About BMAC

50 Years of Exhibitions in Pictures: 1972-2022

Take a journey through the first 50 years of BMAC’s exhibition history at bmac50th.org.

BMAC Today

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is a non-collecting contemporary art museum focused on the art of our time. An anchor of southern Vermont’s vibrant cultural life, BMAC brings notable art and artists to Brattleboro and provides a platform for its region’s many artistic riches. BMAC presents 15-20 exhibitions annually, complemented by 60-70 public programs and extensive educational offerings developed in partnership with area schools and service organizations.

Our Mission

The mission of the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is to illuminate art and ideas in ways that inspire, inform, and connect people from all walks of life. Our principal activities, which seek to reflect and enhance the cultural richness of our region, consist of exhibitions showcasing the art of our time, public events featuring accomplished artists and scholars, and education programs that foster creativity and literacy among children and adults.

Our Story

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) was founded in 1972 by two groups of Brattleboro citizens committed to saving their town’s historic train station from the wrecking ball. One group wished to transform the former Union Station into a museum of local history, the other into a center for art classes and exhibitions. At the behest of the Brattleboro selectboard, they agreed to work together, and BMAC was born.

Following months of laborious cleaning and renovation done by scores of volunteers, the newly fledged institution opened its doors to the public on September 10, 1972. One side of the former train station lobby contained display cases featuring historical artifacts, the other an exhibition of new artwork by Wolf Kahn, David Rohn, and other artists with local ties. The legendary Vermont folk musician Margaret MacArthur sang and played lap dulcimer.

Fast forward nearly 50 years, and BMAC is today a non-collecting contemporary art museum focused on the work of living artists. (The historical artifacts from the early days were eventually donated to the Brattleboro Historical Society.) 

What We Do

The museum contains six galleries. We rotate exhibitions in the galleries roughly every 3–4 months, resulting in a total of about 15–20 exhibitions per year. We borrow the work we exhibit from collectors, galleries, other institutions, and often directly from the artists themselves.

In addition to presenting contemporary art exhibitions, we offer 60–70 cultural and educational events each year. These include artist talks, workshops, performances, film screenings, studio tours, and an eclectic assortment of events aimed at serving families who do not necessarily see themselves as contemporary art museum-goers — for example, an annual LEGO contest and exhibit, the world’s longest-running domino-toppling event, and monthly art- and food-making collaborations with the Brattleboro Food Co-op.

Rounding out our activities is a rich array of education programs serving thousands of children of all ages from Windham County, Vermont, and the surrounding area. In collaboration with Brattleboro’s Early Education Services, we send professional artists into local Head Start classrooms to work with at-risk infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. For students in grades K-6, we offer numerous opportunities to engage with art both at the museum and at school. And for middle and high school students, we administer the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for the state of Vermont.

Like most art museums in America, BMAC is funded largely through membership dues and charitable donations.