Art History Innovation
Bennington Museum is a museum of Art, History and Innovation that connects you with real objects, challenges you with intriguing ideas, and excites your imagination.
The Bennington Museum is about the creativity of southern Vermont, eastern New York State, northwestern Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire in all its forms, from the 18th century to the present. By connecting you with real objects of art and history, and by challenging you with complex ideas, the museum excites your imagination, inspires innovation, and brings delight.
A museum on the move offering new and intriguing exhibitions, galleries, and events, in 2014 the Bennington Museum was recognized by The Wall Street Journal for one of the “most memorable exhibitions” in North America – Alice Neel/Erastus Salisbury Field: Painting the People. This placed us in the select company of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, National Gallery of Art, Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, and the National Gallery of Canada. In 2015, we were recognized by Yankee Magazine’s Best of New England, Editor’s Choice for “Best Museum Makeover.” The new Bennington Museum – Get into It!
In 2016, the Museum had on view Milton Avery’s Vermont. This exhibition was nationally recognized and received rave reviews from both The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe among others.
On September 13, The Wall Street Journal stated “The Bennington Museum’s Milton Avery’s Vermont is as close to a perfect show as mere mortals can mount, small in scale, with beautiful objects, expertly interpreted, and with many surprises. Every art lover needs to learn more about this work and the museum itself.” The following, extracted from the full review, was presented in The Boston Globe on September 16. “Milton Avery’s Vermont, a terrific show at the Bennington Museum in Vermont, draws us into this great American artist’s singular color world. At the same time, it tethers us tightly to where we are: Vermont. The exhibition brings together, for the first time, dozens of the paintings, watercolors, and drawings Avery made on family visits to the West River Valley region of Vermont between 1935 and 1943.”
We are proud caretakers of the largest public collection of paintings by the great American folk artist Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses who lived in nearby Eagle Bridge, NY, as well as the defining collection of 19th‐century Bennington stoneware. “Creative Collisions” are becoming popular at the museum, so we also have on view works by major 20th‐century modernists including Rockwell Kent, Paul Feeley, and Jules Olitski, as well as works by contemporary and outsider artists such as Gayleen Aiken, Duane Michals, Jessica Park, and Jarvis Rockwell. The permanent collection includes superb furniture and paintings from Vermont, one of the oldest “Stars and Stripes” in existence – the famous Bennington Flag, with its arch of 13 stars encircling the number “76” – the renowned 1863 Jane Stickle Quilt featuring an astounding 5602 pieces, and a 1924 Martin Wasp Touring Car, the only automobile manufactured in Vermont. All are fine examples of art, history, and innovation that represent the creative mind at work, the spontaneous expression of the human spirit.
The museum’s Research Library is the region’s most comprehensive genealogical and biographical resource on New England and Vermont families, as well as the history of Vermont. It is open to students, researchers, and the public. The library’s collection includes the genealogy of every New England family dating back to the 1700s. It includes over 8,000 published books along with many unique documents and primary sources. The museum’s vast archives relating to local history are housed in the collections.
George Aiken Wildflower Trail and Hadwen Woods
Set on ten acres of property, the museum is complemented by the Hadwen Woods and George Aiken Wildflower Trail. Open dawn to dusk, this trail traversing woodland and meadow is being developed to present the native species of wildflowers and plants found in Pioneering with Wildflowers, one of the first books on gardening with native plants, published in 1935 by nurseryman, Vermont governor, and later US senator George Aiken.
As Jane and her children walked into the museum, she asked “Where to first?” Well, it didn’t take either Sam or Allison long to answer. Almost in unison they replied “Grandma Moses School.” Young visitors look forward to engaging in hands-on activities that stimulate their imagination and creativity. A place for children of all ages, this interactive family center allows you to explore Grandma Moses’ life and themes used in her paintings. The 19th-century schoolhouse provides activities such as needlecraft, dress-up, antique toys, discovery boxes, and a make-your-own Grandma Moses painting wall, and of course the schoolroom. Attended by Grandma Moses and other members of her family in Eagle Bridge, New York, the Grandma Moses Schoolhouse was moved to the grounds of the Bennington Museum in 1972.
Bennington Museum is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that depends on support, contributions, and donations from members, individuals, corporations, and grants to operate. If you would like to show your support, visit our Support page.
The museum has been continuously accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) since 1983, and is one of only a few accredited museums in the state of Vermont.