The University Record, October 17, 1994

Kelsey slated to reopen Thursday

By Sage Arron

Closed since July 1993 for renovations, the Kelsey Museum of Archeaology will reopen Thursday (Oct. 20) with a Byzantium display titled “Byzantium: University of Michigan Collections and Expeditions.”

Director Elaine Gazda says the museum’s renovation project “has not only provided a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled storage facility for the museum’s most environmentally vulnerable collections (which gives them a new lease on life), but also better-quality space for doing research on all the collections. We will now be able to accommodate many more students and faculty members who want to do work with archaeological artifacts.”

Renovation was needed, according to museum technician Dana Buck, because objects that were being kept in storage were deteriorating at an alarming rate. The museum houses more than 90,000 artifacts.

Eugene M. and Emily Grant of New York donated $250,000 of seed money. Funds from the U-M, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Kelsey Museum Associates and other private contributions brought the total to $1.3 billion.

As a result, the Kelsey Museum can preserve its treasures using its new Sensitive Artifact Facility and Environment, which maintains appropriate storage, humidity, and temperature requirements for optimal artifact longevity.

The museum has added a water-sprinkler fire control system, a high-tech security system, an elevator leading all the way up to a newly added third floor, and a registry. Floors on the second story have been leveled, previously sealed windows exposed, and a study area created. There is also a barrier-free entrance located at the rear of the building, where parking is more accessible.

Geoffrey Brown, curator of conservation, oversaw the handling of artifacts and construction and worked closely with Buck to ensure that construction employees had someone to go to if questions and problems arose. “We are deeply grateful to everyone who supported this project,” says Gazda. “It couldn’t have been accomplished without the support we received from the Office of the Vice President for Research, LS&A and the Plant Department, as well as our contributors from outside the University community.”