The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is an independent, non-collecting museum whose mission is to present art and ideas in ways that inspire, educate, and engage audiences of all ages.
First-time visitors to the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center are often intrigued before they’ve even encountered our exhibits, and for good reason. After all, not many museums are housed in former train stations, with the old ticket windows still intact, windows overlooking the tracks, and marble steps burnished by long-ago travelers rushing to catch the 8:51.
Union Station was built in 1915, the third of three stations that served the Vermont & Massachusetts Railroad starting in 1849. Over the next half-century, until Interstate highways completely transformed transportation, Brattleboro’s railway station was a hub of activity, serving not only as a key to link major cities north and south but as a social gathering spot as well.
In 1966, however, passenger train service to Brattleboro was terminated, and Union Station fell into serious disrepair. Luckily for all of us, a group of visionary, culturally savvy community members rescued the building and re-opened it in 1972 as the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. It has been going strong ever since, presenting dynamic, thought-provoking art, stimulating events, and engaging educational programs to loyal locals and intrigued visitors alike.
The building may no longer be a train station but it remains a bustling center of activity, bringing new creative energy into the community, sparking new connections, and sending forth new ideas into the world.
Though for different reasons, it is still very much a “transportive” place.
Whether showcasing regional artists in dynamic group shows, inviting guest curators to create one-of-a-kind exhibits, celebrating local fine art legends, or presenting the work of international art icons, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center produces powerful exhibits that challenge the status quo while honoring the hallowed lineage of art history.
For the last 40 years, we’ve been devoted to celebrating the creative drive of artists both upcoming and established, displaying art that spans the realm of possibility in media, form, content, and experience, whether subtle or bold, traditional or revolutionary, static or kinetic, intimate or interactive, miniature or massive.
From tiny, vintage toys viewed through a magnifying glass to futuristic room-size installations, hand-carved wood sculpture to innovative hand-blown glass, and cutting-edge photography to the ever-vital oil on canvas, our goal is to constantly stir the creative pot. And this community always rises to the challenge, bringing fresh questions, comments, energy, and enthusiasm to every exhibit, no matter how trail-blazing, quirky, or complex.
BMAC doesn’t just display art, we create artful events that delight regular visitors and newcomers alike.
Screenings of esoteric films about seminal figures in the art world, concerts by regional musicians, lectures by renowned illustrators, micro-grant dinners to help fund local artists, poetry readings, book-making workshops, a wildly popular LEGO contest, domino toppling extravaganzas, yo-yo tutorials, and much more… the sky is the limit, and we go there!
And having recently expanded and renovated our main exhibition space — now the Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Gallery — we can offer an even broader range of fun, compelling events, so check our the Events section of this website and our Facebook page often.
A core part of what we do is helping young people to become involved in and inspired by the arts, and we do this both within the museum and through community outreach efforts.
We offer everything from guided tours of our exhibits, Head Start classroom art experiences, and hands-on art projects, to professional development workshops for teachers and museum personnel. And in 2010, BMAC became Vermont’s statewide affiliate for the prestigious national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which recognizes and rewards the work of outstanding young artists and writers.
Through facilitated engagement with the visual arts, BMAC fosters literacy, critical thinking skills, and good, old fashioned, creative fun!