RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in on the fast track towards completing its extensive renovation and expansion project. But before the transformation can be completed, the museum's galleries have to close 10 months starting in June.
Museum officials say there have been a lot of questions about the museum's partial closing, especially as visitors are trying to plan their trips. The multi-million dollar expansion project of the McGlothlin Wing has been in the works for several years. It will ultimately add 165,000 square feet and double the museum's gallery and exhibit space.
As part of the work, the current space needs to be revamped, a sprinkler system needs to be added, and artwork needs to be moved, prompting the closing of the museum's galleries for 10 months.
Some galleries have already been shuttered. The Great Hall, which featured 17th Century European art has already been closed and is currently undergoing construction. The gallery housing the largest Faberge collection in the United States will be on display through June 14. The remaining galleries as well as the museum shop and cafe will close June 28.
Alex Nyerges, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Director says, "To take these beautiful paintings down off the wall and have no art on view for this time, is painful but its all for a good thing. Its safer for the collection, safer for the public, it's the fastest, best and least expensive way that we can actually get it done."
Museum officials are stressing that the actual building will stay open during the expansion process so all programs, classes, and events, will continue as scheduled. That includes the 3rd Thursdays and Art after Hours series. The museum's galleries will reopen officially May 1 2010.