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Grand re-opening: Nearly 24,000 mark UMMA's big weekend

Previews, programs, galas celebrate museum renovations

Nearly 24,000 people streamed through the remodeled and expanded U-M Museum of Art during re-opening events recently.

More than half of the attendance came during a 24-hour community open house March 28-29.

The overwhelmingly positive public response to the renovated museum is the capstone of a nearly three-year building project.

"The galleries and hallways were jam-packed, filled with happy, engaged people welcoming the museum back into their lives," said UMMA Director James Steward.

The opening-week festivities began March 24 with a students-only preview that attracted 5,500, and culminated March 28 and 29 with 15,000 people visiting during the community open house.

Attendance at other previews, programs and gala dinners for donors and special guests brought the balance of the week's turnout to 23,950, far surpassing the museum's projections.

"The museum reopening will bring art back to the center of the Michigan community," said Jenna Utter, a junior in the School of Art and Design who attended the students-only event March 24.

"Hopefully the interest and excitement generated by these events will make the art museum, and art itself, an important part of cultural life."
Photo by Lainie Kovacs
The U-M Museum of Art's reopening festivities included a students-only preview, gala receptions for donors and special guests, and a 24-hour community open house. These photos capture some of the exciting moments during the six-day celebration of the museum's new look. (Photos by Peter Smith Photography, except where noted)
Photo by Lainie Kovacs

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