The Eskenazi Museum of Art’s Renovated I. M. Pei Building Opens

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. –  After a two-and-a-half-year renovation, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art reopens its doors on Nov. 7, 2019. The Eskenazi Museum has completed a $30 million renovation of its acclaimed I. M. Pei-designed building, which was inaugurated in 1982 and features the architect’s signature triangles and light-filled atrium. When it reopens, the newly renovated museum will be an enhanced teaching resource for Indiana University and southern Indiana, dedicated to engaging students, faculty, artists, scholars, alumni and the wider public through the cultivation of new ideas and scholarship.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University.

The renovation of the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s iconic 112,000 square foot building will underscore the museum’s position as one of the preeminent teaching museums in the country for generations to come. In addition to extensive updates to the building’s infrastructure, the museum has established its first centers for education; conservation; curatorial studies; and the study and display of its prints, drawings and photographs collection. Along with other changes – including removing window tinting, installing a sidewalk in front of the building and mounting a glass wall in the Asian and Islamic gallery allowing guests to see work in the Center for Conservation – these transformations create new ways for visitors to understand what goes on in a university art museum. The renovation also features updated administrative offices and a sky bridge that connects the east and west wings of the building. The project was overseen by Ennead Architects, a leading New York-based firm, under the leadership of Susan T. Rodriguez (who has since established her own practice) with IU’s Capital Projects office and Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf of Indianapolis.

Since its establishment in 1941, the Eskenazi Museum of Art has grown into one of the most significant university art collections in the United States. A distinguished teaching museum, its internationally acclaimed collection – ranging from ancient gold jewelry and African and Oceanic art to paintings by modern masters such as Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock – includes more than 45,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history.

“This exciting renovation allows the Eskenazi Museum to become a more open, accessible and welcoming place,” said David A. Brenneman, the museum’s Wilma E. Kelley director. “With the opening this fall will come a more visitor-focused experience, enhanced educational offerings and a convening space for faculty, staff, students and the public. All of this is at the very heart of our mission, and we’re greatly looking forward to sharing it with our community.”

The museum’s dynamic education program serves more than 11,000 university students and more than 4,500 K-12 students from southern and central Indiana each year. 

When the museum reopens in fall 2019, it will be an enhanced teaching resource for Indiana University and the region. The creation of four new centers of learning and three new art study rooms provides more opportunities for university students, faculty, preschool through high school students and the public to engage with art. 

The museum sets itself apart with distinctive offerings and resources such as launching A Space of Their Own, which, when it goes online, will provide a comprehensive database of women artists active in the United States and Europe from the 16th to 19th century; having the first art therapist in a university museum setting; and being one of only two Big Ten museums with a conservation department and the only one with a paintings conservator. Recent campus partnerships include collaboration with IU’s School of Informatics, providing a training ground for students and faculty to create 3D models of art and test the related technology in a museum setting; as well as a meaningful partnership with the university’s Center for Rural Engagement, to develop and assess art teaching and learning tools for educators and students in rural communities.

 Admission to the Eskenazi Museum is always free, thanks to generous donors. Every year more than 80,000 visitors of all ages and backgrounds embark on an extraordinary global journey through the museum’s galleries and programs.


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