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Brucemore Mansion transforms into holiday haven ahead of tour series

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — If you’re in search of something to get you into the holiday spirit look no further than the Brucemore Mansion in the heart of Cedar Rapids.

The historic landmark is transformed into a holiday haven each year thanks to a handful of volunteers from Pearsons Education.

You may think you go all out decorating for the holiday.

“But we really got full tilt on it,” said Museum Program Manager, Jessica Peel-Austin.

Staff and volunteers at Brucemore Mansion have it down to a science.

“Brucemore is really magical during Christmas. We really want to give people a spectacle to look at,” said Peel-Austin.

Each room is carefully decorated down to every detail.

“There are so many ornaments there you will not be able to see a bare branch,” said Volunteer, Tatum Gunsolly.

Every room has it’s own holiday flare with 13 trees scattered around in various rooms.

“I do the nursery every year. It’s the biggest and most challenging of the trees,” said Gunsolly.

Gunsolly is among the 15 to 20 volunteers from Pearsons who make it all come together. On average it takes the crew about 4 to 5 hours.

“The kids just enjoy seeing the lights and the cool ornaments and it really puts people in the Christmas spirit,” said Gunsolly.

The mansion was once home to three prominent Cedar Rapids families and was donated to the community in 1881.

“It’s like a little version of Downton Abbey in my opinion. There are a lot of cool rooms in the house, they have a lot of really cool tours,” said Gunsolly.

The holiday splendor is all in preparation for the Mansion’s holiday tour series which raises money to help preserve this slice of history.

“We have 26 acres of ground, 7 historic structures that we need to maintain and those visitation dollars during the holidays help us sustain our programming year-round,” said Peel-Austin.

Brucemore is also competing to be named a USA Today top ten best Holiday Historic Home Tours. To learn more about that visit this link.

Tours begin November 29th through December 29th. On a select night, you can catch a performance with the home’s recently restored pipe organ.

For a full schedule and prices visit its website.


Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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