Amon Carter Museum of American Art Director Andrew J. Walker announced today that the museum is renovating parts of the building beginning February 2, 2015. The museum will remain open during the process, though some galleries will be inaccessible. School tours will continue, but no public programs or member programs are planned within the facility. The museum is also closing at 5 p.m. on Thursdays throughout the project, which is expected to last four months. All galleries are scheduled to reopen in June 2015.
The front glass facade will receive new glass panels designed to maximize control of the amount of light that enters the museum regardless of the time of day or season; the use of shades will no longer be necessary during visiting hours. This will aid in art conservation, as well as help keep the gallery spaces temperate for visitors. Renovated air handlers in the main gallery and new air handlers in the upstairs galleries will also contribute to a more controlled environment. Finally, the revolving front door will be replaced with a new entryway so that all visitors, especially those with strollers and wheelchairs, can easily enter the museum. During construction, museum visitors can enter and exit the building from Lancaster Avenue.
“Our goal is to create a superior environment for art and visitors,” Walker says. “With this renovation, we are also going ‘back to our roots’ by recreating Philip Johnson’s original design of the museum’s front facade. A renovation in the 1990s changed his design of the main entrance by adding more glass panes and a revolving door. With this update, we are returning to his original concept with fewer glass panes while incorporating better glass technology to protect the collection from ultraviolet light. This is better for the art, better for our visitors and a return to the architect’s original intent.”
The following galleries will be closed from February 2 through June 2015: the front galleries on both the first floor and the mezzanine level and the special exhibition galleries on the second floor. The museum’s front entrance and all outdoor grounds will also be closed; this includes the parking lot, plaza, portico and the area near the Henry Moore sculpture.
“The safety of our collection and visitors is of utmost priority, and both will be protected by the partial closure of the building and grounds,” Walker says. “Construction is never without some inconveniences, but we are working to minimize them. The permanent collection will remain on view during this time, and most of the public’s favorite paintings and sculptures will remain accessible.”
The museum’s collection will be hung throughout the open galleries. There will be no special exhibition in the spring, though the museum is presenting four permanent collection installations of artworks not typically on view. These include: Audubon’s Beasts (January 15–August 2), American Still Life (February 7–August 2), Like Father Like Son: Edward and Brett Weston (February 14–August 23) and Remington and Russell (February 21–June 2). Also on view is Lone Star Portraits (through May 17).
“In tandem with this construction, we are working to change the function of the main gallery from solely a place to exhibit art into one that is also a community gathering place,” Walker says. “These are the first steps in transforming our entire footprint into an interactive space for all audiences. We will ask for the community’s input on this, so stay tuned for more details.”