Situated in gorgeous Greenwich next to a great playground, the Bruce Museum has long been a magnet for Fairfield-area families, despite its small size and sedate vibe. But parents will be thrilled to know that the Bruce will soon be bigger, better, and way kid-friendlier. Exciting renovations began last month, and will include a transformation of the main gallery space to focus on hands-on science exhibits, an update to the Art Wing, and most exciting of all, a brand-new Education Wing devoted to interactive children's programming. Read on for more exciting details about the "New Bruce" below, and see our Connecticut Museum Guide for more enriching day-trip ideas.
The new Bruce Museum will more than double in size, expanding from 30,000 to 70,000 square feet.
Bruce Museum Kids' Programs to Check Out Now
While the major renovations won't be complete until 2022, kids can enjoy features of the "New Bruce" now. In anticipation of the family-friendly structural changes, the Bruce Museum has been busy enhancing its children's programming. Along with events like Fall Family Day, which will feature fun crafts and activities like watercolor painting and mineral exploration, families can (and should!) take advantage of some drop-off and drop-in programs at the museum. There's a Thanksgiving Food Science Lab on tap for November, for instance, and Science Solvers and Art Adventure programs that allow families to interact with exhibits together on Saturdays and Sundays.
STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) programming for little ones is a big focus at the "New Bruce," too. Preschoolers and their caregivers are invited to Bruce Beginnings, a science and arts activity program that's offered every Tuesday morning and afternoon, while toddlers are encouraged to explore through play at Bruce Beginnings, Jr., offered on select Thursdays.
The main galleries will reopen in February 2020 and will include new temporary art and science displays, including an especially cool "Under the Skin" exhibit, showcasing how modern imaging technology can capture animal scales, skeletons, and more in beautiful and fascinating ways. The main science exhibit space will close for awhile after that time, to reopen with much more space and interactive features in 2022.
Along with rotating science exhibits, a new, permanent Science Wing will open in 2022.
All-New Science Gallery and Educational Wing in the Works
Encompassing all of the museum's existing galleries, the Science Wing of the New Bruce (opening 2022) will have space to explore cutting-edge science themes in greater depth. Kids can anticipate new fossils and specimens as well as a dazzling mineral gallery. New lighting and sound effects in the science galleries will present multi-sensory expeditions thorough the region's natural history, as reflected in dioramas and exhibits that include dinosaurs and live animal displays. Meanwhile, artsy kids will appreciate new permanent art galleries (a first for the museum) that encourage art exploration via works spanning from the fourth century to the early 21st century.
For families, the most exciting feature of the "New Bruce" will be the Education Wing. Here, spaces dedicated to interactive learning will triple in size and accommodate programs for children as young as 2, individuals of all abilities, and—kudos to the Bruce for acknowledging this need—those with memory loss and their caretakers. Designed with both field trip groups and family day trippers in mind, the Education Wing will feature loads of interactive displays related to science, nature, technology, and more.
Know Before You Go
- The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.
- Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for students (5-22 with valid ID), and free for museum members and children under 5. Individual admission is free on Tuesdays.
- The building is stroller-friendly and accessible to individuals with disabilities.
- Bruce Park, which borders the museum property, features hiking trails, picnic areas, and a playground.
- For now, there is no cafe on site (one is planned along with the 2022 renovations), but plenty of good eats are found in the area. The French-inspired Meli-Melo features a vast selection of crepes, sorbets, soups, sandwiches, and ice cream. If you'd rather feast on Mediterranean cuisine, check out Famous Green Kitchen, go Southwestern at Boxcar Cantina, or indulge your sweet tooth at St. Moritz Pastry Shop.
All photos courtesy of the Bruce Museum