Lost in Vermont is a series of immaginary places that don’t actually exist but somehow feel like they do. They are all located in the Vermont that lives in your mind.
If you want to see something really wiggy and wild and maybe a little illegal go to the brand-new Vermont Museum of Museums stat. This place is truly one of a kind.
The VMoM (that’s what the locals call it) is basically a giant mansion doubling as a museum displaying incredibly detailed miniature dioramas of some of the world’s most famous art museums and galleries. We’re talking a hundred pint-sized replicas of places like The Louvre, The Vatican Museums, and The Met. It’s like your own personal whirlwind global museum tour without the long lines, crowds, or need to renew your passport. These aren’t Legos replicas, there are unbelievably detailed models. So detailed you’d wonder if they just shrank the Tate or the Moma and placed it atop a pedestal.
The level of detail in these mini museums is just mind-blowing. The talented and borderline obsessive curator Ray Norman crafted each diorama himself over his 60-year career. You can lose yourself gazing at the tiny replicas of famous artworks and artifacts. The mini Mona Lisa is the size of a postage stamp but captures every brushstroke. It’s nuts.
What’s also nut is Mr. Norman himself. Things take a bit of a peculiar turn. For reasons unknown, Norman has included teeny figurines of his ex-girlfriend Louisa and her family members in each and every diorama display, and he hasn’t portrayed them in the best light, so to speak. The Louisa figures are often set on fire, crushed under fallen statues, or impaled on miniature swords. It’s more than a little disturbing once you catch on. Once you do, you can’t stop looking.
In fact, there are few other slightly sinister Easter eggs hidden throughout the museum connected to Norman’s apparent lifelong grudge against Louisa. The snack bar only sells snacks named after her, like “Louisa’s Leather Pretzel” and “Restrained Ray’s Famous Frozen Custard.” And in the men’s restroom hangs a framed restraining order that the real-life Louisa must have gotten against poor ole Ray. This document dates back to the 1970s. It’s wild.
So while VMoM truly is a one-of-a-kind museum celebrating some of history’s greatest art institutions in unbelievably imaginative detail, the creepy vibe resulting from what seems to be Norman’s inability to get over his ex sort of takes away from the overall experience or makes it a must-see depending on your taste. It’s definitely still worth a visit for the incredible craftsmanship of the dioramas but be prepared for some disturbing emotions simmering underneath the surface. This little museum has some issues. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. Proceed with caution and keep one eye out for tiny fires!