MIDDLEBURY-The National Museum of the Morgan Horse is a non-profit devoted to preserving the history of the Morgan Horse.
The museum operates a gallery space in downtown Middlebury that features quarterly rotating exhibits. The museum maintains an archive of Morgan horse related materials and ephemera at the Middlebury College Library. The archive is open to researchers by appointment.
Legend has it that in 1789 a man named Justin Morgan moved his family from Springfield, Massachusetts to Randolph, Vermont. Justin Morgan returned to Springfield to collect a debt from his old neighbor, and the neighbor had no money to give. In its place, he gave Justin Morgan one adult horse and one colt. Justin Morgan brought the horses back to Randolph. The colt's name was Figure, and turned out to be the sire of the entire Morgan breed. All Morgan horses can be traced back to Figure, who later became known by his owner's name, Justin Morgan.
Morgan horses played an important role in the early history of Vermont. Pioneers used the Morgan to clear their rocky, wooded land. They used the horses as entertainment in trotting races after a long day's work. Morgan horses were used in battle, in farming and as driving horses. The versatility, intelligence, stamina and ability of Morgans to go far on a small amount of feed made them perfect horses for the rugged, cold terrain of Vermont.
Currently the museum is featuring a photographic exhibit on the Lippitt Morgan. Lippitt Morgans are Morgan horses with no 20th century outcrosses to other breeds. The photographs range from the early 1900s to the 1960s, and they show Morgans in candid poses with the people that work with them. The exhibit includes information about A. Fullerton Phillips and Robert Lippitt Knight, two early Vermont Morgan horse breeders.