From the Director, Alex W. Barker
The Museum’s move out of Pickard Hall has been completed successfully—ahead of schedule, under budget, and without loss. From the movers’ perspective that’s largely because the collections were so well organized and the staff so well prepared for the move. From our perspective it’s largely because the movers were so skilled, flexible, and professional. Either way a monumental project was completed with far fewer hiccoughs than one might have reasonably expected.
Over the holidays the staff took a deep collective breath, and we’re now busy with the move into the new spaces at Mizzou North. The Cast Gallery should be open by the time you receive this issue, and I encourage you to come see the casts in their new home. Next we’ll be beginning the process of unpacking and storing the collections into new cabinets and storage fixtures—a process that will likely take months.
Renovations of what will become the public galleries will take the longest, and Campus Facilities tells us they don’t anticipate turning those areas over to us until fall of 2014. That’s certainly a disappointment—we’d hoped to reopen the galleries by summer—but in part this reflects a more aggressive renovation plan that should make the resulting galleries taller, more open, and more attractive as a public art venue. But because it is a new plan, Museum staff members are busily redesigning the art spaces based on these new constraints.
As an academic museum we certainly hope to be able to return to campus soon, as we play an important role in the intellectual life of the campus, and a significant strategic role as a gateway between campus and the larger community. But since we’re here in Mizzou North we’re working to make our new location a successful and engaging place to confront and contemplate authentic works of art from six continents and more than seven millennia.
These have been challenging months for the Museum’s staff. As a public museum we’re not used to being closed for long periods of time, and one of the unalloyed joys of museum work is sharing the collections with the broadest range of public audiences. We look forward to reopening our galleries and welcoming you back. That’s our mission, and it’s why all of us chose this line of work. Our reward comes when you walk through our doors and are moved to other places and other times, when you see the world around you differently after seeing works in our galleries, or peer into the distant past and see someone very like yourself looking back.
That reward will come, and all of our activities in the interim are with that day in mind. I look forward to welcoming all of you to the new Museum.