Blog

Brucemore Installing a Geothermal HVAC System

June 27th, 2022

The landscape remains open and new tours are being offered while the mansion is closed

Brucemore will be the second site owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States to install a geothermal HVAC system to replace an aging boiler system in the 1886 mansion. The project aims to provide heating and cooling for the historic structure with an eye towards environmental and preservation best practices. Staff are turning programming attention towards the outdoors while the work requires the mansion to be temporarily closed to tours and other indoor events for the summer.

Installation of a wellfield for the geothermal system located under the First Avenue lawn began mid-June 2022.

“This project addresses historic preservation, environmental sustainability, and long-term community relevance in a pioneering way that we are very proud of,” said Brucemore’s CEO David Janssen. “Playing the long game with historic preservation will ensure the heart of the mansion beats for decades to come.”

The project requires careful planning around the interiors and artifacts housed inside. Different barriers and protections will be in place throughout the work that spans the three main floors, plus attic and basement.

“The original steam heat system from the 1880s relied on an outdated boiler and radiator technology that was inefficient, difficult to maintain, and a threat to the aging structure,” said Janssen. “In bypassing and retiring the 140 year old pipes, the geothermal technology will allow us to improve environmental controls for our visitors and collection and mitigate many risks.”

There are several ways people can experience and enjoy Brucemore this summer, including:

  • A new outdoor guided tour – “Becoming Brucemore: A Walk Through History” – Thursdays through Sundays. Guests experience the evolution of the site from a country estate into the cultural center it is today, and learn the history of the people who lived and worked on it. Tickets are $10 per adult and $5 per youth – advance purchase recommended.
  • The landscape remains open daily for self-exploration, with a new mobile “History Ungated” tour experience expected to launch in July.
  • The Visitor Center is open Thursday through Sunday afternoons, offering a free Brucemore history exhibit and souvenirs for purchase.
  • A full slate of outdoor theater, concerts, and other programs bring the estate to life and offer opportunities for all ages.

Tours of the mansion will resume in the fall and include the nationally recognized Christmas holiday season, which features seasonal décor in many rooms.

The geothermal project has received funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation Climate Action Grant Fund and donors to Brucemore’s Pride and Preservation campaign.

Donations to support ongoing efforts to care for the Brucemore estate can be made to the Preservation Fund.

General

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.