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Architect tapped for Kelsey Museum project


The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is moving forward with plans for additional space for exhibits, study and research with a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and a gift from Edwin and Mary Meader of Kalamazoo.

At their July meeting, members the Board of Regents approved the Newberry Hall/Kelsey Museum addition and renovation project and the selection of architects Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Inc. for its design.

The Chicago-based firm has, during the past 35 years, accumulated wide experience in museum and library design, including major renovations to The Toledo Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and The Harold Washington Library in Chicago.

While the Kelsey houses nearly 100,000 objects from the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, only about 1 percent of this valuable archive can be exhibited in the two current galleries. An addition of approximately 12,000 square feet and renovation of the existing facility's 21,000 square feet will increase the museum's educational and research capabilities. Infrastructure improvements to some of the existing building are included in the project plans.

The expansion is proposed for the current parking lot west of the existing building. The loss of 30 parking spaces on this site will be offset by a new parking structure to be located on Division Street. The estimated cost of the Kelsey project is
$8.2 million, which will be covered in its entirety by the Meader gift of $8 million and funding of $200,000 from NEH.

In a note from Bruce Cole, chairman of the NEH, the Kelsey was commended for its work and vision for the future. Scholars serving as evaluators for the challenge grant "were especially impressed with the recent accomplishments of the Kelsey Museum and the care with which the museum serves its surrounding community as well as its campus constituency," Cole said.

The museum serves as an academic center for several U-M units, including classical studies, near Eastern studies and history of art. Its Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology ranks as one of the finest graduate programs in the country. Kelsey curators are University professors who draw on the museum's collections in their undergraduate and graduate teaching.

Since 1928, Newberry Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been home to the museum.

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