Is a trip not complete for you without a visit to a local museum or two?
Or, do you need to find a top CT indoor activity on a rainy day?
Then, be sure to visit Greenwich!
After all, Greenwich CT is home to the Bruce Museum. Here, art, science, and natural history come together in very unexpected ways. The museum houses more than a dozen carefully curated changing exhibitions each year. And that’s not counting its permanent galleries. Perched on a hill overlooking Greenwich Harbor, the Bruce Museum cuts an impressive figure on its own.
And that was even before the new renovation!
The Bruce Museum is dedicated to promoting a better understanding and appreciation for art and science. If you are looking for the perfect way to spend a rainy day in Connecticut, or are up for a new experience, the Bruce Museum is just a short trip from NYC.
A New Concept in Museums
The Bruce Museum introduced a new concept combining history, art, and science galleries. This museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. That said, this institution pushes the boundaries of museum traditions. Its ever expanding horizons in museum collections help visitors discover new perspectives on:
- Natural science
- And the arts
Robert Moffat Bruce’s Inspiration: History of the Bruce Museum
The museum is the former home of the late Robert Moffat Bruce, who purchased the home in 1858. As a wealthy textile merchant, Bruce had an interest in the arts as well as science and natural history. In 1908, he donated his home to the Town of Greenwich. He stipulated that the town use the home for what he described as “a natural history, historical, and art museum for the use and benefit of the public.”
His precondition was the inspiration for the museum. The first exhibition opened in 1912. The exhibition featured works of a group of local artists known as the Greenwich Society of Artists.
Many were members of the Cos Cob Art Colony.
The Cos Cob Art Colony included such artists as:
- Leonard and Mina Ochtman
- George Wharton Edwards
- And Hobart Jacobs
This school of Impressionist art is now recognized as a major contributor to American painting.
Greenwich Society of Artists
The Greenwich Society of Artists followed that first successful exhibition with another in 1913.
And the Greenwich Society of Artists continued to host annual exhibitions until 1926.
The works of members of the Cos Cob Artistic Colony featured prominently in the Museum’s holdings of:
- And notebooks
As an art lover, the galleries at the Bruce Museum will move you. After all, they offer a rare glimpse at one of the most meaningful art movements in our country’s history.
Arts and Sciences at the Bruce Museum
The community has helped expand the Bruce Museum collection to nearly 15,000 objects representing the arts and sciences.
Connecticut painters and their paintings were the beginnings of the museum.
Later decades of early directors, curators, and staff were intent on honoring Mr. Bruce’s wishes. And so the Bruce Museum team, including:
- Ray Owen
- Paul Howes
- And Jack Clark
Continued to pursue the development of natural science exhibits and collections.
Permanent Exhibitions at the Bruce Museum
After an extensive renovation, the museum features seven permanent natural science exhibits including:
- Geology Gallery:
Examine a giant geological map illustrating how geological events formed the area. Major points include the Connecticut Valley and the “Sleeping Giant” of Hamden.
- Paleontology Gallery:
Discover life in the Triassic Period and the Jurassic Period with a look at the fascinating animals of the periods. The exhibition includes a full-size model of Dilophosaurus. This dinosaur once lived along the shorelines of the Connecticut Valley.
- Ice Age Gallery:
Fascinating details explain the amazing history of the area and how the Ice Age shaped it. You’ll also get an introduction to the species that lived in the area at that time.
- Natural Science Lab:
This space encourages experimentation, allowing visitors to learn more about local natural science.
- Marine Ecosystem Gallery:
Learn how tidal cycles influence the rhythm of life. You’ll get up close and personal with a marine tank of live sea creatures found in the Long Island Sound. Dioramas, and interactives about tides and fish migration also help submerge the average visitor.
- Terrestrial Ecosystems Gallery:
Get up close and personal with amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, both live and on display, in immersive dioramas.
- Big Backyard Gallery:
This is your chance to improve your relationship with insects. Learn to appreciate their role in small-scale cycles and why they are so important to the environment.
History and Ethnology at Bruce Museum
The Museum’s history collection spans from the colonial period to the present day. The collection presents a unique assemblage of everyday items that speak to life throughout the eras.
And yet, the museum is also a local repository for archaeological sites and artifacts in the Fairfield County region. Verified works of Native American artists who contributed to American art history have a presence. The museum is committed to collaborating with:
- Native Knowledge experts
- Elders from local tribes
- And other museums
To expand the interpretation of many objects in the collection.
Annual Events at the Bruce Museum
The Bruce Museum hosts two annual festivals and other events, one in the spring and the other in the fall.
Outdoor Craft Festival
Come May, you won’t want to miss one of the top summer festivals in Connecticut. During this family-friendly event, you can view handcrafted items made of ceramics, fiber, glass, wood, metal and more. You can also enjoy craft demonstrations, family craft activities, live music and food vendors!
If you’re in town for this festival, it’s one of the best things to do in Greenwich, CT, with kids!
The Annual Outdoor Arts Festival at the Bruce Museum is a two-day festival. Usually held Columbus Day weekend, it features original artwork from more than 80 local artists. The Bruce Museum Art Festival is a great chance to browse and visit with the artists themselves!
In addition to the Bruce Museum’s annual festivals and benefits, there are plenty of weekly events worth attending.
From the First Sunday Bird Walk at Greenwich Point Park to the Tuesday Toddler Tour, you’ll want to check the Bruce Museum Events Calendar often for current programs and offerings.
More Bruce Museum Points of Interest
Some more Bruce Museum-related attractions include:
Bruce Museum Store
A museum store usually features unique items you won’t find in your typical souvenir store. The Bruce Museum store is no different with its selection of unusual gifts, jewelry, accessories, fun and educational tours and much more! Don’t miss the Annual Holiday Evening, held each December, which offers museum guests the chance to enjoy shopping, as well as a selection of wines and cheeses!
And once you’ve finished exploring the Bruce Museum store, keep heading up Greenwich Avenue to find even more unique shopping destinations.
Bruce Museum Seaside Center
Bruce Museum’s Seaside Center is a beach museum at the beautiful Greenwich Point Park. It’s a short 6.5 mile drive from the main museum and is open the first Sunday of each month from 1:30-4:30 p.m. An afternoon at Seaside Center includes a variety of free family activities focusing on science and nature. Learn about gray seals, scallops, the coastline and much more. Be sure to visit the website for info on obtaining a beach pass to visit the center, which is required May-October.
Plan Your Visit to the Bruce Museum
The Bruce Museum is located at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich.
Bruce Museum hours are: Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The doors close 1/2 hour before closing, The last admission is at 4:30 p.m.
Find even more things to do in Greenwich, Connecticut
While the Bruce Museum has developed into a major attraction in Greenwich, there’s plenty more to fill your visit.
Bush-Holley House & Greenwich Historical Society
Head to Cos Cob to learn more about Greenwich history, including the Cos Cob Art Colony, at the Greenwich Historical Society.
More Connecticut museums are a short distance away, including the Neuberger Museum of Art.
And for this and more, be sure to download a free copy of the top attractions, activities and things to do in Greenwich, Connecticut.