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Jean Outland Chrysler Library will move to new art building on Old Dominion University campus
Chrysler Museum of Art exterior. Photo: Ed Pollard.

NORFOLK, VA.- As part of an ongoing partnership between the Chrysler Museum of Art and Old Dominion University, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library will move from the Museum into a new art building on the ODU campus after that facility is completed in early 2014.

The collection is being moved as part of an agreement between Old Dominion and the Norfolk museum, which had been seeking a new home for the art library in conjunction with its plans to increase gallery and exhibition space. ODU’s new art building, to be located between 46th and 47th streets on Monarch Way in the University Village, will accommodate the Chrysler library collection as well as provide reading room space.

With an extensive collection of more than 112,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is regarded as one of the most significant art libraries in the South. It is named in honor of Jean Outland Chrysler, a Norfolk native and wife of the late Walter P. Chrysler Jr., who played a leading role in its formation and expansion.

“The relocation of the Museum's library to a beautiful new building on ODU’s campus will make this extraordinary resource available to a whole new audience,” said William Hennessey, director of the Chrysler Museum of Art. “All of us at the Museum are thrilled by this, the latest in a series of exciting partnerships between the Chrysler and the university.”

The library is a unique resource among the Chrysler collections, offering scholarly support to curators, educators, docents, students, dealers and the Hampton Roads community. The library’s collections also are patronized by a wider audience through participation in interlibrary loan.

The Jean Outland Chrysler Library’s collection reflects the permanent collections of the Chrysler Museum of Art, with strong holdings in the areas of European and American painting, glass and photography. Resources within the library’s collection also embrace the full scope of the history of art.

Along with an extensive collection of more than 50,000 monographs, exhibition catalogues from art museums worldwide, extensive vertical files on artists and art-related topics, subscriptions to several hundred art-related journals and catalogues from all major auction houses contribute to the library's range of information available to researchers.

The library archives house the Moses Myers family papers, a collection of family correspondence and business papers dating from the 18th century into the late 20th century. Also among the archives holdings is the original typescript of a speech Mark Twain delivered at the Jamestown Tricentennial Exposition of 1907.

“Housing such a significant collection within the ODU Arts District in the University Village and associating it with a well-regarded university art department offers benefits not only for the Chrysler, but also for students and faculty at Old Dominion, as well as arts researchers and supporters throughout the region,” said ODU President John R. Broderick.

Richard F. Barry III, vice chairman of Landmark Communications Inc. and a former rector of ODU’s Board of Visitors, and Macon F. Brock, a member of the Chrysler Museum of Art Board of Trustees, were instrumental in negotiating the Chrysler art library’s move to the new facility at ODU.

“This partnership is a wonderful opportunity to showcase one of the best art libraries in the country in a university environment,” said Brock, former chairman of the Chrysler Museum board. “The Museum is an essential resource for our community, and this alliance fits perfectly with our strategic goals to expand our physical presence through a number of new initiatives.”

The Chrysler trustees and Museum staff will retain ownership and control of the collection, and the Museum and the university will work together to formalize an operating agreement.

ODU’s Elise N. Hofheimer Art Library, currently located inside the university’s Diehn Center for the Performing Arts, will also move to the new art building.

“The combined resources of the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library and the Elise Hofheimer Art Library will bolster the art department's creative and academic curricula,” said Robert Wojtowicz, associate dean and professor of art history. The Chrysler’s Dickson Librarian, Jessica Ritchie, was formerly supervisor at the Hofheimer Art Library. Her experience will help ensure a smooth transition and afford patrons an understanding of all available resources.

The two art libraries will be located in the main building of a new art department complex. The three-story, 39,000-square-foot facility will also house classrooms and studios, as well as faculty and staff offices. A new, two-story building, replacing ODU’s current, outdated Art Studio Building, will be constructed behind the main facility to accommodate the art department’s sculpture, ceramics, metals, printmaking and photography programs.

Tymoff+Moss is the architect for ODU’s new art buildings, and S.B. Ballard Construction Co. has been engaged to provide preconstruction management services for the new facilities. Construction is expected to begin this winter, with an opening planned for January 2014.

In addition to providing a modern space for ODU’s art department, the new arts complex will consolidate the department’s activities in one location for the first time in more than 20 years, said Charles Wilson, the dean of ODU’s College of Arts and Letters.

The new buildings will expand what is becoming known as the ODU Arts District in the University Village. The 185-seat Goode Theatre, which opened earlier this year at 46th Street and Monarch Way, was the second arts facility built in the Village. The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, at 45th Street and Monarch Way, opened in 2007.

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