A Short History of the Museum
The Bristol Art Museum (BAM) was founded in 1963 by three Bristol women; Jill Pardee, Margaret Nerone and Susan Perry. It was Mrs. Ethel Barrymore Colt Miglietta, heir to the Linden Place Estate, who first made the ballroom building available to the Museum.
The Museum sponsored nine exhibits each year between June and October, and attracted major artists such as Frank Benson, Robert Motherwell, Maxfield Parish, Norman Rockwell and local artist Richard Grosvenor. Upon Ethel's death in 1986, the Linden Place Estate was offered for sale. With the support of grants, auctions, donations and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, Friends of Linden Place assumed ownership. In 1990, the Museum opened to the public and, since then, has served as the venue for three major exhibits each year.