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Museum Announces Extensive Expansion and Renovation Plan

Initiative is major component of the Chrysler’s $45 million Capital Campaign

NORFOLK, Va. – (March 30, 2012) – The Chrysler Museum of Art Board of Trustees voted yesterday to move forward with plans for a major expansion and renovation of the Museum in 2013. Architectural plans have been approved, and the Board will solicit construction bids this spring. The Museum will begin construction in July 2012, with completion scheduled for early 2014.

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 million. The campaign has three primary components: the new Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, the building expansion and renovation, and endowing the Museum to ensure financial stability in the future.

The expansion project 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.

Every gallery in the Museum will be modified and reinstalled when the project is complete. Significant improvements will be made to the Ancient Worlds galleries, as well as those housing the Museum’s renowned Glass collection, which includes more than 10,000 works of art.

The expansion will also allow the Museum to relocate, expand and modernize its café and catering facilities in a location in the front of the building. It is anticipated the restaurant will be able to operate beyond the Museum hours. The exterior entrance will open to Mary’s Garden and will provide additional outside dining options.

The renovations are designed to improve visitor circulation and access. A major component of the project will upgrade antiquated heating and air conditioning systems to better preserve the collection. These green initiatives will increase efficiency and reduce the Museum’s energy costs, which currently run $60,000 per month.

The project requires that all 30,000 works of art will need to be moved to safekeeping to protect them from the construction process. Portions of the Museum will be closed as the art is moved beginning this summer, and the entire main building is expected to be closed throughout 2013. The grand reopening is expected in April 2014.

“Our main building may not be available to the general public during this process, but the Chrysler's mission will proceed undeterred,” says William Hennessey, the Museum’s director. “In fact, we plan to launch the greatest art-into-the-public effort in our history. Not only will the Glass Studio and Moses Myers House remain open, we will establish a satellite Museum inside MacArthur Center, a destination shopping mall in downtown Norfolk. Additionally, we will convert the Norfolk History Museum 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 and installations are currently being planned for innovative public places. The Museum will bring artists to the area to not only work in public spaces, but to leave their art in public spaces.

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

The construction project is expected to cost $24 million, however the exact budget will not be known until construction bids are finalized.

The expansion follows the addition of the new Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, located adjacent to the Museum. Since the November opening, visitation has increased 39 percent, and the Museum has had tremendous response from visitors to the Glass Studio’s free daily demonstrations, educational classes and Visiting Artist Series. The 7,000-square-foot Glass Studio along with the Museum's glass collection is the impetus of the region’s emergence as the East Coast center for glass.

“These improvements will create a complete Museum campus,” adds Hennessey. “Vibrant landscaping will connect the Museum and the Glass Studio, and the overall visitor experience will be greatly enhanced. We are well on our way to secure essential funding for the Museum through the endowments portion of the campaign as well. Our Board of Trustees has adopted a strategic plan for the Museum that ensures our continued strength and vitality as a community resource.”

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 campus is located at 245 West Olney Road in Norfolk and is 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 Glass Studio 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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