Robert Wolterstorff to Step Down as Executive Director and CEO of Bruce Museum

The Board of Trustees of the Bruce Museum, Connecticut’s premier institution of art and science, announced that Robert Wolterstorff, the Susan E. Lynch Executive Director and CEO of the Bruce Museum, will be leaving his role on June 30, 2024.

Mr. Wolterstorff joined the Bruce in June 2019 and assumed responsibility for the New Bruce Capital Campaign with the goal to more than double the size of the museum with a 43,000 square foot addition.

Under his leadership, the Museum finished the $68 million campaign and completed construction of the addition. Mr. Wolterstorff added important promised or loaned art collections to the Museum including the extraordinary Impressionist and Modern art in the William L. Richter Gallery and the David Hockney collection on loan from Roy B. and Edith J. Simpson on display in the Blavatnik Family Gallery.

The new Bruce opened in April 2023 and has been heralded as a “true gem” in Greenwich and the broader tri-state area.

The Board of Trustees of the Bruce Museum has a plan in place to ensure a smooth transition with an Interim Executive Director from the Board and has immediately begun a search for a new Executive Director/CEO.

Mr. Wolterstorff noted, “With the new building up and running, growing pains being thoughtfully addressed, new fiscal leadership in place, and the strategic plan providing a road map for the future, I feel like I have accomplished what I set out to do. It is a good moment for me to step away.”

Simone McEntire and Bill Deutsch, Co-Chairs of the Bruce Museum Board of Trustees added, “We are sure everyone joins us in our appreciation for all that Robert has done to launch the new Bruce and in our best wishes for the next step in his career. Robert has made numerous contributions to the New Bruce for which we are grateful.”

The Bruce Museum Appoints Jonathan Rohner as Chief Operating Officer

Separately, the Bruce Museum announces the appointment of Jonathan Rohner as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective immediately. In this role, Mr. Rohner will be responsible for all operations of the Museum including: Finance, IT/Systems, Communications including marketing, public relations, and social media, Human Resources, as well as the Security, Facilities, Retail, and Café operations of the Museum. Mr. Rohner will serve as co-leader of the Museum alongside the Executive Director and report directly to the Bruce Museum Board of Trustees.

Mr. Rohner comes to the Bruce Museum from the Yale Peabody Museum/Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies (YIBS) in New Haven, CT where he was Director of Finance and Administration since 2016. Prior to Yale Peabody he served as the Finance and Administration Manager for the Yale School of Art and the Business Manager for the Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre.

Mr. Rohner graduated from the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He received a Master of Arts, Arts Administration from Columbia University. Jonathan has worked in museums and cultural organizations his entire career and has held roles of increasing responsibility in finance, grants, digital media, and education at distinguished museums including: the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, the Frick Collection, and the National Gallery of Art.

Jacqueline Walker, a longstanding Trustee stated, “I, along with other Board members, had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Rohner during the search process. His innovative thinking and excitement about the combined science and art mission were unmistakable. The entire Board and I look forward to his success in implementing our recently completed Strategic Plan and helping the Bruce Museum reach new heights.”

Mr. Rohner noted, “I am excited and honored to join the Bruce as COO and invigorated by the prospect of helping guide the Museum to further prominence and greater accomplishments in the coming years. The Bruce is a special and rare museum with a dual focus on art and science and a stunning new facility. These assets can spark discovery, make connections, and foster curiosity in the young and old alike, and I look forward to my part in launching this exciting new era for the Bruce.”

Located in Bruce Park and overlooking Greenwich Harbor, the Bruce Museum is a world-class institution that offers a changing array of exceptional exhibitions and educational programs that cultivate discovery and wonder through the power of art and science. Ahead of its time for taking this multidisciplinary approach over a century ago, the Bruce Museum is at the heart of contemporary efforts to bring together art, science, and education to spark conversation, connection, and creativity. The Museum welcomes over 100,000 visitors annually, playing an integral role in the area’s cultural life.

The first exhibition at the Bruce Museum took place in 1912 and featured works by members of the Greenwich Society of Artists, several of whom were part of the Cos Cob Art Colony. Their works formed the nucleus of the Museum’s art holdings and continue to be a strength of the collection, which has expanded to focus on global art from 1850 to the present. Other strengths include Ancient Chinese sculpture, Native American Art, the Hudson River School, modernist works on paper, and photography. Parallel development of the natural sciences includes strengths in the mineral and avian collections. In all, the community, through its generosity, has built the Museum’s varied collections of art and natural science to over 30,000 objects. 

In 2019, the Museum, which is accredited by the American Association of Museums, broke ground on a now completed new building which doubled the size of the museum and tripled the exhibition spaces. The new Bruce features state-of-the-art exhibition, education, and community spaces, including: a changing gallery for art and five new permanent galleries in the William L. Richter Art Wing; a changing gallery for science; a permanent science exhibition, Natural Cycles Shape Our Land; three classrooms in the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Education Wing; and a café, auditorium, and grand hall. When the outdoor spaces are completed in 2024, the Bruce campus will feature a sculpture-lined, landscaped walking path and inviting spaces for relaxation and contemplation—natural enhancements to Bruce Park and an anchoring connection to Greenwich Avenue.