Friday, November 30, 2007

Keeping Busy During the Renovation – a Note from Education

Now that word is spreading about the Addison closing for renovation and expansion, I imagine that many of you are in a state of panic over this news. Rest assured that here in the Education Department, we are doing everything we can to assuage your fears as we make plans for what will be happening between now and when we reopen in the spring of 2010.

First, let me say that there are still eight months for you to see an incredible range of exhibitions, bring your class to the Addison if you are a teacher, or attend any of our public events. Take full advantage now while you still can!

Once we do close, the Education Department will continue to meet with classes, both from Phillips Academy and area PreK-12 school groups, though we’ll meet in the classroom instead of the museum. We will also have an artist-in-residence who will be working in Lawrence, meeting with students from various schools.

While closed, we will have the chance to offer an even more extensive and varied selection of teacher workshops. These will include single-session workshops, like the ones we have always done, and mini-classes that will allow teachers to go into greater depth with the topics covered.

When it comes to our public events, we look forward to collaborating with other area cultural organizations in order to bring you lectures and films.

In addition to all of the plans described here, we will be developing a comprehensive plan for when we reopen with much-expanded education programs in the new Museum Learning Center. In case you thought that the Education Department would have nothing to do during the renovation, you can see that we will be keeping ourselves – and hopefully you – busy with art and ideas.

Amy Freedberg
Education Fellow

Coming of Age Opens Today in Dallas

Just a quick reminder for our Texas readers that our traveling exhibition Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s opens today at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Enjoy the show!

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Proper Loading Dock

I have grown accustomed to the glaring looks I receive from truck drivers when I ask them to back up our driveway (see left) and offload their deliveries at what passes as our current loading dock. Maneuvering a full-length tractor-trailer towards the ground-level receiving entrance on the north side of our building can be done, but it takes a lot of patience, skill, and luck (see below). Then, once the truck has arrived, we all hope that its lift gate is working properly to lower our crates to the ground. This will all change, though, when we build our new addition.

A proper loading dock is designed for the new north side of the building (see below). The approach will include a wider turning area in front of the Andover Inn for those long trailers, and a shorter, straighter driveway to our new, raised truck entrance. A dock leveler will be in place to access trucks of various heights and crates will be able to roll smoothly right off the back of the truck and straight into our building. This is key when moving large crates such as those for our Thomas Eakins Professor Rowland or our Frank Stella East Broadway and far safer for all artwork.

The current plan calls for the dock area to be gated with a screening material similar to that cladding the exterior of the addition’s glass walls. This will help mask the dock door and the employee entrance from passers-by on Chapel Avenue.

The best part of our new loading dock, though, will be the smiles we’ll receive from the truck drivers when they see how much easier it will be to approach our building.

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Monday, November 5, 2007

Closing Q&A

Now that the Campaign for the Addison has become public, I’ve found myself answering various questions about the project from colleagues around campus and the museum world. I thought it might be a good idea to post a few of the more popular questions and answers here for our Blog readers:

-How long will the museum be closed?

We’re scheduled to close July 13, 2008 and reopen in the early spring of 2010, just under two years later. The actual construction period is planned to take 18 months.

-Where is the staff going?

The Addison’s staff plans to relocate to Addison-controlled spaces on campus in Abbot Hall just down School Street. The artist-in-residence apartment, studio, and our pedestal construction shop will be converted into temporary office spaces. Some staff may need to be located off-campus, but we’ll know more about that once our interim office plans are finalized. Our phone numbers should remain the same and, of course, Phillips Academy’s Central Services will always know where to find us!

-What will the staff be doing?

The staff will be busier than ever! Not only will we continue to do what we’ve always been doing including planning upcoming exhibitions, acquiring new objects, caring for the collection, and teaching school groups (albeit in their classes and not in the museum), we’ll also be monitoring the building construction project, laying out our new spaces, and taking on many other important projects that we haven't had the time to address while the museum is open.

-Where is the permanent collection going?

Other than the objects touring the world in our Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s and Carroll Dunham Prints: A Survey traveling exhibitions, all of the Addison’s collection will be moved from the museum and stored in an off site, highly-secured and climate-controlled art storage facility. Access to the collection may be limited during the closure period, so requests to view and borrow objects will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The collection, in its entirety, will be moved back to the museum when we reopen.

-If you’re putting on an addition, why do you need to close and empty the old building?

The original Platt-designed building will undergo renovations to upgrade critical building systems, including new climate-control, security, and storage systems. It is far more efficient and safer to have the staff and collections removed from the building as this work is being done.

-Will I still be able to buy catalogs and order rights and reproductions images?

You certainly can, though there may be some delays in our response during the building period.

If you have any other questions you’d like to see us answer, send them to the Addison at We look forward to hearing from you!

James Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives