An expanded and transformed Bruce Museum to open on April 2, 2023

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An expanded and transformed Bruce Museum to open on April 2, 2023
The ‘New Bruce’ triples the space for art and science exhibitions, adds an education wing, and provides new public spaces and amenities. Photo: Michael Biondo.

GREENWICH, CONN.- The Bruce Museum will open its newly renovated and expanded building on April 2, 2023, following a transformative $67 million building project that more than doubles the size of the Museum. The centerpiece of the New Bruce is the addition of a three-story, 44,000 square-foot new wing that will provide expansive exhibition galleries, a new entrance and lobby, and public amenities including event spaces, an auditorium, and café. Designed by the award-winning New Orleans and Washington, D.C. architectural firm EskewDumezRipple, the new building will open directly onto Bruce Park and will feature a delicate, striated facade of cast stone and glass inspired by the surfaces of Connecticut’s rock quarries.

As a regional world-class, multi-disciplinary museum that brings art, science, and natural history together, the New Bruce triples the Museum’s capacity to show its art and science collections and temporary exhibitions in spacious, modern galleries, while adding state-of-the-art education and community spaces and added storage capacity for its growing collection. The creation of adjacent galleries for art and science will for the first time afford visitors the opportunity to move easily from one to the other, a spatial arrangement that will enable curators to create synergy among art and science exhibitions that enhance understanding and learning and underscores the Bruce brand, as a meeting point for art and science.

A revitalized park landscape and entry plaza designed by landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand will direct visitors into a naturally illuminated first floor, which will be open to the public free of charge and will include a new Museum store, auditorium, restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, and flexible spaces for public and private events. The Museum’s outdoor campus will feature landscaped walking paths and inviting spaces for relaxation and contemplation.

Bruce Museum Board of Trustees Co-Chairs James B. Lockhart III and William J. Deutsch commented in a joint statement: "We are overjoyed to announce that opening day for the New Bruce is nearly here. There are so many people to thank, from the Long-Range Planning Committee to the Building and Campaign Committees who have shepherded the construction and fundraising, to every Trustee, volunteer, and the many donors who supported this vision. The New Bruce will provide engaging art, science, and education programming for the community. For all of those who have given their time, their financial support, and their talent, we are so thankful."

“We are thrilled to be able to welcome the public to the New Bruce this spring,” said Robert Wolterstorff, the Bruce Museum’s Susan E. Lynch Executive Director and CEO. “Our vision for this new space is to excite, educate, and invigorate the spirit and imagination of our visitors, and to serve our community through the joy of experiencing art and science up close. My profound gratitude goes to the many people–our Board, staff, volunteers, patrons, architects, and designers–who are bringing their talents and work to make this dream a reality.”

“Our interest in this expansion for the Bruce Museum grew from a longstanding belief that art and architecture play an essential role in enriching the lives of those who experience them,” added Steve Dumez, Principal and Design Director of EskewDumezRipple. “Informed by our experience exploring the landscape of the Connecticut coast, and the belief that great architecture should celebrate its context, the New Bruce takes its inspiration from the geology of the region. Hopefully such inspiration will similarly inspire its community and future generations to explore the complex relationships between art and science.”

“We believe that access to art, science and natural history is crucial for building a thriving community – the New Bruce will be a vital resource and space for museumgoers and community members to gather and learn,” said Bill Tommins, President, Bank of America Southern Connecticut. “As longtime partners of the Bruce and lead inaugural year partner of the New Bruce, we look forward to seeing the impact the New Bruce has on our community and beyond.”

At the heart of the newly expanded Bruce Museum is the 13,000-square-foot William L. Richter Art Wing, which includes a 4,500-square-foot gallery for changing exhibitions and five new galleries for the growing permanent art collection. In March 2022, the Bruce announced that it had received a promised gift of a major collection of European and American art—ranging from French and American Impressionism to the works of Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Andrew Wyeth, and others—as an anonymous bequest, the largest gift of art in the Museum’s 112-year history. Selections drawn from the collection of 70 works, as well as two outstanding works on paper by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse - a bequest by the wing’s namesake, William L. Richter - will join works focusing on American and European Impressionism, Modernism, Surrealism, and contemporary art, as inaugural exhibitions in the art wing. The new art installations will be curated by Margarita Karasoulas, the Bruce’s Curator of Art.

Greeting visitors at the opening of the expanded Bruce Museum will be a completely new permanent exhibition of minerals, showcasing stunning specimens from around the world in elegant vitrines with ultramodern lighting; the Permanent Science Galleries, a suite of seven permanent natural history galleries that take visitors through the story of nature’s cycles, from woolly mammoth tusks to butterfly wings; and a new Science Changing Exhibition Gallery that will open with a special exhibition on penguins and thereafter will feature rotating exhibitions. The new science installations will be overseen by Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science.

A new Sculpture Gallery adjoining both the William L. Richter Art Wing and the science wing will provide a spacious, light-filled interior with expansive views of the Long Island Sound.

The new state-of-the-art Cohen Education Wing will provide a dramatically enhanced educational experience for more than 50,000 schoolchildren each year and will welcome lifelong learners of all ages with a wide variety of programming.

The Bruce Museum will welcome the public to a day of free admission and grand opening festivities on Sunday, April 2, 2023. Pre-opening week will include special celebrations, tours and events for donors, corporate and community partners, and previews for Bruce members.

Launching in concert with the Bruce’s new spaces is a new brand identity developed by Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy, as well as a new website conceived by Fabrique, a Dutch digital design agency specializing in strategy, design and development.

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