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Archive for Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spencer wants to be ‘museum of the future’

Lawrence resident Diane Horning, right, and her uncle Jack Detrick, Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, tour the Meiji exhibit of the Spencer Art Museum in this 2007 file photo. Representatives from Spencer Art Museum met with a world-renowned architecture firm to discuss plans for the museum's future.

Lawrence resident Diane Horning, right, and her uncle Jack Detrick, Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, tour the Meiji exhibit of the Spencer Art Museum in this 2007 file photo. Representatives from Spencer Art Museum met with a world-renowned architecture firm to discuss plans for the museum's future.

May 23, 2010

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Spencer Art Museum at Kansas University is making some big plans for the future, starting with a study by world-renowned architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

The whole philosophy is to expand Spencer to become the “museum of the future,” said director Saralyn Reece Hardy.

And that means a shift in the mindset of what a museum should be.

“When you think of a Spencer Museum of the future, you think of a living, dynamic place,” Hardy said. “It’s not housing the objects only. It’s creating a space where art and people and ideas can come together in new ways.”

The museum recently hired Pei Cobb Freed & Partners to conduct an initial study of the museum and the ways an expansion can increase involvement with a variety of campus, community and statewide groups, she said. The firm, based out of New York, has worked on a wide range of well-known buildings, including the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Louvre in Paris. I.M. Pei was one of the group’s founders.

The $40,000 study is really a plan for changes, Hardy said, and after the study, which should be completed by the end of summer, the museum will start making decisions about how to implement those changes.

The result should continue to propel the Spencer into the upper echelons of college museums, she said.

“Spencer is clearly recognized as one of the top university museums,” she said. The changes “begin to put us at the very top of the list.”

An expansion will also allow Spencer to add pieces of art from its collection, which has nearly doubled to 36,000 since the museum opened in 1978.

Hardy said the museum has worked with the firm on other important goals for any changes, including incorporating the scenery and space of nearby Marvin Grove, as well as focusing on environmental sustainability.

She said the changes will make a positive impact on the community.

“It’s great for Lawrence and it’s great for KU,” she said.

Comments

areyousure 3 years, 11 months ago

A school located on the other side of town only works in a world where students only have classes in one area. Most students have to take electives that are in other areas of campus. How about access to the library for research?

Somehow a bus that only runs by a site every 45 minutes doesn't do a student much good when it can be tough to walk across campus and get to class on time. And then the bus route would probably change to be a better benefit for students and not non-students. Bus 11 is set to student time which can make it difficult for those of us who work business hours.

And by the say, social welfare students do not only work in low income areas. Social workers work in hospitals, schools, nursing homes and other settings. They work with people who need help in dealing with real life issues. Don't confuse social work with income maintenance workers who work with SRS assistance programs. They don't need a social work degree.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 11 months ago

Spencer still needs to go Downtown. Take Spencer into the community instead of removing itself from the community. It is still not accessible enough.

KU needs to expand outside of the main campus. The Farmland property would be better served if the School of Engineering were building that fancy new builidng on the Farmland property. The Regents might find it is cheaper to lease a structure from a private concern who then would be responsible for the upkeep. Now KU and the other universities and colleges end up with Deferred maintenace which translates to NEGLECT of state owned buildings.

Imagine: Coming into Lawrence and the Farmland property has for example 8 wind turbines, solar panels all powering a NEW University of Kansas School of Technology and Engineering Sustainability Campus. The bus already goes that direction. KU needs to remove some of the classes from the campus.

What if the crapped out shopping center at 19th and Haskell were leveled and there were some classroom space for the School of Social Welfare. After all, the east side gets all the crap that no one else in town doesn't want. Why not move some of the School of Social Welfare people out where they belong to practice what they are teaching?

To make Spencer bigger where it is, is an albatross waiting to happen.

Build a new "Spencer" on one of the highest points on the campus, overlooking the valley, but still have exhibits Downtown as well.

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tange 3 years, 11 months ago

Hang this on your wall...

( Spencer Museum: Twenty Minutes Into the Future. )

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toe 3 years, 11 months ago

Future. Code word for donor trolling.

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