Campaign for the New Bruce Receives Critical New Community Support

Above: Bruce Museum staff, Campaign leaders, donors, and elected officials celebrate the Groundbreaking of the New Bruce building addition on October 8, 2020.

With construction of the “New Bruce” now officially underway, supporters of the Bruce Museum’s ambitious renovation and expansion project have not only stepped up to the latest fundraising challenge – they far exceeded the goal of the $500,000 Match, leaders of the Campaign for the New Bruce announced today.

This past summer, three generous friends of the Bruce Museum came forward to launch a $500,000 Challenge for the Campaign and agreed to match all new gifts by the October 8 Groundbreaking for the 43,000-square-foot addition, which will include the William L. Richter Art Wing and vibrant new community spaces, featuring a restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining, a state-of-the-art auditorium, and a larger Museum store. The renovation of the existing Museum building will include the new Steven & Alexandra Cohen Education Wing and Robert R. Wiener Mineral Gallery, as well as reimagined science exhibition galleries.

The Challenge was met by over 100 donors, including past Campaign contributors, raising more than $600,000 in new contributions. Lynne and Richard Pasculano were inspired by those who launched the Challenge, and close to the end of the Match made a new pledge of $500,000. This means that the initial $500,000 Challenge was matched – and then matched again. This was followed by an additional gift of $100,000 by anonymous donors who have previously supported the Campaign with an impactful gift. Such generosity from our community enabled $1.7 million to be raised within the past few months, a measure of how beloved the Bruce Museum is by its family of friends and supporters. 

“In breaking ground on the wonderful new building addition, we are celebrating a new beginning for the Bruce Museum, and celebrating the donors who have gotten us to this point,” says Robert Wolterstorff, The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director. “We are truly grateful to the donors who launched this most recent Challenge and to all the generous supporters who came forward to double and ultimately even to triple the impact of their gifts. It really made a difference in allowing us to break ground this fall. Thank you all so much!”

The New Bruce Campaign will continue to raise funds to construct, furnish, and install the New Bruce and to increase the Endowment, which will sustain the dramatically expanded educational and exhibition programs, the new art galleries, and completely renovated science galleries that will be hallmarks of the New Bruce.

To date, the Campaign for the New Bruce has received contributions from more than 375 individuals, businesses, and foundations. This includes significant support from members of the Museum’s renowned Docent program and 100% support from the Museum’s professional staff. What’s more, in addition to the tens of millions of dollars already given, the Museum’s Board of Trustees is poised to complete a separate, $1 million fundraising initiative to underwrite one of the new classrooms in the Education Wing.

“We are very grateful for all these recent gifts and thankful to the New Bruce benefactors over the last several years,” says James B. Lockhart III, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “It is great to see our friends and neighbors come together to support the New Bruce as the community focal point for education, art and science.”

The transformative project to reimagine the Bruce has been proceeding in phases. A top-to-bottom renovation of the Museum’s changing gallery spaces, begun in September 2019, was completed on budget and on time to host the opening of major new exhibitions of art and science on February 1, 2020.

The current phase of the renovation project, which began on February 3, 2020, is the reinvention of the Museum’s permanent science galleries. Scheduled to reopen in late 2021, the entirely new Natural Cycles Shape Our Land exhibition will present a multi-sensory expedition through the region’s rich natural history and address critical issues in science today, including climate and environmental challenges and solutions. The new galleries include interactives throughout, a refurbished diorama, and displays that include full-scale models of dinosaurs and live animals. For a virtual tour of these gallery spaces, please visit NewBruceScience.org.

Construction has now begun on the centerpiece of the New Bruce: The three-story, 43,000-square-foot addition that will more than double the size of the Museum. Designed by the award-winning New Orleans firm of EskewDumezRipple, the new building will open directly onto Bruce Park and feature a delicate striated façade of cast stone and glass inspired by the surfaces of Connecticut’s quarries and the rock outcrops of Bruce Park. The EDR team includes Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects, who are creating a natural environment around the New Bruce that includes a new sculpture trail and places to stroll and play.

The New Bruce Campaign Committee is led by Museum Trustees John Ippolito and Heidi Brake Smith and past Trustee and Museum Council Co-Chair Susan V. Mahoney. To learn more about the Campaign for the New Bruce and to participate, please contact Whitney Lucas Rosenberg, Director of Development and Institutional Advancement, at 203-413-6765 or wrosenberg@brucemuseum.org, or Barbara Tavrow, Campaign Director, at 203-249-8225 or btavrow@bjtavrowconsulting.com