Bruce Museum of Arts and Science

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The Bruce Museum is a museum institution in downtown Greenwich, Connecticut with both art and science exhibition space. "The Bruce," as it's more familiarly known, has holdings of about 15,000 objects, including fine art, decorative art, natural history and anthropology.[1]

A second location, the Bruce Museum Seaside Center, is maintained at Greenwich Point Park, focusing on beach-related exhibits, including a touch-tank. The museum also has a "Brucemobile" with exhibits in a traveling van. The museum hosts frequent lectures and social events.[1]

Members total about 2,800, and over 400 volunteers contribute a total of more than 14,000 hours of their time each year. It has 32 full-time employees and nine more part-timers.[1]

The Bruce's main building at 1 Museum Drive, sits on a hill in a downtown park, and its tower (not open to the public) can be easily seen by drivers passing by on Interstate 95.[1]

Exhibits at the museum change more than a dozen times a year.

Art holdings[edit]

The art collection has a strong emphasis on the Cos Cob School, an Impressionist school, including paintings by Childe Hassam, Emil Carlsen and Leonard and Mina Fonda Ochtman. Sculpture includes nineteenth and twentieth-century work by Auguste Rodin, Hiram Powers, Frederick MacMonnies and George Segal.[2]

Mineral crystals

Permanent Exhibits[edit]

The museum has permanent exhibits focusing on geology, paleontology, archeology, local Native Americans, natural history, and the effects of man on the areas around Greenwich. There are several display cases with mineral specimens, including a touchable meteorite, large mineral crystals from around the world and minerals that glow in black light. Part of a Northeast woodland wigwam has been created as a seating area to learn about Native Americans, and there is a model of an archaeological dig. There are several cases focusing on the changes in the land and environment of Greenwich from pre-settler days up until the early 1900s. A large exhibit focuses on different prehistoric eras and fossils associated with those times. A fifteen-foot diorama displays local woodland wildlife. Other display cases show more birds and animals found in the area. A marine tank holds live small fish, crabs and sea stars for close examination.

Recent Exhibits[edit]

The exhibition "Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing", offers a visual pairing of five New York-based artists with five Beijing-based artists. In this ambitious project, the ten artists were, prior to the exhibition, engaged in five different global, cross-cultural, artistic dialogues over the course of two years via email, Skype, in person, sometimes with translators, about issues ranging from political and social upheaval, the concept of global culture, and questions about materials and techniques.[3] Paired artists included:

Michelle Fornabai (NYC) and Qin Feng (Beijing) Joan Snyder (NYC) and Wei Jia (Beijing) Alois Kronschlaeger (NYC) and Lin Yan (Beijing) Jorge Tacla (NYC) and Li Taihuan (Beijing) Simon Lee (NYC) and Chen Shaoxiong (Beijing).[3]

Comments on the museum[edit]

A reviewer for the Wall Street Journal praised the "urbane Peter C. Sutton [director of the museum], a splendidly connected director of impeccable academic credentials, the Bruce -- with nothing to loan -- has been scoring quite a few coups of late. (A fall show of the 17th-century master Jan van der Heyden, inventor of the cityscape, is a joint project with the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.)" The reviewer also mentioned Sutton's partnership with Edgar Peters Bowron, a curator of European art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the art historian Robert Rosenblum for the museum's exhibition on the dog in art, which garnered loans from The Louvre, the Prado and other major museums.[4]


In 1908, Robert Moffat Bruce (1822-1908), a wealthy textile merchant, deeded the home he had originally bought in 1858 to the town of Greenwich with the stipulation that it be used "as a Natural History, Historical and Art Museum, for the use and benefit of the public."[5]

The first exhibition featured works by the Greenwich Society of Artists, several of whom were members of the Cos Cob Art Colony. The museum hosted the society's annual exhibition from 1912 to 1926. Artwork from the Cos Cob School forms the nucleus of the Museum's holdings.[1]

In 1992 governance of the museum was restructured, with the Bruce Museum, Inc. established as a non-profit organization. That same year the museum started a project to completely renovate its building.[1]

When it reopened in September 1993, museum featured an architectural structure wrapped around the original building, housing galleries for art on one side of the main pavilion with galleries of environmental history on the other.[1]

"Continued growth over the years in attendance, exhibitions, public programs, and collections is leading the Bruce to undertake an architectural study of its future space and facilities needs," according to the Town of Greenwich Web page on the Bruce.[1]


Lectures, etc.

The Bruce's Bantle Lecture Gallery has more than 100 events each year related to exhibitions and collections. Regular events include the "Goergen Art Lecture Series," "Science Lecture Series," and " the "Robert Bruce Circle." [1]

Family Days and Workshops

The Bruce hosts "Family Days" and a wide range of programs for children and adults, as well as special teachers' workshops.[1]

Arts and Crafts Festivals

Each October the museum presents the Outdoor Arts Festival and each May its Outdoor Crafts Festival. Both are juried events featuring artisans from across the country.[1]

Renaissance Ball

The Bruce Museum’s Renaissance Ball has been the highlight of Greenwich’s social season. Always held the first Saturday in June, the annual black-tie event is the Museum's major fundraiser, with net proceeds accounting for nearly 20% of the Museum's annual budget and earmarked for education programs and exhibitions.

Icon Awards in the Arts

Bruce Museum Icon Awards in the Arts will honor those who have demonstrated commitment to the arts. Artists, collectors, art business leaders, art critics, patrons of the arts, and art historians will be honored in an evening ceremony and cocktail event taking place at a private residence in Greenwich.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Town of Greenwich Web page on The Bruce, accessed on July 1, 2006
  2. ^ Bruce Museum Web site, "Collections" page, "Art" accessed on July 1, 2006
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ [1]"At This Art Exhibition, Dogs Are Hot," (`a review of the exhibition "The Dog in Art From Rococo to Post-Modernism," at the Bruce Museum) by Matthew Gurewitsch, The Wall Street Journal July 11, 2006; Page D5; accessed August 23, 2006
  5. ^ History page at The Bruce Museum Web site, accessed on July 1, 2006

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°01′08″N 73°37′25″W / 41.019°N 73.6235°W / 41.019; -73.6235