When touring Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont, students are immersed in the region’s diverse art, rich history and culture of innovation. The museum holds more than 40,000 objects in its permanent collection, and the largest collection of art and historical artifacts in southern Vermont.
The museum offers a mix of exhibits, showcasing letters written by George Washington, 19th-century Bennington Stoneware and works by 20th century modernists. The museum is the proud caretaker of the largest public collection of paintings by great American folk artist Grandma Moses.
In addition to guided tours, the museum offers a roster of topic-specific school programs.
“Bennington Museum offers a wide range of program opportunities that examine history, art and innovation,” said Deana Mallory, the museum’s director of public programs. “We are dedicated to putting our visitors in front of the real objects and works of art that tell the story of our region, and we use those objects and works of art to broaden the critical thinking skills of students. Our programs are engaging, participatory, and — when possible — hands-on.”
The standard program offerings are listed on the museum’s website, but are not limited to those options.
“We enjoy working with educators to craft programs that will support their needs and the curriculum,” Mallory said.
A favorite program among students is the People & Places Walking Tour, which takes them to key historic sites in town, including Center Cemetery and Bennington Battle Monument. Another crowd-pleaser is Gravestone Stories, where students use gravestones as resources to learn about individuals.
“Our goal is to inspire curiosity and creativity in our student visitors,” Mallory said. “With a world of content at their fingertips via the internet, we are less concerned about conveying content than we are about getting students excited about learning. We also aim to model for students how to learn in museums, including visual thinking strategies, label reading and thinking creatively about objects they may not be able to touch.”
Programs last 90 minutes and are usually limited to 25 students; multiple programs can take place at one time.
“Schools often will book two to three programs for one day and plan for a lunch break,” Mallory said.
The property includes a pavilion with picnic tables for group lunches.
For more information on Bennington Museum call 802-447-1571 or go to benningtonmuseum.org.