by PAUL BICKLEY
After being closed for renovations since May 2017, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University will reopen on November 7. David Brenneman, museum director, says planning for new spaces and re-conceived galleries has been a main focus of the renovation. “We wanted to be sure that we were creating a more accessible and engaging museum,” he says.
One new development the museum is experimenting with is 3D and other technologies that replicate paintings and objects in multi-sensory programs designed to enhance the museum experience for disabled guests.
“I often think of my job as being pretty simple: Connect people with great works of art,” Brenneman says. “We’ve created new spaces and opportunities where that can happen for even more people.”
For example, the museum’s new Education Center features a lecture hall and a viewing room for improved access to the museum’s complete collection.
Brenneman says the new placement of entryways into the museum also makes it more accessible to visitors. There is a new sidewalk leading to a new main entrance, and the terrace out back offers a second entrance. “This is an exciting development, as the museum is now at the center of a busy thoroughfare,” Brenneman says.
To help guests get oriented, the atrium includes a welcome and information center. There is also a new skybridge connecting all third-floor spaces. Three new third-floor galleries display newly acquired art: Time-based Media (virtual reality and video art); Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; and Special Exhibitions, now featuring contemporary works on paper.
All of the museum galleries have new layouts that allow easier navigation and viewing of individual objects among works from the same periods, and they all have specialty wood flooring and LED track lighting.
The museum holds 45,000 objects and serves 80,000 visitors annually.
Renovations were funded by a 2016 gift of $15 million from Indianapolis-based philanthropists Sidney and Lois Eskenazi and $20 million from the For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign matching fund.
The museum is open Tuesday–Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
For more information, visit artmuseum.indiana.edu.