8 Cool Museums to Discover Near Mount Snow, Vermont

Take a break from the slopes and explore fascinating exhibits and cultural experiences at these unique museums.
Posted on February 15, 2023
Family Rides the Bluebird Express Chairlift at Mount Snow
Looking for things to do near Mount Snow Resort? Don't miss the opportunity to explore the diverse museums in this part of New England, ranging from avant-garde contemporary art to Grandma Moses, fly fishing to bird watching, circus arts to a Lincoln estate. Along with the shops and galleries in the Deerfield Valley, these world-class museums offer something for everyone to enjoy, making for a perfect day or two off the slopes, all within an hour's drive of the resort. 

A Loop for Art Lovers 

One of the finest and most avant-garde contemporary art museums in New England is just 30 miles south of Mount Snow, in North Adams, Mass. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA to locals) is a 250,000-square-foot museum and performing arts center where it is hard to be bored. You can watch performance art, view exhibits such as Marc Swanson’s startlingly beautiful 3D dioramas in “A Memorial to Ice at the Dead Deer Disco” or James Turrell’s “Into the Light” or Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang’s virtual reality exhibits “To the Moon” and “Chalkroom.”  

If you continue west on Route 2 from Mass MoCA for five miles, the Williams College Art Museum features rotating exhibits from its collection of more than 15,000 pieces, ranging from ancient Roman artifacts to contemporary works by Brazilian artist Marina Rheingantz and others.  

From Williamstown, loop back by heading 14 miles north on Route 7 and make a stop at Bennington Museum (which reopens April 1) which has a collection of prominent local artists. The best known are folk art paintings by Anna Mary Robertson, who lived nearby in Eagle County, N.Y. and painted several Bennington scenes. Robertson, who died in 1961, was better known as “Grandma” Moses as she began painting when she was in her seventies and is considered America’s most famous folk artists. The museum also features other contemporary local artists who went on to become world famous, such as Jules Olitisky, Paul Feeley and Vincent Longo. From Bennington, Wilmington is 20 miles east on Route 9. 

For Anglers and Nature Lovers 

In West Marlboro, just 14 miles from Mount Snow, the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum seems to always have something going on. There are snowshoe wildlife tracking tours where you can learn to identify signs (there may be snowshoes available), special talks featuring handlers who bring live owls or other raptors, and sunrise hikes up Hogback Mountain. The museum has more than 600 mounted species of native birds and mammals from the Northeast, as well as a collection of minerals.  

For anglers, a visit to Manchester— home of the fly-fishing giant, the Orvis Company – is a must. In addition to the Orvis flagship store, the town is home to the American Museum of Fly Fishing. The museum has collections of rods, reels and flies as well as artwork, movies  and talks on fly fishing. Manchester is about 30 miles west of Mount Snow.  
A Lincoln Estate to Visit  

In 1905, President Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert built himself Hildene, a grand summer estate on 392 acres in Manchester, Vt. At the time, Robert Lincoln was the president the Pullman Company, the largest manufacturer in the U.S. at the time and maker of the Pullman car. Today the Hildene estate is open to the public. You can tour the Lincolns’ Georgian revival mansion with its period furnishings and some of its 14 outbuildings. In the winter, hike, snowshoe or ski on Hildene’s 12 miles of trails (bring your own equipment) and in summer tour the extensive formal gardens and goat dairy.  

Circus & Arts in Brattleboro 

For more than 50 years the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center and Retreat Farm have featured some fascinating exhibits. A sample from winter of 2022-23 includes “Artful Ice Shanties” (an outdoor display of creative fishing shanties at Retreat Farm), “(de)Composed” (Judith Klausner’s artful recreations of what the process of organic decomposition means) and renowned graffiti artist Keith Haring’s “Subway Drawings.” It also hosts cooking demonstrations, concerts and other performances.  

If you have ever wondered how people learn to become trapeze artists or juggle, the New England Center for the Circus Arts in Brattleboro is a good answer. The school has trained performers who have gone on to Cirque de Soleil and other acts. In addition to its classes, NECCA hosts birthday parties for kids and adults where anyone can learn to juggle or, with a coach present, try their flips in a custom-built trapezium featuring 40-foot ceilings, an extra deep foam pit, and an in-ground trampoline. At monthly “Beta” nights, anyone is invited to perform in any type of act or routine, no experience necessary.  

Produced in partnership with Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine.