Brucemore and Save CR Heritage Raise Awareness of Historic Preservation

Nationwide Heartbomb Campaign Demonstrated Locally

February 9th, 2015

Brucemore and Save CR Heritage Raise Awareness of Historic Preservation

CEDAR RAPIDS – Showing your love has taken on a new meaning this Valentine’s Day.

Brucemore in Cedar Rapids is part of a nationwide “heart bomb” campaign, initiated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Motorists and visitors can see a giant red heart affixed to the First Avenue side of the Brucemore mansion, which came through a cooperative effort with Save CR Heritage.

The non-profit group, Save CR Heritage, advocates for the preservation and reuse of historic properties, and has been heart-bombing Cedar Rapids the past few years to show the importance that even abandoned buildings can have to a community.

As one of 27 National Trust historic sites, Brucemore was invited to participate in the national campaign by sharing the love of the site for Valentine’s Day. The effort aligns with Brucemore’s mission.

“In my mind, Brucemore isn’t just about the people who lived in the mansion,” Executive Director David Janssen said. “It’s about our community today, and who we are now.”

That community is invited to stop by Brucemore, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, to take pictures of their smiling faces with the heart bomb, which Brucemore will share with the National Trust. Photos taken next to the mansion also could include visitors holding hand-made hearts. Messages posted on Facebook and Twitter can use the hashtags: #iheartpreservation and #thisplacematters

Short notes about why visitors love Brucemore, and why others should, too, can be composed, as well, and sent to Brucemore.

Both Save CR Heritage and the National Trust were inspired by a campaign started in Buffalo, NY, in which a group of preservationists started hanging Valentine’s-style hearts to show that someone loves the vacant buildings and homes facing demolition.

Vaclav Hasek, a board member of Save CR Heritage, said rather than posting small hearts, the group designed its own large-scale heart banners using bed sheets, which could be visible from a distance. Examples can be found on buildings in the New Bohemia district, where, like Brucemore, the owners have allowed the banners to be hung.

“I think the heart bombs accomplish creating an awareness in the sense of place,” Hasek said. “Neglected properties seem to convey the sense that the city or building owners don’t care; they’ve given up, and heart bombs highlight that, contrary to appearances, somebody still cares.”

In addition, the heart is such a well-known symbol, that “people on the street seem to immediately get that somebody must really ‘love’ that building,” he said. “Who doesn’t like sharing a sense of pride and joy about a thing or place, especially when we’re highlighting the built heritage of our community?”

Janssen said the campaign can raise awareness about historic preservation in a variety of places beyond Brucemore, such as Czech Village, New Bohemia and downtown.

“The built environment that we maintain or neglect or abandon defines us and the choices we make,” Janssen said. “It’s about appreciating the value of these places, maintaining the character of our neighborhoods and the uniqueness of our city.”

Read more about the national heartbomb campaign

View Save CR Heritage’s 2014 Valentine’s Day Heartbombs


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.

Are weapons allowed at Brucemore?

We prohibit weapons on the property and at programs to ensure the safety and security of all employees and people visiting Brucemore.