Preserving Brucemore for Generations

Archives Move to Temporary Home

June 5th, 2020


One year ago Brucemore launched the public phase of its Pride & Preservation Campaign. To date, the campaign has raised over $3.7 million dollars towards designated campaign projects.

The largest project in scope is the Mansion Envelope Restoration Project (MERP). Now in its third phase, this project focuses on preserving the windows and doors, brick, roof cresting, and roof slate on the 19th century mansion that sits at the center of the estate.

Construction crews have been following social distancing guidelines since starting work earlier this spring. As the project moves from space to space, the interior rooms must be prepared for construction in order to reduce risk to interior objects, wall-coverings, and other fixtures. With each room, staff develop a detailed plan alongside the contractors. Staff identify objects that need temporarily moved and document the steps taken to ensure every piece of the collection is protected and can be put back in place once work is complete.

The latest room to be cleared holds many of Brucemore’s most important objects—the archives room. Brucemore’s archives contain diaries, photographs, and letters, which help provide primary resources and insight into the lives of the family and staff. Melissa Porter, Musuem Program Manager, is helping lead the archives move. “The historic objects at Brucemore play an important role in helping tell the stories of the people who once lived and worked here. Just like the building, our goal is to preserve these objects so future generations can learn from and enjoy the rich history.”

Scrapbook Image

A page from one of the Douglas family scrapbooks in Brucemore’s archives

To prepare the archives room, boxes of scrapbooks and family photos were hauled away from what would soon become a bustling construction space and stored on the quiet shelves of another room. Each box was moved with care as staff took steps to prevent damage to the important histoic material within. Moving these objects required multiple days of dedicated staff time. Now, likely for the first time in 30 years, the archives room has been cleared and is ready for its windows to be preserved.

The Mansion Envelope Restoration Project entered the archives room on June 1. The windows in this room will be assessed  and restored using an individualized window treatment. The windows will be made operational and sealed to prevent rot and future damage due to weather and pests. When the work is complete, a film will be installed to filter UV rays and provide extra protection of the objects inside. Preserving the windows helps ensure Brucemore’s collections can be shared for generations to come.

To help Brucemore continue this and other campaign projects, donate to Pride & Preservation online or view other ways to give.

If you’re interested in learning more about the collection, visit this page to explore the highlights at Brucemore!


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.