NEW: RISD Museum Caps Campaign with $250K From Champlin Foundations
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The gift matches an anonymous challenge from a large national foundation. The Champlin Foundations has contributed to earlier phases of the six-year project and, at $762,000, is the largest contributor overall. Also contributing to the Radeke Building's sixth floor are the Angelo Donghia Foundation, David Rockefeller, Bafflin Foundation, and Hope and Michael Hudner. A 2006 National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant supported interpretive strategies for the overall project though a $600,000 matching grant for reinstalling and reinterpreting the permanent collection.
The final phase of $8.4 million restoration project
"We are extremely grateful for this latest, very generous round of support that allows us to initiate the final phase of the restoration of the Museum's historic Radeke building," says Museum Director John W. Smith. "This
The project has thus far addressed two of the Radeke Building's three gallery floors, including galleries for ancient Greek and Roman, European, and 20th-century art, as well as dedicated spaces for the exhibition of photography, works on paper, and new media. The project added a lecture hall, a classroom adjacent to the galleries, and restrooms; significantly improved gallery lighting; improved fire protection; and provided full handicap access.
Restoring the Radeke
In November 2012, the RISD Museum closed the sixth-floor Radeke galleries for ancient Egyptian art, Asian art, and costumes and textiles in preparation for renovations to begin April 2013. The sixth floor is home to some of Rhode Island's most important cultural treasures, including two prominent visitor favorites: the Museum's Ptolemaic-period coffin and mummy of the Egyptian priest Nesmin (ca. 250 BCE), and the 10-foot-tall Dainichi Nyorai Buddha (ca. 1150-1200) ---- the largest Japanese seated figural sculpture in the United States. While the floor is closed to visitors, the mummy ---- and other objects from the ancient Egyptian collection that serve as a cornerstone of Rhode Island middle school curricula ---- will move to the Waterman Galleries for Made for Eternity, a special exhibition opening in March 2013 about art-making in ancient Egypt. Conservation of the 12th-century Buddha, and other important works of art in the Museum's collection, is already underway.
When the sixth-floor galleries re-open to the public in spring 2014, visitors will enjoy new installations of Asian and ancient Egyptian art, and a new study gallery featuring selections drawn from the Museum's rarely seen 26,000-piece collection of costume and textiles. Improved lighting, and casework throughout the space will enhance the visitor experience, as will natural light from a skylight that had been covered by prior renovations.
New interpretive approach
A fresh interpretive approach will emphasize the material aspects of art and design production ---- including technical training, skills, working methods, and materials ---- as well as the social and historical contexts in which these objects were created. Complementary text and audio will support a deep engagement with objects, their function, cultural significance, and life history. Classroom resources available through the Museum's website, risdmuseum.org, will support K-12 content and skills, including close-looking, careful investigation, and thoughtful reflection.
The RISD Museum collection offers a "great opportunity to expose students to history through art, and teach them how to observe more carefully and critically," says Chris Audette, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for the Providence Public School Department and sixth-grade social studies teacher at Providence's Nathan Bishop Middle School. He adds that the Museum's interpretive approach encourages students to make "connections between the past and the present, between art and history, and between art and writing."
The sixth-floor renovation and reinstallation is led by RISD Museum Deputy Director Ann Woolsey, who has overseen the previous phases of the Radeke Restoration Project. Architect Ed Wojcik leads the design team, which includes Gallery Designer Stephen Saitas and Lighting Designer Anita Jorgensen.
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