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Chrysler Selects Construction Partner for Renovation/Expansion Project

KBS Awarded Contract

NORFOLK, Va. - (July 2012) - The Chrysler Museum of Art Board of Trustees approved the construction contract with KBS, Inc. to expand and renovate the Museum. Construction will begin in July 2012, with completion scheduled for early 2014. The construction project was put to bid with pre-selected contractors, and KBS was the successful bidder. Other project partners include H&A Architects of Virginia Beach (architectural design) and George Sexton and Associates of Washington, D.C. (exhibition and lighting design).

The expansion is part of a $45 million capital campaign that has been in a quiet phase for two years. To date, the Museum has raised $41.5 million. The campaign has three primary components: the new Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, the $24 million building expansion and renovation, and endowments for the Museum to ensure financial stability in the future.
The expansion will transform nearly every aspect of the Museum, which currently has 210,000 square feet of space on two floors. An additional 8,000 square feet of new gallery space in two new wings will flank the Museum’s entrance. The additional space will enable the Museum to exhibit more works from its world-class collection and will provide opportunities to showcase new acquisitions.

“We are very pleased that we have such capable and well-respected partners on board for this construction project,” said William Hennessey, the Museum director. “Our plans will start immediately to make the Chrysler Museum an even better physical experience for our visitors.”

Every gallery in the Museum will be modified and reinstalled when the project is complete. Significant improvements will be made to the Ancient Worlds and Glass galleries.

The expansion will also allow the Museum to relocate, expand and modernize its café and catering facilities, which will move to the front of the building with a separate entrance. This will allow dining options beyond the Museum hours and outdoor seating.

The renovations are designed to improve visitor circulation and access, as well as upgrade antiquated heating and air conditioning systems to better preserve the collection. These green initiatives will increase efficiency and significantly reduce the Museum’s energy costs.

"We are thrilled to have been selected by the Chrysler Museum of Art,” said John Gillenwater, vice president of business development for KBS. “We look forward to working with the Museum to create an enhanced environment for its collection."
Portions of the Museum will be closed as more than 30,000 works of art are safeguarded during the construction beginning in July. Visitors will use the side entrance on Grace Street through December 31, 2012. The entire Museum will be closed throughout 2013, and the grand reopening is scheduled for April 2014.

“We have ambitious plans to remain very visible in the community, and we plan to take the show on the road during 2013,” added Hennessey. “Not only will the Glass Studio and Moses Myers House remain open, we will establish a satellite Museum inside MacArthur Center, and we will convert the Willoughby-Baylor House into an art gallery dedicated to our stellar collection of American art.”

The Chrysler will also partner with other museums and galleries across Hampton Roads to put its works on view.  Art exhibitions are currently being planned at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach and the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Gallery at Old Dominion University.

Museum educators and curators will be part of an active outreach program for school children and adults, and those efforts will be supplemented with a number of Internet-based educational initiatives.

Founded in 1975, KBS is the largest locally owned construction firm in Central Virginia.  The company is consistently rated among the top 30 construction firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. The firm is headquartered in Richmond, and it also has an office in Virginia Beach. Its portfolio includes adaptive reuse, commercial office, educational, healthcare, industrial, multi-residential, recreational, retail and senior living. For more information, visit

The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums with a world-class collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America, and a new Glass Studio. The Museum is located at 245 West Olney Road in Norfolk. The Museum and Glass Studio, across the street, are open Wednesdays, 10 a.m. -9 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays, noon-5 p.m. The Chrysler and the Glass Studio are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as major holidays. Admission to the Museum’s collection and Studio glassblowing demonstrations are free. For exhibitions, programming and special events, visit or call 757-664-6200.


Contact Cindy Mackey
(757) 754-4553

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