Monday, December 14, 2009

Museum Expansions

Prompted by an article in the New York Times that declares in its headline, "In the Arts, Bigger Buildings May Not Be Better," CultureGrrl has some good thoughts on the matter, pointing out some inaccuracies and some crucial cases overlooked, as well as taking a more measured stance. Yes, many arts institutions seem to build huge structures on a whim, focusing on sexy architecture and the potential of increased tourism more than actual needs, and perhaps we're particularly sensitive to criticisms of this sort, being right smack in the middle of a building project ourselves (a desperately needed expansion!), but the article does seem like the kind of not particularly thoughtful questioning of what the journalist perceives as received wisdom. Here's the key paragraph from Rosenbaum's response on her blog:
Nevertheless, museum expansion isn't an evil to be avoided, as Robin's article seems to suggest. It just needs to be done for the right reasons and with a secure financial underpinning. That means not only knowing in advance where the necessary construction money is coming from, but also amassing the endowment funds required to cover the increased operating costs of the expanded facility. If you don't know where that money is coming from, you need to delay the project. There's nothing wrong with that.

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