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!