Arts and Heritage Attractions in Southern Vermont

Three Must-Visit Arts and Heritage Attractions

In southern Vermont, arts and history are everywhere, waiting to be discovered. The region’s museums and art centers bring the history of Vermont to life. Learn stories of innovative and passionate Vermonters through interactive exhibits, paintings and folk art, family-friendly displays and events year-round.

Visit museums, browse art galleries, attend a play or a concert, enjoy an outdoor sculpture park or explore a historic site. Discover Vermont’s artistic and historic culture through hands-on exploration at these must-visit arts and heritage attractions in southern Vermont.

Brattleboro Museum & Art Center

This arts center and local history museum is housed in a circa 1915 building which was once Brattleboro’s Union Station. Founded in 1972, BMAC is focused on the preservation and enhancement of the architecturally and historically significant building. Though currently an anchor for Brattleboro’s cultural life, remnants of the building’s past life are still present in the display of the former ticket counter.

This non-collecting contemporary art museum does not feature a permanent collection but is focused on the work of living artists, emphasizing the beauty of the art of our time. The six galleries showcase 15 to 20 art exhibitions per year, rotating every three to four months, and illuminate art and ideas in ways that inspire, inform and connect people.

BMAC also serves as a social venue, offering regular cultural and educational events such as artist talks and lectures, workshops, film screenings and studio tours. The events strengthen the community and offer the opportunity to enhance the cultural richness of the region.

Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home

The former summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Lincoln, and Mary Lincoln, the historic Lincoln family estate is now a hub for education and exploration in Manchester. Hildene is committed to conservation, stewardship and sustainability, offering stunning grounds and formal gardens, 12 miles of year-round trails, a working farm, informative tours and engaging exhibits.

Hildene, formed from two old English words, means “valley with stream” and sits perched on a hill overlooking the Taconic Mountains, Green Mountains and Battenkill Valley and River. The 412-acre estate houses 14 historic buildings, including the Georgian revival mansion home, formal garden and observatory, carriage barn housing the Welcome Center and Museum Store, restored 1903 Pullman car Sunbeam and Dene Farm.

As the southernmost stop of Vermont’s African American Heritage Trail, this thought-provoking destination features the “Many Voices” exhibit, which examines the complex history and legacy of Black porters who worked for the Pullman Company after the abolition of slavery.

Whether you are a history buff, nature lover or inspired by architecture, Hildene offers something for everyone. Visit late-May through mid-June to take in the beauty of peak peony season or stop in during December to experience a Victorian Christmas.

Southern Vermont Arts Center

Built in 1917 as the private estate of the wealthy socialite Gertrude Divine Webster, this state-of-the-art museum complex provides visitors with a comprehensive opportunity to be immersed in the arts. The original building remains, sitting on 120 acres and features art studios, auditorium, and the largest sculpture garden in Vermont.

In the Museum and Galleries, take in the wide spectrum of original work, showcasing a permanent collection of 900 works as well as rotating exhibits of the work of member artists in all medium, variety, technique, concept, and background.

The Arkell Pavilion is one the area’s finest performing arts spaces. With seating for 400 people, the Pavilion features professional-quality acoustics and hosts musicians, singers, dancers, actors, writers and more. When the side and back walls are rolled open, this open-air venue is a hub for summer events.

Enjoy classes in the studios and workshops or explore the sculpture garden and trails. Take in the art and views of the Taconic Mountains and Green Mountains, SVAC provides a mix of culture and contemplation for art-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Visit one of Vermont’s arts or cultural attractions and you will leave inspired and influenced by the rich history, stunning views, and beautiful art.