Standard Time Zone in Philadelphia. The difference is approximately 10 minutes before the time in Philadelphia. 2) The Earth wobbles —Our planet wobbles on its journey around the sun making the time at the sundial fast or slow according to the time of year. 3) Daylight savings time — During the winter months we turn our clocks back an hour making the dial an hour slower. So... why have a dial that is slow or fast according to 'clock time;? Maybe it gives us a chance to pause, and realize, that surrounding our busy lives are things/ That just keep going without regard for society’s standardized rules and regulations. Enjoy these differences, and don’t depend on the dial to get you to class on time. You might try the following: - Notice how the gnomon’s shadow grows longer as the sunlight gets shorter each day as we go in to winter. — Mark the tip of the shadow every hour on the day of fall and spring equinox, you will make a straight line that stretches west to east. — Next spring, as the shadow lengthens, think of local native peoples rejoicing when the snows retreated and the sun returned. Sundial Longitude 72 40’ Latitude 44’ 38’ Eastern Standard Time/ Kate Pond Autumnal Equinox 1988

Date: September 1988

Legislative Action for McClelland Hall

Location: McClelland Hall

Background: This is the legislative action authorizing the building of McClelland Hall.

Date: April 5, 1941

Lula Potter Cup

Location: Martinetti Conference Room Case, Martinetti

Background: The Lula F. Potter Cup, named in honor of Lula Potter (1885-1974), a legislator and community leader who began her education at Johnson State College in the early 1900s, is awarded to the two students who have the highest cumulative scholastic averages in their graduating class.

Date: 1959-present

McClelland Library Windsor Chairs

Location: Various offices around campus

Background: These chairs were originally for the library tables in McClelland when it opened in 1942. Now they are scattered around campus in various offices, especially in McClelland.

Date: 1940s

Portrait of Donald W. McClelland

Location: McClelland Hall

Background: Donald W. McClelland was Principal of Johnson State Normal School from 1935 to 1944. This is the portrait of Dr. McClelland, in whose honor McClelland Hall was named.

Date: Painted in the 1940s.

Portrait of Walter Minaert, Director of Athletics 1947-1981.

Location: Hung in SHAPE 1981-2009. Now in Alumni Archives.

Richard Anderson Award                                       

Location: SHAPE

Background: Established as a memorial by the parents of Richard Anderson. The award is given each year to a graduate who has exhibited academic achievement, athletic ability, and good sportsmanship

Ruth Greene Mould Paintings

Location: Dibden Center for the Arts

Background: Ruth Greene Mould (1894-1979), a well-known Vermont portrait artist, lived and painted in Johnson from 1927-40, during the years that her husband was superintendent at the talc mills. Over her long career, she painted college presidents, judges, legislators, and ordinary citizens. Her portraits are at the Vermont State House and the Fleming and Bennington Museums, and one was chosen as Vermont’s entry in the 1938 World’s Fair in New York. Her son Channing Mould and his wife Marion (Johnson Normal School, 1938) donated 14 portraits of Johnson citizens and characters and an additional 21 paintings of various subjects to Johnson State College in 1998.

Date: Donated to the College in 1998.  Opening exhibition held July 16, 1998

“Sun and Moon Cycle” Sculpture by Patricia Gorgoza

Location: Outside of SHAPE, by main entrance

Plaque reads: This Sculpture, Sun and Moon Cycle by Patricia Gorgoza was donated by the Johnson State College Alumni 1989.

 North Side: The New Moon appears in the West. The Youth Rides. The Waterfall: Activity. The Full Moon Rises High Above the Trees. The Sleeping Bird and Watchful Goose and Owl: Repose. Under the Old Moon the Old Man Sings: Experience. The Fish, Snake and Frog represent Regeneration. Dawn Arrives in the East. South Side: The Sun Rising. The Maiden Bathes: Hygiene. At Noon the Athlete Reaches for the Sun: Courage and Aspiration.  At Sunset the Sower Casts Seeds. The Dove Soars: Fulfillment.

Date: 1989


The Meditators, Bronze Sculpture by Won Lee

Location:  Overlooks the mountains in front of Dewey (Map- 17)

Plaque reads: Bronze Sculpture Placed in 2007

Date: 2007

The Rock

Location: Outside of SHAPE

Background: The Rock has been a landmark and icon for the college since it emerged from excavations when Dibden was under construction (completed in 1971). It was moved to the rise where the LLC currently stands, and was first painted as a prank by the senior class of 1970 a few days before Commencement. The President at the time was not amused, and threatened to cancel graduation if the perpetrators were not caught. No one confessed (despite some anxious moments, alumni report), graduation went on, and “painting the Rock” became the standard and respectable campus activity before any major happening (such as blood drives, convocations, graduations, etc.) which it continues to be to this day.  When the new LLC was planned in the early 1990s, consideration was given to removing the rock. Alumni from the 1980s held a rally and wrote letters to the Administration, and the Rock was saved and moved to its current location below SHAPE.


Trophy Case in Martinetti Conference Room

Location:  Martinetti Hall Conference Room, Ground floor

Background: The Martinetti Conference Room Trophy case contains the following:

Lula F. Potter Cup and accompanying plaques - 1959-present

1867 Medal- to honor establishment of Normal School

  • Mayflower Conference Cross Country 1st Place Trophy- 1986
  • Carnival Queen Trophy- 1953-1965
  • Emily Stevens Pumley Cup -1960-1969
  • Vermont Employees Corporate Cup Challenge Certificates (men and women’s) – 1988.
  •  Groundbreaking  shovel used in 1988, 1995, 2008
  • Johnson Normal School Alumni Award to the Student Showing the Greatest Overall         
  •  Achievement
  • 1985 Mayflower Certificate Champions, Cross Country Running Team Trophy
  • 3rd Annual Vermont State Agency Run 5K- 1989
  • Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports- States Agency Race
  • 1985 Mayflower Conference Champions- Men’s Soccer Team
  • First Place Eastern Inter Collegiate Association Ski Association Division II Championship Plate\
  • 1986 First Annual President’s Bowl Winter Weekend Champions

Date: see dates above

*John Barrett, Admiral George Dewey, A Sketch of the Man, New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1899, pp. 10, 234, 255.  There are two references to Dewey’s schooling in Vermont found in the index, but most interestingly, the appendix (p. 255) includes a “biographical notice in record of Norwich University graduates” with the statement, “He fitted for college in the Montpelier schools and the Johnson, Vt., Academy.”

** John Johnston, “Keeping Time: Art Meets Science in Johnson State Sundial,” Burlington Free Press (September 21, 1988), p. 3D.