RISD to celebrate gallery openings for renovated museum

THE $8.4 MILLION RISD MUSEUM renovation includes galleries dedicated to ancient Egyptian and Asian art, as well as new spaces for the exhibits of costumes and textiles. Above, RISD Museum Conservator Ingrid Neuman, left, Lead Museum Technician Laura Ostrander handle Egyptian art in the museum.
Posted 5/29/14

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island School of Design Museum is opening galleries to the public in its newly renovated 1926 Eliza G. Radeke Building on June 13.

The $8.4 million renovation includes galleries dedicated to ancient Egyptian and Asian art, as well as new spaces for the exhibits of costumes and textiles.

RISD Museum members get a sneak peak of the sixth-floor galleries on June 12 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with curator-led gallery talks from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The galleries open to all visitors the next day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A free, public celebratory night of programming, “Design the Night: Know How,” that reviews ancient and current creative processes will be held June 19, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Museum Director John W. Smith said the restoration project was made possible through a combination of contributions from local and national philanthropy. The museum’s namesake, a RISD president, led the museum into “a transformative period of expansion and excellence” that RISD wants to perpetuate, he said.

“Eliza Greene Radeke, in whose honor these galleries were dedicated in 1926, was one of RISD’s most visionary leaders,” he said. “Throughout this project, our goal has been not only restoring the original architectural integrity of the Radeke building, but to ensure the RISD Museum’s relevance as a vital center for art and design for 21st-century audiences.”

Over seven years the project, which was initiated in 2006 with a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, focused on redesigning three public floors of galleries and teaching spaces in four phases. The project’s final phase restores sixth-floor galleries.

Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee planned to help commemorate the opening in a private ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 10.

“Museums, art and historic sites are all the backbone of our creative economy,” said Chafee, in a statement. “When you look at what the arts can offer the community and our quality of life, it makes a lot of sense to invest in this important area. It is our goal to make Rhode Island the ‘State of the Arts.’ ”

The museum serves more than 100,000 visitors a year.

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