Q: Why does the museum need a renovation?
A: The original museum is more than 30 years old. As a university art museum that puts education and research at the center of its mission, the renovation of the museum will enable us to enhance our educational programming and provide better resources both for university students and professors, as well as for preschool through high school students throughout Indiana.
Q: How much will the renovation cost and how is the Museum paying for it?
A: The project is made possible thanks to a landmark gift of $15 million from Indiana-based philanthropists Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, after whom the museum was renamed in May 2016. In addition to the gift, Indiana University has committed $15 million as part of its For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign match program to support the renovation.
Q: What are the goals for the renovation?
A: Our goal is to create more transparency and connectivity between the museum and the university campus so that it is more accessible to students and the larger Indiana community. The renovation will reinforce our commitment to being one of the best teaching museums in the country. We also want to update the display of our outstanding collection and enhance the visitor experience.
Q: What are some of the highlights of the design for the renovation?
A: The renovation will include expanded gallery space, and four new centers focusing on the areas of conservation, curatorial services, education, and works on paper. Additionally, the museum will have a new lecture hall, re-envisioned front and rear entrances, a third-floor sky bridge connecting the two wings of the museum, and expanded technology and visitor services throughout the building.
Q: You are taking over the Fine Arts Library, so why isn’t all of it being turned into gallery space?
A: The Fine Arts Library will be relocated to a newly renovated space on the ninth floor of the main Wells Library. The old space will allow the art museum to expand without building a new wing or otherwise extending the existing footprint of the building. The space will primarily be used by the museum to house its new Works on Paper Center, including a new exhibition space for works on paper, a new Education Center, as well as a variety of meeting rooms, viewing rooms, offices, and other facilities.
Q: Why does the museum need to close?
A: Starting May 15, 2017, the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art building will temporarily close to the public while its facilities undergo a substantial renovation project that will both enhance the visitor experience and address necessary building upgrades. Due to the nature of the extensive renovation and for the safety of our guests and our collection, we need to close the museum.
Q: How long will the museum be closed?
A: The museum is projected to reopen in the fall of 2019. Due to the comprehensive nature of the renovation it is necessary to move the museum’s entire collection offsite during the renovation to ensure its preservation and safety. This process will take approximately six months at the beginning of the closure period and an additional six months or more to move the collection back in and reinstall works in the galleries. The construction itself should take close to a year to complete.
Q: What will happen to the collection during the renovation period?
A: The collection is temporarily being moved to a secure, off-site storage facility. Although the collection will not be physically accessible to the public during the renovation period, the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art will still have a strong presence in Bloomington as we work to make our collection available online through our digitization project, as well as through continued public programming through partnerships with other colleagues on campus and in the community. Some objects will go on loan during this time, such as Stuart Davis’s Swing Landscape, which is currently on loan to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
Q: Two years is a long time to be closed. What will the Eskenazi do during that time to stay relevant?
A: Despite being closed to the public, this transition will continue to be a very active time for the museum as it focuses on planning and projects related to the reopening. The museum will remain active in the community by continuing to digitize its collections, improving access to the museum’s collections online, and through partnerships and collaborative projects, both on the IU campus and in Bloomington. We will also continue outreach to schools throughout Indiana while the museum building is being renovated.
Q: What will happen to the staff while you are closed? Will anyone lose their jobs?
A: Art museum staff will continue to work during the closure though their work location will temporarily change. Museum-related work will not be available for some of our temporary employees, however, we are working with the university to assist in finding work in other departments.
Q: Will this also impact your graduate assistants and student interns?
A: We will continue to employ graduate assistants and student interns during the closure, as they work closely with our curatorial and leadership teams and can assist in the planning for the reinstallation of the galleries, our educational programming, and other details associated with museum outreach and programs.
Q: How can I keep informed about museum news and events during the renovation period?
A: Signing up for our monthly email newsletter and our mailing list is a great way to keep abreast of museum news and events. You can sign up HERE. Our website will continue to be updated with new information, and the museum will continue to be active on social media, primarily Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Q: Does the museum still need funding? How would my donation be used?
A: Yes. The museum relies on philanthropy to fund 100% of its educational programming, outreach, exhibitions, and conservation of its collection. During the renovation period, museum staff are actively working to continue our educational programming and outreach. We are working to ensure our collections become more accessible online, and raising funds to help with specific technology and new gallery installations in the new museum. We are also working to expand staff in the areas of K-12 education and conservation. To learn more about how to make a gift, visit our Give Page.