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Tuesday, August 20 Entertainment

Free family fun at Bruce ConsTRUCKS as museum starts renovations

On Sunday, September 8, from noon to 4 p.m., Greenwich’s Bruce Museum will host Bruce ConsTRUCKS, a day of free family fun to celebrate the start of the museum’s new renovation and construction project.

Open to the entire community, Bruce ConsTRUCKS will feature construction trucks provided by Eversource and other vehicles for kids to explore, an array of children’s crafts and other hands-on activities, a visit by the “Bubble Bus,” a live performance by the children’s band Songs for Seeds, kegs and cans of cold brew coffee courtesy of Rise Brewing Co., cookies from Sweet Lisa’s, food and ice cream trucks and more.

Click here for details about the Bruce ConsTRUCKS event.

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The museum said in a news release the day will feature a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the public to draw on its gallery walls before renovation work begins.

Bruce ConsTRUCKS will also feature a noise- and horn-free quiet hour from 11 a.m. to noon for children and families with special needs looking for a sensory-friendly experience.

This free, public celebration will also give the community the opportunity to learn more about the museum’s renovation and expansion plans —- and to join the community-wide support of the Campaign for the New Bruce. Visitors will be able to view informational displays about the renovation and expansion project, and museum leaders and volunteers from across the community will be on hand to describe the transformative impact that the New Bruce will have.

Families with young children will be drawn not only to the construction trucks, but also to the hands-on craft activities stationed near the vehicles. Staffed by the museum’s educators and volunteers, the activities include:

Truck Sculptures: Children can design their very own truck from paper and then fill it up it with soft materials to create a “puffy truck” sculpture.

Tools of the Trade: With this craft activity, kids can make their own tool belts that they can wear home.

Paint Chip Collages: Pick out your favorite colors to create your own collage out of paint chips.

Design Time: Build like the best artists and engineers with our playful Imagination

Truck Finders: A hands-on sensory activity for toddlers.

Build a Museum: The museum will set visitors up with materials so you can build their own New Bruce.

“We’re excited to celebrate the public launch of the Campaign by hosting Bruce ConsTRUCKS,” said Julia Nusseibeh, who, along with Felicity Kostakis, Cricket Lockhart and Candace Procaccini, is helping organize the community-wide event. “It’s going to be a wonderful day of family fun, and a day to remember for all who love the Bruce Museum.”

The transformative capital expansion and renovation project — the first since a $4.3 million expansion in 1992 — is well under way. The centerpiece of the New Bruce is a three-story, 40,000 square-foot addition that will more than double the size of the current museum, offering more space for both art and science. Designed by the New Orleans firm of Eskew + Dumez + Ripple, the 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 rock quarries.

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In June, the Bruce Museum announced a $15 million lead gift from William L. Richter. The gift, the largest to the campaign to date, will support construction of the new art wing.

Said Richter of his gift: “I was inspired by the museum’s bold plans for the future and particularly admire the appearance of the building, as well as its functionality. I’m honored by the thought that my name will be on the new art wing, and I hope that this gift to the Bruce and to the Town of Greenwich will be the catalyst for further progress in making it a reality.”

The next phase of the New Bruce project will begin in September with the renovation of the museum’s current changing gallery spaces. These galleries will close on September 1 and re-open on February 1, 2020, with the installation of major new art and science exhibitions. The museum will remain open during this renovation phase, with exhibitions in the Bantle Lecture Gallery and permanent science gallery and an array of educational and enrichment programs for visitors of all ages.

The enhancements to the art galleries will be followed, in February 2020, by a complete renovation and reinvention of the permanent science galleries.

“These are exciting times, not just for us here at the Bruce but for the entire community,” said Robert Wolterstorff, who in June succeeded Peter C. Sutton as the Museum’s Susan E. Lynch Executive Director. “We’ve long been known for our great exhibitions of art and science and for the wonderful educational programs we provide to schools throughout the region. But Museums are really about people; about learning and connections for our members; about offering great experiences to visitors and community. That’s why we want to invite the entire community to be a part of building a new Museum — the New Bruce.”

The expansion of the Museum from 30,000 to 70,000 square feet will add state-of-the-art exhibition, education, and community spaces, significantly increasing room for permanent and changing exhibitions of art and science, and connecting the Museum to its picturesque setting in Bruce Park in a dramatic new way.

Spaces dedicated to hands-on learning will triple in size. Two new education workshops will highlight interactive activities in art and science, offering families and school groups memorable ways to explore the themes presented in the New Bruce.

The New Bruce will also include a lecture hall, restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, expanded Museum Store, light-filled interior courtyard, and meeting spaces for both public and private functions that will make the Museum a vibrant center for the entire regional community.

The Campaign for the New Bruce is 75 percent of the way toward the construction goal of $45 million. The overall $60 million campaign includes an additional $15 million for the Museum’s Endowment, to ensure sustainability and support new programs. More than $6 million has been raised for the Endowment to date.

Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich. Hours: Tuesdays-Sundays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Mondays and major holidays. 203-869-0376.

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