In conjunction with Boston College’s plans for campus improvement and expansion, the McMullen Museum of Art will relocate from Devlin Hall to the former archbishop’s residence on Brighton Campus by 2016.
The museum, housed in Devlin Hall since 1993, has featured a wide range of exhibitions and has been an artistic and historical resource to students across disciplines.
The new site of the museum intends to enhance the museum quality and experience—plans include more space, better natural lighting, movable walls, and modern technology that will allow for greater flexibility in exhibits, according to Nancy Netzer, the McMullen Museum director and professor in the art history department.
The museum will continue to be free, while the new space will have almost twice the amount of that in Devlin Hall.
Past exhibits have included work from Paul Klee, Georges Rouault, Gustave Courbet, Edvard Munch, and most recently, Wifredo Lam. Imagining New Worlds, the museum’s current exhibit, explores Lam’s multicultural heritage and engagement with political and artistic movements of the 20th century.
Starting Feb. 11, the museum will feature Rural Ireland: The Inside Story, an exhibit on Irish culture and history during the famine and into the 20th century.
A monetary gift from the McMullen Family Foundation has made the project possible. The more accessible and expanded venue is intended to help to share the exhibits with a wider audience, said art and collecting enthusiast Jacqueline McMullen, wife of the late John McMullen.
“It is wonderful to have the McMullen family, who were integral to the museum’s founding, sharing in the vision of the museum’s new location,” said Beth McDermott, Associate Vice President for Development.
This location, unlike Devlin Hall, is within the limits of Boston and will now appear on a list of Boston museums. This allows it to be advertised to a broader range of people, especially because the museum can now be seen from the T stop at the end of the B Line.
McDermott, who has seen the plans, calls the museum “a beautiful contemporary open space that blends in perfectly with the original structure.”
The new space will be utilized to its fullest extent: the first floor will be a conference space and the location of the permanent collections, the second floor will be the main gallery space, and the third will be a smaller gallery space.
The museum advances the school’s commitment to students from all disciplines and provides enhanced opportunities for historical instruction, Netzer said.
Netzer hopes students will become more involved with the museum in the more welcoming, larger space. There will be more opportunities for student interns to work on audio, film, and digital projects, and the space will generally be more student-friendly and conducive to spending time and working in, she said.
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