Greenwich Historical Society launches $18.5 million campaign

Funds raised will transform Bush-Holley House campus

The Greenwich Historical Society has announced to the public its Reimagine the Greenwich Historical Society Campaign, an initiative that will dramatically transform the National Historic Landmark Bush-Holley House campus, expand and provide better access to its facilities, and enrich its education and preservation programs. The visionary plan will enable the Historical Society to advance its mission by making a greater contribution to the cultural life of Greenwich and surrounding areas, while ensuring preservation of its historic buildings and grounds for the future.

Opportunity to secure Greenwich’s legacy and provide a bridge to the future

The Historical Society began its $18.5 million Capital Campaign in 2015 to reach three main goals:

  • 1) raise funds necessary for the campus transformation
  • 2) expand its exhibitions, educational programs and historic preservation initiatives
  • 3) increase its endowment

Having successfully raised $10 million in the initial quiet phase, the Historical Society is entering the public stage of the Campaign to raise the additional $8.5 million required to fund the campus improvements, programmatic transformation, and endowment. Anonymous donors have agreed to match dollar for dollar the first $6.75 million. Construction will begin in 2017.

“The Reimagine the Greenwich Historical Society Campaign offers a unique opportunity to secure and enhance the Historical Society’s future, placing it at the forefront of the nation’s historical institutions,” says Peter Malkin, Campaign Chairman. “The extraordinary dollar-for-dollar matching gift from anonymous donors gives us a wonderful assist in achieving the crucial support we need to realize the Society’s vision for a dynamic campus that will place Greenwich’s story indelibly within the broad context of American history, while providing an all-important bridge to the future for generations to come.”

Distinguished officials support campaign committee

Three prominent public officials and their wives serve as the honorary campaign leadership: Senator Richard Blumenthal and Cynthia M. Blumenthal, State Senator Scott Franz and Icy Franz and First Selectman Peter Tesei and Jill Tesei. The Campaign Committee includes Bruce Dixon, Haley Elmlinger, Suzanne Frank, Robert Getz, Barbara MacDonald, Deborah Royce, John Townsend and Hugh Vanderbilt Junior. The committee is working with Koszyn & Company, a prominent Campaign consulting firm that has executed numerous Capital Campaigns with cultural and educational institutions, including Columbia University, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the University Club of New York.

Expanded campus and new buildings to fascinate, celebrate, educate

The award-winning historic preservation architectural firm of David Scott Parker Architects has developed a visionary plan that includes new state-of-the-art galleries and archives, more than doubled parking and handicap access, including an elevator, for welcoming the community. The new building will have two state-of-the-art exhibition and orientation halls to showcase the permanent art and history collections as well as loans from museums and private collections, public archives for researchers, students and archives volunteers to process and preserve collections, a gift shop, and a café.

A historic building that was once the Railroad Hotel and subsequently Toby’s Tavern will be restored to its appearance at the height of the Cos Cob art colony at the turn of the 20th century. It will offer a museum shop and new Artists Café, exhibition space for community artists, meeting space and rooms to store permanent collections. The current exhibition space in the adjoining 1805 Storehouse will be renovated to accommodate all Historical Society staff offices.

Landscaping restored to the Cos Cob art colony era will provide more green space for outdoor events and children’s programs.

Multiple interpretive platforms to make Greenwich’s history engaging, relevant and participatory

The reimagined Campus will enable more dynamic programming and innovative, state-of-the-art experiences for bringing Greenwich’s history alive to a larger audience. Humanities themes that address Greenwich’s rich cultural legacy and character will be available onsite and virtually through interactive digital technologies, mobile devices, and social media platforms. Selections from the Society’s unique physical collections, containing more than 40,000 archival materials that document Greenwich’s rich cultural heritage, will be digitized to permit off-site access.

“New technologies will enable us to expand significantly our outreach and create more participatory learning experiences that will inspire a spirit of discovery for people of all ages,” says Debra Mecky, Greenwich Historical Society Executive Director. “We are confident this will encourage greater appreciation for our town’s vibrant history and more active involvement in preserving its rich legacy.”

The public is now invited to support the Capital Campaign to enable the Historical Society to achieve its mission and long-term vision for preserving and presenting local history and art in a dynamic site dedicated to lifetime learning. For information about how to contribute, please contact Katrina Dorsey, Greenwich Historical Society Director of Development, at 203.869-6899, ext. [email protected].

An artist's rendering of the reimagined campus of the Greenwich Historical Society

An artist’s rendering of the reimagined campus of the Greenwich Historical Society

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