Service Porch Phase Begins Multi-Year Efforts

Preservation Work at Brucemore

September 5th, 2018

7.24.18_PorchRoof_Railing_Removal1.jpgBrucemore kicked off a four-month preservation project on the service porch of the 1886 mansion in July. This project is a part of a larger effort to preserve the mansion envelope and accelerate preservation efforts across the site’s seven historic structures, 26-acre landscape, and infrastructure over the next five years.

“Two independent studies, and a series of initial projects, define a backlog of preservation work and capital improvements in excess of $7 million,” said Brucemore’s Executive Director, David Janssen. “The service porch is the first in a series of projects meant to address that need.”

The service porch was identified as the most critical component to complete first due to significant water infiltration and progressive loss of historic material. General contractor Rinderknecht Associates, Inc., and Architect, OPN Architects, will address these systemic issues by removing the existing roof and replacing it with roof pavers on a pedestal system. All preservation work completed at Brucemore, one of 26 National Trust Historic Sites in the country, is done in accordance with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Standards. The service porch restoration project was funded through generous support of grants and donations from the Hall-Perrine Foundation, McIntyre Foundation, and Historic Sites Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The preservation and operation of the site is administered by Brucemore, Inc., a private 501(c)3 non-profit governed by a local, 18-member Board of Trustees. Janssen said, “Brucemore has a history of entrepreneurial income sources and sound financial management, but the costs of preserving and maintaining the historic site are growing faster than available revenue streams.” Donations, grants, and annual membership gifts are fundamental to the ongoing preservation and programming of the site, representing both revenue and participation in the site’s mission.

Since the completion of the mansion’s construction in 1886, the mansion has had a service porch component. Initially, a wooden porch on the southern side provided access for servants and deliveries. When the second family to own Brucemore, George and Irene Douglas, oriented the primary entrance to the southern side in 1916, they also adjusted the service and delivery entrance away from where guests would arrive. By enclosing the Sinclair era wooden porch and erecting a brick wall to screen a courtyard, staff could work and run errands undetected by the family and guests. The courtyard wall was removed during the Hall era in the 1940s, but the porch remained. Today, the porch continues to be used in the same way as its intended purpose—to provide access for the behind-the-scenes work of staff, volunteers, and vendors.


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.