Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What's all this about an expansion?

The Addison has grown over the years: The collection has grown to over 16,000 objects from the 600 we had when the museum opened, the staff has grown from three in 1931 to the seventeen we have now, and now, finally, after seventy-six years, the building is growing. The Campaign for the Addison has begun!

Fundraising for our $30 million campaign is underway. Centerbrook Architects has been hired to design the three level addition to our north between the Addison and the Elson Arts Center (see left, click to enlarge). The addition will include a Museum Learning Center and space for art storage, a loading dock, and staff offices.

The Museum Learning Center (see below) will serve as a multi-functional space. There will be space for individuals and classes to view artwork from storage by appointment and areas for studying the museum's extensive library and archives. Art storage areas will expand so that, for the first time in many years, we will be able to finally store our entire collection onsite. A proper loading dock will allow larger trucks to approach the museum and offload their shipments more easily. Office space will occupy the top floor bringing together staff who are now spread out and stuffed into various nooks and crannies around the museum.

Moving many of the behind-the-scenes functions currently crammed into our venerable Platt building into the addition will allow us to renovate the museum's original facility. Parts of galleries currently being used for staff offices will be returned to their original function for showing art. A new climate control system will continue to keep our environment stable for preserving the collections. And our visitor services area will be enhanced with an expanded gift shop that may, finally, be able to display and sell every one of the Addison's numerous publications.

This is an exciting time for the museum. The new space will allow us to do all the things we strive to do well even better. The current plan has the museum closing to the public in the summer of 2008 and reopening roughly eighteen months later. To learn more about the project and how to contribute to The Campaign, click here. The Blog will keep you up to date as our plans become more solidified. Stay tuned!

James Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

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