Bush-Holley House Museum

Bush-Holley House Museum, Cos Cob: Address, Phone Number, Bush-Holley House Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Bush-Holley House Museum
4.5
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A 19th-century boarding house where artists rented rooms and where the first Impressionist art colony in the United States was established.
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4.5
27 reviews
Excellent
17
Very good
7
Average
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christopherbO9687MP
Acton, MA474 contributions
This collection of buildings run by the Greenwich Historical Society contains some excellent Colonial Era homes plus an adjacent art gallery focused on the former Impressionist art colony that once occupied this site. A series of Impressionist painters traveled up from NYC to the adjacent Cos Cob railroad station to stay with the homes' owners. Both the homes and their expensive gardens were frequent subjects of these Impressionists' works; you can compare several of the paintings, drawings, and other works in the art gallery with the actual buildings & gardens.

There's currently a special exhibit on Greenwich's agricultural history and how it evolved into fancy formal estate gardens as the former farmland became NYC suburban housing. You can see the landscape architecture plans for a number of these estates.

Note that the Bush-Holley House is currently being renovated, so actual interior tours won't resume until later this year. A video tour in the main gallery does give you an idea what the interior looked like. If you're interested in early American history & art, this is well worth a stop.
Written August 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JB NY
New York City, NY61 contributions
Friends
A great window into pre-Revolutionary War history, all the way up to the 1930's. Very well curated with a great guide. Art, history, politics - all in one place.
Written June 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bfranz
New York City, NY51 contributions
Family
We wound up here when rain cancelled our beach day. SO glad. Our tour guide Lucy was fantastic and not only taught us so much about the house specifically but also about general history and art. From the slave quarters up through the Victory Garden, the museum showcases the most interesting aspects of the house's entire history, and the people who lived there come alive. The current exhibit in the storehouse is fascinating- it covers the great estates in the area, which my companion loved, while I absolutely adored the incredible clothing and accessories on display. I've been to a lot of historic houses lately and this was the most engaging and interesting. And as a side note, tours are usually given on the hour. We got there too late for one and figured we'd missed out since we couldn't stay for the next one, but Lucy took us on our own, personalized tour that was a bit abbreviated so she'd be back in time for the scheduled tour, and adapted it for the things we were most interested in. She was absolutely great- she knew the answers to every question (I tend to ask a lot of questions) and had so much enthusiasm. They have a lot of special programs and programs for kids, and the next time I'm in town I'll definitely check to see if there's any special program going on there.
Written August 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

peggyvb
Woodmere, NY264 contributions
Couples
It's about art and history with some disturbing facts about the slaves who lived there. It was very informative.
Written October 11, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tatsumi
New York, New Yok7 contributions
Friends
A fascinating bit of preserved revolutionary war era Greenwich. It's location just underneath I-95 is an unfortunate reminder of the destruction wrought upon the environment by our progress.
Written April 23, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kzsull01
Windsor, CT362 contributions
My husband and I visited the Greenwich Historical Society and toured the Bush-Holley House in Cos Cob, Connecticut on Thursday, December 16th, 2021, taking the 12:00 PM tour.

The Tour:

The tour was excellent and quite educational, lasting about an hour. It was a nice walk back through time and it was great that we were able to take pictures both inside and outside of the house. Our tour guide, John, was very knowledgeable, friendly, polite, and informative, providing a quite interesting and comprehensive tour of the house and information about the other buildings on the museum’s property. He also answered all of our questions. The tour included a great history of the Bush-Holley house, the families that lived there, with details about individual family members and the people that boarded there when it was a boarding house. Very interesting details about the Cos Cob Impressionist Art Colony and the many beautiful paintings on display throughout the house painted by members of the Art Colony were provided on the tour, which included works in oil, watercolor, pastel and etching with information about the complex etching process. The paintings and the background information about them provided a nice history of the area and its people.

The stages of the many renovations to the house and other buildings on the property, including Toby’s Tavern Railroad House Hotel, were also quite interesting. The tour included multiple rooms in the house. The house was nicely decorated for Christmas and furnished from a historical perspective with authentic pieces’ original to the house, which were pointed out on the tour, as well as period pieces. The tour also included historical information about Greenwich and addressed two time periods, the New Nation about 1790 – 1825 and the Cos Cob Art Colony 1890 – 1920, making it very unique because of the span of time nicely on display in the house and depicted on the tour. It is nice that the Greenwich Historical Society has restored the house and I believe the other buildings on the property to their appearance during the height of the Cos Cob Art Colony era, which occurred during the timeframe between 1890 – 1920.

The Gallery:

After the tour we went to view the gallery that was open upstairs in the main building. It provided a nice timeline of the Historical Society, Greenwich, and its many changes that it went through over the years. It also included a nice overview video/film. The paintings on display in the gallery were beautiful and were also painted by members of the Cos Cob Art Colony. The write-ups/interpretive markers that were on display in the gallery were informative and quite interesting.

Our visit took an hour and half in total, including the tour and going through the gallery, and it was a very nice walk back through time. We recommend a visit to this museum if you have the opportunity and hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.

Some Information About the Directions and Parking:.

The directions on the museum’s website were good but a little unclear due to the mention of a U-Turn onto Sound Shore Drive. If you are heading southbound on I-95 and taking Exit 4 you will take a right onto Indian Field Road and then a quick immediate right onto Sound Shore Drive, but not an actual U-Turn right on the same road that you were on, as you might expect a U-Turn to be. But you will be heading on Sound Shore Drive in the direction of the Exit 4 ramp road that you just came from. The museums’s parking lot under the I-95 overpass was quite nice and was very convenient because it was right next to the entrance to the museum. I believe there was parking on two levels but there were no cars parked on the upper level during the time of our visit. So parking was free and very convenient to the entrance to the museum.

The Museum Store and More:

The Museum Store was quite nice, being well laid out with beautiful merchandise, and the staff members at the front desk were very friendly. The set of note cards that we received as being holders of the CT Art Trail Passport Booklets were also nice and we thank the museum for them. I believe the museum was open before the 12:00 PM tour began, but I am not sure when it opened. So you could probably arrive earlier than the first 12:00 PM tour.

The Issue We Encountered With Traffic:

The only issue that we had was that our car’s navigator indicated that it would take an hour and 35 minutes to get to the museum from our home in Windsor. It led us onto I-95 as the shortest route, the same way as the directions on the museum’s website. It ended up taking about 2 hours due to road work that probably started after we left our house and perhaps even when we were already on I-95. Fortunately we arrived at the museum on time because we left our house early. Also, fortunately the ride back was only an hour and a half, with our car navigator taking us on some back roads in Greenwich and then onto Route 15, the Merritt Parkway. This was much nicer than I-95 from both a scenic and traffic perspective.
Written December 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

arthur w
Brooklyn, NY60 contributions
this museum is located in cos cob, ct., just off exit 4 of interstate 95. the house has 2 stories to tell, one about the colonial dwelling, and one about the art colony that thrived here. both are of great interest, with many paintings on view by artists who lived in the area or came to be part of the colony. the early history of the house is very interesting. best of all, you can see, on a piece of preserved wallpaper, a stamp issued by the british during the stamp act of 1765! you can read about the stamp act, and how it helped to lead up to the american revolution, but to actually see one was truly amazing. renovations are currently underway in the gallery area, but this does not affect the tour. highly recommended for history buffs and art students.
Written June 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

neekeem
London, UK19 contributions
Couples
A great place to visit if you're in the area.

The house had 2 notable families, the Bushes (1750ish-1850ish) and the Holleys (1875ish-1950ish), and half the house is decorated for each family. Our docent-led tour had 7 people, including the 2 of us. Even though it was a weekday afternoon, someone brought along a 5 year old child, who was well-behaved but the docent did pay entirely too much attention to him and skewed the whole visit to appeal more to a child - not ideal, but not a deal-breaker.

Our guide was knowledgeable but did seem a bit nervous. It was okay, though.

The Greenwich Historical Society also has a lovely display in the next door house (where you go to buy your ticket - $10 for an adult). We spent an hour total between the Museum and the House.

The House was about 10 or 15 minutes away by foot from Cos Cob station.
Written October 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dante M
Sacramento, CA256 contributions
Solo
This was my first time at the Bush-Holley House, in Cos Cob, and in the state of Connecticut.

I spent a couple hours exploring the tranquil enclave of Cos Cob, a section of Greenwich with a beautiful harbor, and this quaint National Historic Landmark. This was the home of the wealthy merchant Bush family from roughly 1750-1850, and half the house is set in that period. Relics from the Revolutionary era include a stove designed by Ben Franklin, a chair that doubles as a chamber pot, and some wall paper marked with a stamp imposed by the Stamp Act tax on paper goods.

The other half of the house reflects its time as the hub of the Cos Cob Artists Colony during the American Impressionist period. Elmer MacRae was the most famous artist to live here. He often painted impressionist images of his wife and daughters. One of these images was of his daughter Constant "Feeding the Ducks." MacRae would later exhibit that piece at the famous 1913 Armory Show in NYC.

Visitors check in for tours at the Greenwich Historical Society in the small yellow house next door. There is also a small museum about the history of Greenwich and a gift shop in that building. The clerk there and my tour guide were both young, vibrant college age students who were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. I really enjoyed the visit.

Overall: Prime stop in quaint Cos Cob. Definitely worth a couple hours.
Written October 14, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

robcurtross
New York City, NY14,583 contributions
Couples
Although the guide did a wonderful job in explaining the complex history of this house, it is essential that you buy the guide to the house if you want to fully understand it.

There is a small but very interesting gift shop, and we found the history of the slaves and the room that they probably lived in one of the most moving parts of our visit.

Another high point was the extraordinary number of paintings that were done in the house and featuring the exact rooms ofthe house. That begins as soon as you walk in the door and you see a young girl in a painting looking at the staircase that you are seeing in real life.

Very much worth while to both of us.
Written September 9, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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