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U-M Museum of Art expansion opening set for March '09

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The University of Michigan Museum of Art will open a landmark 53,000 square-foot expansion and major restoration of its historic, 41,000 square-foot home, Alumni Memorial Hall, in March 2009.

Designed by principal architect Brad Cloepfil and his team at Allied Works Architecture, the $41.9 million transformation not only more than doubles the space available for collections display, temporary exhibitions, programs and educational exploration, but also fulfills the museum's mission to bridge visual art and contemporary culture, scholarship and accessibility, tradition and innovation.

"The new UMMA will be a vibrant meeting place for the arts, challenging the ways so many people perceive the traditional museum experience," said James Steward, UMMA director. "We're excited about our vastly expanded ability to showcase and interpret more of the collections alongside a wider range of temporary exhibitions. The new addition, named the Maxine and Stuart Frankel and the Frankel Family Wing for the project's lead benefactors, will act as a beacon for the arts with comprehensive arts programming drawing on the incredible resources at this university, engaging our students' and our community's perceptions of the world in the global marketplace of ideas."

The 24-hour public opening?from 6 p.m. March 28 to 6 p.m. March 29, 2009?caps a celebratory week of special events for the museum's family of donors, members, volunteers, and U-M faculty, staff and students.

Five key factors combine to make the project remarkable: Architecture that reflects and enhances the museum's mission and its location at the intersection of campus and community; singular collections that represent 150 years of art collecting at U-M; programming that will position the museum as a meeting place for the arts; the vibrancy of a 40,000-member student community eager for academic and social opportunities centered on the visual arts; and the project's position at the heart of a powerhouse research university. Together, these elements serve a common goal of putting art at the heart of contemporary life and civic experience.

Highlights of the project include vastly increased galleries for collections and special exhibitions; open-storage galleries and study rooms that foster close looking; state-of-the-art conservation and art storage facilities; expanded public programming, including performing arts, spoken word, film, and art making; a 225-seat auditorium; classrooms and event spaces to serve multiple audiences; a curatorial research center; a caf