Bennington Museum makes it a policy to meet each group visiting the museum with Vermont hospitality and offer a variety of ways to enjoy your time here. As always, the driver of the coach and the on-bus guide are admitted free and receive a 10% discount in our museum shop.
Self-guided tours allow your group to explore the museum galleries at their own pace. For 2015, your group may want to visit between now and June 21 when "Alcohol in Vermont: Creatioin to Consumption, Tolerance to Temperance" examines the significant role of alcohol in Vermont history. Taverns were once the center of community life and alcohol was consumed in quantities unimaginable today. Reformers in the 1800s fought the evils of addiction and drunkeness, and politicians intensely debated the regulation of alcohol in some of the most notorious elections in state history. Even after the repeal of national prohibition, many Vermont communities used Local Option laws to limit the use of alcohol. it wasn't until the craft beer movement in the 1990s that Vermonters again celebrated alcoholic beverages. Highlights of this exhibit include Ethan Allen’s bar tab, beautiful historic glassware for high class drinking, records and banners from local temperance societies, and a flask use by a local flapper.
On view July 3 through November 1 is "Inward Adorings of the Mind: Grassroots Art from the Bennington Museum and Blasdel/Koch Collections" featuring outsider, visionary, and folk art by Tolliver, Yoakum, Moses, and others. This exhibition brings together an eclectic selection of objects ranging from textiles, ceramics and weathervanes to drawings, paintings and sculpture, created by individuals with little or no formal training in art and working outside the framework of traditional art market. Drawing on the Benningotn Museum's renowed collection of folk art, including the world's largest collection of paintings by revered 20th-century folk artist "Grandma" Moses, and the Blasdel/Koch Collection of outsider art, inlcuding works by Jesse Howard, Mose Tolliver, and Joseph Yoakum, this exhibition highlights thematic continuities amongst artworks created by everyday people from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day.
Still others may want see the 1924 Wasp Touring Car, the focal point of the Gilded Age Vermont Gallery, or the Military Gallery which highlights the Battle of Bennington with military weapons, maps, and so much more. Also on permanent view is one of the oldest Stars and Strips in the country dating back to the early 1800s, and objects from the museum's collection of Bennington Pottery, the largest in the world. Bennington Modernism features works from teh early 1950s throught the mid-1970s by a group of avant-garde artists working in and around Bennington who led the nation in artistic thought and innovation. Amont the artists of national and international stature with local ties are Pat Adams, Willard Boepple, Anthony Caro, Paul Feeley, Helen Frankenthaler, Vincent Longo, Kenneth Noland and others. Perhaps others would like to spend time in our new works on paper gallery, with changing exhibitions featuring photography, prints, and more. Fine furniture, art, sculpture, and objects from the 18th century to today, are on view. The price for self-guided tours is $8.50 per person.
Docent-guided tours can be arranged for either the entire museum or particular exhibits. Our trained docents are well versed in our exhibits and can add interesting details to your group's visit. A docent-guided tour can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours depending on your schedule. And don't forget to allow time to shop in the museum store where unique items related to the exhibits, Grandma Moses and more can be found. Or, enjoy a cup of coffee, tea, and snack in the cafe. A docent-guided tour is $10 per person.
Step-on or Walking Tours enable your group to expand their visit to include Old Bennington which includes the Bennington Monument, the Old First Church and Robert Frost’s grave site, and historical landmarks on the way. Our docents will provide information about the history of the area offering a wonderful experience for the members of your group. This type of tour is $16.00 and takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours, again depending on the schedule your group is on. Should it be more convenient, we can conduct a docent-guided tour of the museum in the morning, your group can take a lunch break, and then the remainder of the tour can be conducted in the afternoon. It is the goal of the Bennington Museum to work with you in arranging the best visit possible. Custom tours can be arranged to fit your needs. Call our Group Tour Department at 802-447-1571 or write to us.
Use of Bennington Museum's Paresky Wing for lunch may be reserved in advance when available for a fee of $45. Arrangements for lunch can be made directly with one of the eateries in town. These are available upon request.
Major credit cards are accepted and we request that reservations be made no less than one week in advance for a guided tour and two days in advance for a self-guided tour. The Bennington Museum is accessible to wheelchair bound visitors.
There are so many ways your group can explore the Bennington Museum. Contact us for details.