GREENWICH, CT — The Bruce Museum is pleased to announce a significant new gift of minerals from the renowned private collection of Robert R. Wiener. The recent donation follows the gift of nearly 100 world-class minerals Wiener pledged to the Museum in 2018 and includes a number of exceptional – and exceptionally large – museum-quality specimens.
Mr. Wiener is the chairman of MAXX Properties, a family-owned real estate company based in Harrison, N.Y. An Honorary Trustee of the Bruce Museum, Wiener has also made a $500,000 contribution to the Campaign for the New Bruce, the Museum’s transformative renovation and expansion project.
These magnificent minerals will be permanently highlighted along with selections from the Bruce Museum’s existing collection of gems and minerals in the new Robert R. Wiener Mineral Gallery when the New Bruce opens in 2022.
“Robert Wiener has been collecting minerals for over five decades from sites across the globe, from Peru to Tasmania to Madagascar, and from intricately connected cubes of pyrite, to dazzlingly clear crystals of selenite, to fiery red hexagons of vanadinite,” says Dr. Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science.
“The Bruce team is creating a new state-of-the-art gallery to showcase these world treasures, and thanks to Mr. Wiener’s foresight and generosity, our Museum and its soon-to-be Robert R. Wiener Mineral Gallery will be among the nation’s preeminent destinations for enjoying, and learning from, these scientifically fascinating and aesthetically beautiful objects.”
One could say that the story of the new gallery started when Robert Wiener encountered the world of minerals during a museum visit with his grandmother, when he was seven years old. This sparked a love of minerals, and over time, Mr. Wiener assembled one of the world’s premier mineral collections, which today spans over 3,000 specimens.
“I’m delighted to be able to share my collection, and my passion,” says Wiener. “It’s a happy experience to spread knowledge and open the eyes of the uninitiated to a world with an allure that lasts forever.”
“My passion is for the people who are creating the New Bruce and their excitement about creating a cultural institution of the highest caliber,” Wiener adds. “I hope the minerals will sparkle in children's eyes and create an enthusiasm for learning more about geology, and all the other wonderful things that will come to them as they did to me by getting into the science of the earth.”
In November 2017, the Bruce Museum opened a temporary exhibition titled Treasures of the Earth: Mineral Masterpieces from the Robert R. Wiener Collection. “It proved to be wildly popular with our visitors,” Dr. Ksepka says. “We were shocked and thrilled when Mr. Wiener announced during the exhibition that he would donate all of the minerals on display to our permanent collection — along with some more even exceptional pieces. This extraordinary new donation has inspired us to envision a bigger and better permanent exhibition with state-of-the-art lighting and customized displays to highlight the collection.”
Reflecting the appeal of minerals as both scientifically fascinating and aesthetically beautiful objects, the new gallery will be placed at the intersection of three other major spaces in the New Bruce: the Cycles permanent science exhibition, the new changing science exhibition gallery, and the William L. Richter Art Wing.
Minerals are a source of wonder. Brilliant colors, dazzling lusters, and fascinating crystal forms captivate the imagination. Many examples of unusual crystal forms, rare combinations of multiple minerals growing together, and eye-catchingly enormous specimens will all be featured in the Wiener Mineral Gallery. Visitors will learn about the key aspects of mineralogy and the critical roles minerals play in everything from nutrition to smart phones.
“Words can hardly express my gratitude to Robert Wiener for this amazing donation! This transformational gift will put the Bruce at the forefront in collecting and exhibiting minerals,” says Robert Wolterstorff, The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director. “These rare and gorgeous specimens exemplify the seemingly endless variety of forms and colors found in the world of minerals. The Bruce Museum is about exploring the fascinating ways in which art and science inspire and connect. Because of its location, right at the heart of the New Bruce, the Wiener Mineral Gallery will truly be a bridge between art and science, inspiring generations of visitors to come. Thank you, Robert Wiener!”
The New Bruce project – the first since a $4.3 million expansion in 1992 – is well under way. The expansion of the Museum from 30,000 to more than 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.