Wadsworth Atheneum Awarded $2 Million Grant from Connecticut State Bond Commission

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art announced that it has received a $2 million grant from the Connecticut State Bond Commission and an additional $2.5 million in support from a number of foundations and individuals, enabling the museum to launch Phase II of a comprehensive renovation project across all five of the museum’s historic buildings.

The Wadsworth Atheneum

When completed in 2014, the renovation will result in the addition of 8,000 square feet of reclaimed gallery space, a 14% increase, and the complete reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection. The renovation will also bring significant improvements for visitors, including improved wayfinding, new interior and exterior signage, bi-lingual signage, and space for commissioned art on the exterior of the museum.

“I would like to thank Governor Dannel P. Malloy, our State Legislators, and Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra for helping us realize our goal to make the museum more accessible, welcoming, and engaging to our constituents here in Connecticut, as well as to national and international audiences,” said Susan L. Talbott, Director and CEO, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. “We are honored that the State of Connecticut and a range of private and foundational donors have made this tremendous investment in the future of our institution, and we are dedicated to finding new ways to engage our community with the museum’s renowned collections and historic facilities.”

Phase II of the ongoing renovation project includes renovations, improvements and energy conservation measures that will impact approximately 70,000 square feet of space, which contain 54 galleries and 20 public spaces. These renovations will enhance and improve the visitor experience, enabling the reopening of long-closed gallery spaces and the reinstallation of the museum’s entire permanent collection.

  The refurbishment and reopening of existing gallery space will greatly increase the amount of both artworks on view and space available for community-focused programs.

“The museum will remain open to visitors as the renovation takes place,” Talbott continued. “Galleries will reopen as they are completed, providing greater access to our world-class collections and enabling the museum to continue serving the public through our exhibition and public programs.”

In addition, this phase will also include the museum’s Collection Storage renovation, which consists of renovations to the basement of the museum’s Morgan Memorial building to create new storage spaces for its furniture, metalwork, ceramics, glass, and sculpture collections. The new facility will also maximize storage efficiency and create workspaces for staff and scholars. The museum has secured over $2.5 million to support the Collection Storage Renovation project, including two anonymous gifts totaling $1.9 million, $325,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, $132,500 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and $50,000 from the Amelia Peabody Charitable Foundation.

In 2011, the museum’s iconic Morgan Great Hall reopened, marking the completion of the first phase of the renovation. The complete renovation of Morgan Great Hall, one of the museum’s most prominent galleries, included the installation of ten new clerestory windows to manage the levels of natural light. The space has now been reinstalled for the first time with large-scale works from the museum’s Contemporary art collection by artists such as Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Sean Scully, and Frank Stella. Other components of Phase I included the refurbishment of the museum’s front entrance on Main Street; waterproofing of the façade and roof on the Morgan, Avery and Goodwin buildings; below grade waterproofing of the Morgan building basement and the north side of the Wadsworth building; updates to the HVAC system, enabling significant energy savings; and the establishment of two green roof areas.

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is located at 600 Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut. The museum is open Wednesdays to Fridays, 11 am – 5 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm, and the first Thursday of every month 11 am – 8 pm. Please visit www.wadsworthatheneum.org for more information.

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