New Virtual Exhibit

Dining in Style – Highlights from the Collection

December 12th, 2020

New Virtual Exhibit

As we prepare to celebrate the holidays a little differently this year, some of our favorite holiday traditions may be neglected. If you normally sit down to a special holiday dinner with extended family and are instead only celebrating with those in your household, maybe you are thinking it is not worth the trouble of getting out the fancy dishes and silver this year. Even if the items will stay in the cabinet until next year, you can peek into Brucemore’s cupboards and learn the traditions and history behind the unique items they owned. View the new online exhibit of objects from the collection, Dining in Style – Highlights from Brucemore’s Silver Collection.

Brucemore has a large collection of silver serving ware, dishware, and flatware that previously belonged to the Douglas and Hall families, who resided at Brucemore for much of the 20th century. While some of the items are on display throughout the year, most of the collection remains in storage. It might surprise you to learn that caring for silver can be very complex.

Silver is a malleable metal that can be easily dented, scratched, and dinged. When silver is taken out of storage and displayed, it is at risk of damage, despite the best intentions of museum staff. This requires additional care in handling and displaying the pieces.

The plater pictured below was well-loved and used by the Perrine family, Howard Hall’s sister and brother-in-law.

Silver is resistant to corrosion, but it tarnishes when exposed to air. Silver reacts with gases containing sulfur, and those are all around us. While tarnish on silver can be removed, polishing silver also removes silver in the process. It is best for the items to remain in a space where they are rarely exposed to the air. Brucemore stores its silver in special bags which help to help minimize contact with gases. The items on display are carefully cleaned using a gentle silver polish and water once a year to remove the tarnish.

The calling card plater pictured below needs a thorough cleaning. Tarnish can appear on silver in many different colors – green, purple, or black – depending on the silver content of each piece.

While beautiful, silver takes care to remain that way. For more tips on how to care for a silver collection, view this guide on caring for silver from the National Park Service.


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.