GREENWICH, Conn. -- U.S. Rep. Jim Himes admitted he was a bit overwhelmed by what he saw after he took a special tour of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich.
"I'm just reeling," Himes (D-4th District) said with a laugh Wednesday afternoon. "I did Dutch art, rocks, Hopi pottery and naval charts. The Bruce is just an amazing collection of stuff."
Himes visited the museum to speak with its leadership and to take a tour. Staff members took turns leading him through the museum, which is currently displaying works by Dutch artists, a collection of old maps, Hopi pottery and items from the museum's varied permanent collection.
An appreciation of art and government support is necessary to ensure a well-rounded education, Himes said. Museums such as the Bruce play an important role, he said.
"There is just no substitute for coming to a place like this where you can touch it and see it," he said of the art.
The arts can also be an economic generator, Himes said, noting that visitors come from outside Greenwich to see the museum and frequently spend money elsewhere in town as part of their trips.
Suzanne Lio, the museum's associate director of development, said Himes has been a strong supporter of the arts in his role in Congress. High-profile visitors to the museum is an important way to remind them of what the museum does and also the fact the museum, like many cultural organizations, require some level of taxpayer assistance.
"It really helps to shed light on the fact that we are here, that we do need funding," she said. "We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that requires and needs support from government agencies and from individual members."
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