The Granger House is a historical and immensely important part of both the town and the university’s history, and in the recent months, many have noticed the ongoing project operating in and around the house and grounds.
This project, known widely as the Granger House Project, began work in the fall of last year when the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a $500,000 grant to the university to complete the project. For months, plans were made and opportunities were created. Finally, around the beginning of the recent summer, things were finally set into motion — something many students have noticed while walking to and from their classes.
The fence is gone, there are tarps on the ground and people are frequently milling about, working toward goals the likes of which most students have probably never seen before.
But why is the Granger House Project so significant, what exactly has been going on there, and what is the future for the site?
“The Granger House Project is an ongoing project that has the goal of preserving the Granger House, which is a historic house that the university owns,” archaeology, geology and applied anthropology student Philip Williams said.
Williams has been heavily involved in the Granger House project since it began in the spring of 2022. He was a part of the group of students who engaged in the four-week program on campus, working at the house doing archeological and historical research into the house.
Williams was also a part of a small group of students who stayed for another five weeks after the initial four came to an end, remaining on campus to participate in a paid archaeological internship.
There have been several significant finds over the course of the project, according to Williams, including plates, pottery and other items of interest.
“We also found very cool smaller items like a bone domino. And something like that tells us people were not only living there, but they were also setting up livelihood and had games going,” Williams said. “The Granger House has a connected history to Castleton, but the goal is to preserve the house, have an active archaeological site as well as turn the house into somewhat of a museum as we move further into the project.”
Matthew Moriarty, the coordinator of the Archeology, Geography and Applied Anthropology Program, elaborated on the future of the project and the exciting plans for the site ahead.
“It’s a fabulous, really important local house. The potential long-term goal is that we may want it to be a museum and learning lab, and the museum part we want to be hugely interactive — involving traditional elements but we also want to utilize some of the technologies we’ve been using (GIS, 3D, etc.) to make it an attractive experience that will draw people in,” Moriarty said.
According to Moriarty, the goal of the Granger House Project is to open the site up to the community, sharing the findings made there and bringing its lengthy history to light.
“We want the museum to reflect collaboration between students and faculty on this campus and part of the future Vermont State University,” Moriarty said.
To learn more about the Granger House Project, visit the upcoming open house on Sept. 10 during Homecoming weekend from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.