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Our Renovation and Expansion Update Blog

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March 28, 2014

A Special Thank You Friday

We take a break this Friday in on our weekly appreciation of the hard-working crew—though they certainly deserve it. Today our thanks goes to our trustees and key volunteers who got a behind-the-scenes tour this week. This group has donated time, expertise, works of art and significant sums of money to our museum, and they had a chance to snap cellphone pictures and enjoy what we are calling activations in our galleries.

Everyone on the tour deserved to have their picture published, but time and lighting being what they are, we're here today to say thanks to Peter, John, Macon and Bill; David and Linda; Carolyn, Oriana, Leah, and all those who took the tour. Shown at top is Susan, shown below is Lewis. Shown here is our thanks to all.

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March 27, 2014

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Wanting to Hang a Painting, but There's a Thermostat in the Way

It's a time of thousand little derails. Shown above our Brock Curator for American Art, Crawford Alexander Mann III, measures ways of dealing with an unexpected obstruction. Shown at right, a power lift was needed to lift the duster into the rafters of Huber Court. Some dust bunnies seemed old enough to date with carbon 14.

Around the job site, we prepped for a stunning candelabrum, installed embellishing touches, climbed in trees and finish-coated the stucco on a new porch. And in terms of testing for Luke Jerram's upcoming sculptural installation, yes, that is a chair.

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March 26, 2014

An Update on our Efforts to Protect the Live Oaks Out Front

Throughout our renovation, we've taken care of two magnificent live oak trees that grace the front of the building. Wednesday, as arborists did minor pruning and clean-up, they were asked how the old girls were doing. Their answer contained all the appropriate professional caveats, because you never know for sure, but the first impression was the trees were remarkably undamaged by our harsh winter. We considered it great news.

Elsewhere around the project, we saw finishing touches on a new brick wall in Mary's Garden and continued sitework for the soon-to-be restored Memorial Garden. There were still a few crews chasing down the last of the wiring issues, and the art handlers were working hard to make sure we soon run out of pictures of art in protective temporary storage.

And finally, we're preparing a space for the installation of a new kinetic sculpture. Our last post showed work at the top. Below is the view of the bottom.

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March 24, 2014

Preparations for a Kinetic Sculpture

Here's a quick three-picture post to start off the week. Shown above is the installation of the first support for a dazzling kinetic sculpture that's coming soon. Shown here is the first step in rebuilding our Memorial Garden after 16 months of heavy equipment traffic. And shown below is the first inspection in a week by the boss. Museum Director William Hennessey has been traveling, and his Monday stroll provides blog readers a first peek into a nearly finished gallery.

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March 21, 2014

A Wisteria Cafe Update
on a Thank You Friday

Shown above, cushions arrive for the custom-built benches in our new cafe. There was a major focus this week on the cafe and catering kitchen, and as seen here here and here, things are shaping up nicely.

Overall, a break in the winter weather brightened the mood of the crew this week. So we start our thanks with a nod to trim painters and wall painters— as they finish their work, we'll see no more grafitti-style mesages such as this.

So thanks to those working in stucco, working on granite, checking on pipes, and toiling where the camera could not go. May 10 is fast approaching, and soon we'll be taking off the wraps. We are 50 days away.

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March 19, 2014

"Don't Walk Away—I'm Getting Ready to Make Some Sparks"

This was a day when clearing weather allowed work to resume outside, when incredible progress was made on our new cafe kitchen, and when art handlers and lighting experts worked to turn empty rooms into beautiful galleries. It was also a day when a crew member helped our blogger find a good picture. Just another reason why we call the last post of every week Thank You Friday. See you then.

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March 18, 2014

Progress as Long as It's Not Weather-Related

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There was a big push to get galleries completed so art handlers could get to work, and now with that pressure easing, crews can tackle other tasks. Shown above is work on a stairwell ceiling. Shown here is the entrance to the new cafe, which is coming together quickly thanks to increased manpower and attention.

At right, one of the last steps on the new porches is to stucco the ceiling. This is also something that can be done out of the rain, as the weather is holding up a number of things outdoors. As seen from the roof, there's visible progress in Mary's Garden, but on the Memorial Garden side, things remain a muddy mess.

Upstairs in the mechanical towers, final check-offs on the do-list are taking place with our new, energy efficient heating and cooling systems. Every time we see such a scene, we wonder if this might be our last picture with sparks.

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March 14, 2014

Also On The Reinstall List:
A Couple Thousand Light Bulbs

As we move closer to our reopening, there are literally thousands of little things to do. One such task involved all the new lighting that will be in the building. The canisters got really dusty while sitting in storage for a year, and this week a team of staff volunteers cleaned more than 500 of them.

On Fridays we like to thank the crew for all their hard work during the week, and that includes an insulation team working in the most faraway spot in the entire building and the fellows forming the concrete for the Memorial Garden fountain. This week we also thank the Stihl Corp., not only for their long-standing support of the Museum, but also for making block saws that are absolute beasts.

Finally, as shown at right, it won't be long until all the art is out from under wraps. With 57 days to go, there are times when we wonder that if the doors are going to open at 10 a.m. on May 10, will we still be working on things at 9:59? Such is the mentality, we suppose, on the closing days of any big project. We're getting close.

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March 12, 2014

A Post About Art, the Construction Crew, and Hard Hats

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We start with a reminder that for security reasons we do not publish anything related to the movement of specific works of art. The focus here has been a tribute to the hard-working men and women who have exerted so much effort to get us reopened May 10.

Shown at right, however, is a significant milestone in the process of getting art reinstalled in areas that have been construction zones. Our new gallery for modern and contemporary art is positively cavernous, and depending on the configuration of pieces on view, temporary walls are erected to define specific areas. What's significant in the picture is not only that walls are going up—the people in the picture are not wearing hard hats. That means it's no longer a construction zone. It's a gallery. And that's very exciting to see.

The number of galleries that are still construction zones is steadily shrinking, and in some places, the prime task is packing up and cleaning so the area can be handed over to art handlers. We're seeing a lot of final things on the do-list, such as the last of fire alarm wiring or final coats on newly finished floors.

Outside, our trustees will be pleased to know that when it came to installing the walkway to the employee entrance, we reused pavers from an old path to keep costs down. It's one of many last-few-things-to-do that were tackled this week, as seen here and here.

But it's the progress inside that's getting the Museum staff all excited, and that brings us to the picture below. Huber Court has been the last place for tradesmen to store stuff, and it's time for that stuff to go. We're expecting most everything you see in the picture below to be gone by the end of the week. Once it's all cleaned out painters will get to work on freshening up the grand entry to our glistening new Museum.

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March 7, 2014

Cold. Wet. Busy. Crowded.

To elaborate on the cold-weather headgear shown above, work outside has been cold, wet and crowded. At one point Thursday three trades—electricians, bricklayers and site finishers—were working on the same wall. Just walk in the front door and you'll see the final parts of the plans are turning into a blur of work. Among the details to be addressed are the thousands of lights to be installed, and some assembly is required.

Folks on the construction crew know our blogger loves to see sparks flying, and they know it's a Friday tradition for the entire Museum to say thanks for all their hard work. It's an extra special thanks this week because so many of them will be working 10 hours of overtime tomorrow. This was a week where, on a project that has seen people working in some really tight spots, we might have seen the tightest spot of all.

Finally, in the photo below the trim carpenter was asked if it would be correct to say it was triple-crown molding going up along the ceiling. "Close." he said. "It's actually in four parts." Be sure to look up when you come visit after reopening. This is some really skilled, coping-saw-detailed work going on, and it looks great.

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March 6, 2014

Adding Up Small Steps Reveals a Big Improvement

Shown above, it's slow going when it comes to the outside work, thanks to the snow and cold. As a general rule, that which is not frozen is muddy. Even with exterior work down to minor things here and there, progress is still visibile. Half the construction fencing came down Wednesday, and with a few dry days, all of it could be gone by early next week.

The fence removal is an example of how continued small improvements help feed a building sense excitement. Shown below is one such case. With walls painted and floors refinished, the bases for the art come in before the art itself. And while there's a little touch-up going on in in this picture, note the blocked doorway at right. That's a security measure that means art will be moving soon. Click the image to enlarge; the story continues below.

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These type of scenes add up. Behind the closed store grate merchandise is being organized inside the Museum Shop. In the last new gallery under construction, the new floor installation was down to the side trim. Peek down a hallway and you'll see a painter. Walk around a corner and you'll see a painter. Glance around Huber Court and you'll see a painter.

There are still a couple of rooms jammed with trim carpenters and cluttered storage areas such as Huber Court. There's a swarm of work in what will be our new cafe, as shown here and here. But at the same time you can stand in awe of what soon will be our new—and radically bigger—photography galleries.

Opening day stands at 65 days away, and as shown below, in the art storage areas, things are ready to roll. Not a bad time at all for some excitement to start building.

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Earlier entries

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

October/December 2012

August/September 2012

June/July 2012