Museums often are viewed as keepers of the past, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to look to the future.
That’s why it’s exciting that the leaders of Kansas University’s Spencer Museum of Art have hired a prestigious museum planning firm to help them plan a dynamic future for what already is one of KU’s most popular attractions.
Famed architect I.M. Pei was one of the founders of the New York firm that will undertake the study that Director Saralyn Reece Hardy said is intended to help make Spencer the “museum of the future.” That means not just acting as a depository for art, she said, but “creating a space where art and people and ideas can come together in new ways.”
The plans will include expanded space for programming and the museum’s growing collection. Special attention will be focused on blending the building with nearby Marvin Grove, she said. Expanding the museum in a way that won’t encroach too much on one of the prettiest spots on campus will be a high priority for many KU visitors and supporters.
It’s great that Hardy and others at KU understand that it isn’t enough to simply maintain Spencer. They need to plan for a new era that places new demands on museums.
We’ll be eager to see what they come up with.