“More than a Market” is open in Burlington, Vermont

Jun 8, 2022

Historic New England celebrates local, immigrant-owned markets with the opening of the exhibit More than a Market: Food, Community, and Family in the Markets of Burlington and Winooski, Vermont, on the third floor of the Old North End Community Center in Burlington.

The exhibit is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., through December 23.

What you will discover

Colorful fabric suspended from the ceiling and stacks of food cartons create the feel of a busy market as voices of the area’s local market owners and customers and the descendants of early market owners speak through wall panels enlivened with archival and contemporary photographs. Written and audio translations of the exhibit content are available in Arabic, Nepali, Somali, and Swahili—four of the most widely spoken languages in the area.

Burlington and Winooski have a rich history of immigration. Vibrant, densely settled neighborhoods sprang up with markets as physical and social anchors. Today’s markets remain essential businesses for newcomers.

A community space

“For people newly arrived in this country, local markets provide more than familiar food. They are places of connection and social support, and they offer owners and their families a path to economic independence. This was true in the past and continues today,” says Charlotte Barrett, Community Preservation Manager for Historic New England. “The stories of markets established by immigrants and refugees embody timeless values of hard work, resourcefulness, resilience, and commitment to family and community.”

More to explore

There are a variety of ways to experience More than a Market. The web app MorethanaMarket.org has archival photos, audio clips, and stories about early markets. There are monthly walking tours on the first Saturday of the month, July through October, that visit locations of past and present-day markets in Burlington’s Old North End, sharing stories of market owners, their customers, and their communities, framed within local immigration history.

Learn more about the programs related to this exhibit.

Our thanks for the guidance and support

Project partners include AALV, Burlington Edible History, the Vermont Folklife Center, the Winooski Historical Society, and six contemporary markets—Euro Market, Halal Champlain Market, M. Square Vermont, Nada International Market, RGS Nepali Market, and Thai Phat Market.

The project was made possible by the generous support of the following organizations, as well as local businesses and Vermont members and donors: Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation, National Life Foundation, Preservation Trust of Vermont, Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Folklife Center, and Vermont Humanities.

Photos are by Mary Rizos