Historic Garden to Grow Produce

New Partnership with Feed Iowa First

May 18th, 2020

Photo-Apr-23-1-41-34-PM.jpgBrucemore and Feed Iowa First, two non-profit organizations in Cedar Rapids, are excited to announce a partnership to provide fresh produce to help those in need in the community. Feed Iowa First volunteers will prepare, plant, tend, and harvest a specialty garden on the grounds of Brucemore over the course of the summer. Produce will be distributed through Feed Iowa First’s channels to local food pantries in Linn County.

“The former owners of Brucemore serve as the inspiration for using the historic ‘Cutting Garden’ to grow fresh produce in partnership with Feed Iowa First,” said Director of Facilities David Morton. “Their legacy of philanthropy and community mindedness continues to guide the ways we utilize the property and engage the community today.”

The second owners of Brucemore – the Douglas family – developed the property in the early 20th century, adding small-scale-farming features, which included an orchard, alfalfa fields, beehives, and a cutting garden. The cutting garden produced a mixture of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that were used in the operation of the estate. The Douglas family often gave away or sold excess produce from the garden. Today, Brucemore’s grounds are a living collection — the plants, trees, and gardens help us understand this history. The use of this space by Feed Iowa First provides a unique insight into the ways the property was used more than 100 years ago while also serving the community.

Founded in 2011, Feed Iowa First is a grass-roots community of businesses, faith organizations, schools, farmers and volunteers that unite in relationship-based service to help the community “Combat Food Insecurity by Growing Food and Farmers.” Hundreds of neighbors collectively contribute thousands of volunteer service hours to grow, tend, and harvest fresh, chemical-free produce that is grown specifically for the food insecure of Linn County. Since its founding, over 175,000 pounds of fresh produce have been donated to Linn County food pantries. Feed Iowa First also helps support beginning farmers through training and investments that ensure the next generation of farmers and food production. To learn more, visit www.feediowa1st.com.


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 purchasing tickets in advance online or by calling 319-362-7375 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 students and older.

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 are a couple of small picnic tables in the orchard and Adirondack chairs in pairs across the property to utilize during the warmer months. You are also 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?

Your group does not have to arrive together, however, parking on site is limited.

What is your payment policy?

Brucemore admission for group tours is often requested 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 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.