In the fall of 2020, the tall iron fence that separated the parking lot from the courtyard of the Bennington Museum was taken down. “We want to project a sense of welcoming and inclusivity,” says director Martin Mahoney. “Removing this physical barrier puts actions along with words.”
To that end, the museum now offers free courtyard concerts, community days, the “ABC” program for parents with young children, and the George Aiken Wildflower Trail, and it is a major participant in the free North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show. “We are all seeing that everyone can benefit from a vibrant, healthy, and engaged community.”
The museum also is curating shows that speak to local populations and the shared Vermont experience, like the current show on Parks and Recreation and an upcoming show on communities’ responses to the state’s historic extraction industry.
Other recent physical changes to this nearly 100-year-old museum, the core of which was once the first Catholic Church in Bennington, includes a building-wide energy efficiency plan that will balance the need for energy conservation, historic preservation, and proper collections care. A $10,000 Preservation Trust of Vermont grant in partnership with the 1772 Foundation is supporting window restoration work in this effort.
“Without the support of organizations like yours, it would be a more difficult endeavor for us to take care of our buildings. You go a long way to help identify and preserve important spaces and places in the state and we thank you for that.”
Martin Mahoney, Executive Director, Bennington Museum