Faqs - Akron Museum of Art

What are the goals of expansion?
Before the expansion, less than 1% of the museum's collection could be shown at a time, and many traveling exhibitions couldn’t be shown at all because of the low ceilings in the traveling exhibition galleries. Equally important, museum visitors have long requested a space for classes, a café, meeting facilities and an auditorium. The new, enlarged museum will offer these advantages and better serve the community with increased space for exhibitions, more educational facilities and improved visitor amenities in order to enrich lives through modern art.


What will happen to the museum’s existing building?
The new and the old buildings are connected on three different levels, allowing the old building to become an integral part of the new structure. In fact, visitors will be able to pass effortlessly from one to the other through a soaring glass crystal that will serve as the Beatrice Knapp McDowell Lobby. The old building will house a classroom, a children's gallery, a library, administrative offices and the C. Blake McDowell Jr. Galleries for art from 1850 to 1900.


When will the new Akron Art Museum open?
The new Akron Art Museum will open to the public on July 17, 2007, preceded by ten days of previews. Construction began in June 2004 and once complete, the staff must occupy the building for several months in order to install the collections and test building systems before it can be opened to the public.


Is the museum open during construction?
The museum is closed during construction. However, educational programs for students and the public, as well as special programs for museum members have continued at other facilities throughout the city and in cooperation with other organizations. All of the museum's collections and exhibitions were removed for safekeeping during construction. A few of the museum's most important works were lent to neighboring institutions while other objects were stored off site.


Where is the new building located?
The new building has been constructed immediately south of the existing building, with the front entrance facing South High Street, where the Myers Sculpture Courtyard was formerly located. The galleries are one level above the entrance and extend all the way from South High Street to South Broadway. In Phase II, the museum's south parking lot will become a new courtyard for sculpture, dining and concerts.


What does Coop Himmelb(l)au mean?
The name Coop Himmelb(l)au was chosen by co-founders of the firm for its dual meaning and message; Coop Himmelb(l)au is a pun in German. "Coop" is identical to our American word "coop" (as in a co-op market) an abbreviation for "cooperative," recalling the idealistic days of the 1960s, when the firm was founded.

"Himmel" means sky or heaven in German; "blau" means blue, and "bau" means building. The two meanings of "Himmelb(l)au" are literally "blue sky," and "sky building." More figuratively, they suggest the role of architecture as reaching toward the heavens as an act of imagination, vision and ultimate possibility as well as the very practical role of constructing buildings in the atmosphere.


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