May 2012: A momentous occasion for Brucemore....

An Invitation to Explore

October 16th, 2012

Rehabilitation of the historic Lord & Burnham (LAB) Greenhouse is complete!

Staff now use this space for its historic purpose of cultivating plants and for a new series of programs on the Brucemore estate. Entitled Exploremore, these programs provide a new way to understand the historic and natural features of the gardens and grounds.

While gardeners offer tours of Brucemore’s landscape every year, few visitors fully understand the significance of the estate. Brucemore’s buildings and grounds help tell the story of a moment in United States’ history.

Around 1900, America’s upper-class tried to escape the industrial sources of their wealth by developing idealized landscapes called country estates. Reminiscent of prosperous farmsteads, country estates emphasized agriculture, self-sufficiency, recreation, and healthy living.

When the Douglases moved to Brucemore in 1906, they expanded the property from ten acres to 33 and hired landscape architect O.C. Simonds to help develop their property. This included construction of many of the gardens and buildings still seen today.

As the popularity of country estates began to decline, their grounds were sold off and they began to disappear. Many historic house museums have lost the extensive estates they once occupied.

Margaret Hall helped ensure that Brucemore would retain the grounds in perpetuity by donating the entire estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The new Exploremore programming honors this gift by encouraging visitors to stop and appreciate the significance of Brucemore’s landscape design, natural elements, and historical uses.

A series of landscape interpretation panels are being installed around the grounds. Visitors are encouraged to check back as these panels will rotate seasonally. The LAB head house has become the home of this programming and contains a permanent exhibit, the landscape brochure, seasonal family activity sheets, and a rotating grounds map.

Stop by the newly rehabilitated greenhouse and begin your exploration of Brucemore’s landscape history!


Do I need to pay to enter the estate and walk on the grounds?

No. Visiting the Brucemore estate during grounds hours is free. Tickets are only required for scheduled tours and events, and they can be purchased in advance online.

Is a reservation needed to visit Brucemore?

You do not need a reservation to visit the grounds on your own. You do need a ticket to go inside the mansion. We recommend advance reservations for any of our mansion tours or other scheduled special themed tours due to limited capacity. Please visit our calendar to see upcoming opportunities and to purchase your tickets.

Touring the Mansion

Can I take pictures inside the mansion?

Yes. Photography is allowed during tours for personal, non-professional use. Tripods, selfie-sticks, or other photography equipment will not be permitted. Photographs should not distract from others’ enjoyment.

How large is the mansion?

Brucemore is approximately 15,000 square feet.

How many fireplaces, rooms, and floors does Brucemore have?

There are 21 “main” rooms, 14 fireplaces and four floors plus an attic.

Is all of the furniture original to the house and families?

Much of the furniture you will see on display belonged to the second or third families to live at Brucemore; however, some pieces had to be replaced with replicas or similar antiques.

Is the mansion handicap accessible?

The Brucemore mansion includes multiple floors and several staircases. Because of the historic architecture, some spaces are not accessible. Due to preservation work, the wheelchair lift that offers accessibility to the first floor is not available at this time. An elevator is not available from the first floor to the other floors at any time. Learn more about accessibility at Brucemore.

Group and School Tours

Is there an age requirement for students visiting Brucemore?

You do not have to be a certain age to visit or attend a program at Brucemore. Different programs are best suited for different ages. Tours of the mansion are recommended for 4th grade and older due to the concepts and historic collection.

Where do we park?

Parking is available on site a short walk from the mansion or carriage house. Buses must follow special instructions. Large events may not be able to accommodate on-site parking; please see the event calendar information for exceptions.

Is bus parking available?

Yes. Bus parking is available near the carriage house. Buses must arrive via special directions as they are unable to fit in our historic gates.

Is there a lunch area at Brucemore?

There is not a designated area indoors or outdoors to eat; however, you are welcome to bring your own blanket or chair to picnic on the grounds. Please carry out any trash to help our small staff keep the grounds beautiful.

Does my group have to arrive together?

Please let group members or chaperones know where they can meet the group.

What is your payment policy?

Brucemore admission is to be paid prior to the visit and a deposit may be required. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card and should be paid in one sum.

Do I need to make an appointment to tour the mansion?

You must have a ticket to a tour or program inside the mansion. Many tours do sell out in advance; purchase online or by calling 319-362-7375 in advance of your visit to guarantee your spot. See the schedule here.

Is the mansion wheelchair accessible?

The mansion is not currently accessible to wheelchairs due to preservation work. The mansion includes multiple flights of stairs. Most of the outdoor areas of the site are accessible. See our full accessibility information and contact us with additional questions regarding your visit.

Can I walk on the property?

Yes, the grounds and gardens are open daily most of the year. Several self-guided interpretive panels and tours via QR codes are available. See hours here.

What is Brucemore’s ticket policy?

Tickets are non-refundable, but may be rescheduled for comparable programs as space allows. Learn more.

I’m attending a large event at Brucemore. Where do I park?

Large events may require you to park offsite. Please read the event details on the calendar for specific information for each event.