Preparations for Cape Ann Museum Green
, the Museums new campus off Grant Circle and Route 128 in Gloucester, have continued over the summer with further grass and new trees planted as part of an overall landscape design that will aesthetically combine three historic buildings on the property with a new contemporary archival collections storage and public exhibition space called the Janet & William Ellery James Center. The campus plans to open to the public by Sept. 17.
Designed to dramatically expand the Museums community, contemporary art and educational offerings, the almost four-acre campus is home to the three historic structures, the White Ellery House (1710), an adjacent Barn (c. 1740), and the Babson-Alling House (c.1740), all located on the site at the intersection of Washington and Poplar Streets in Gloucester. The new 12,000-square foot James Center includes 2,000 square feet of flexible exhibition and community programming space designed to reach broader audiences with new exhibits and public programs. The James Center was built to LEED Platinum standards and was designed by Boston-based designLAB. Integral to the buildings environmental footprint is the installation later this year of a 173KW Solar Array system on the buildings roof, and with recent city approval temporary art banners are now planned for the buildings Route 128 facing exterior.
It has been thrilling to watch Cape Ann Museum Green evolve over the last year said Oliver Barker, the Museums Director. This unique location, visible at the entrance to Cape Ann, offers a historic connection from the 1700s until today. The Museums mission is to celebrate our rich, diverse, and deep history here on Cape Ann while also continually discovering new works by contemporary artists. This property symbolically brings all of that together in one place as the Gateway to Cape Ann.
This pivotal Museum initiative has been in development since 2017 and was led by a Cape Ann Museum Green Committee chaired by William (Wilber) James. The Museum is indebted to Wilber and his Committee, which includes Sam Holdsworth, Norm Chambers, John Cunningham, Stephanie Benenson, Dick Carlson and Suzi Natti, with encouragement and support from Board Chair Charles Esdaile, for their leadership, vision and commitment to creating a new cultural experience for our community and for visitors to Cape Ann, Barker said.
We are but threads in the fabric of life, building on the efforts of those who came before us and setting the stage for future generations said Wilber James. This property builds on the vision of our forebears and we invite others to join the Cape Ann Museum today in setting the stage for the future as a leading regional museum of American art that is relevant and engages our community.
The James Center will provide critical state-of-the-art storage for the Museums expanding collections as well as the community space for education and art installations. Landscaping has been progressing since spring with the planting of dozens of indigenous trees, shrubs, and flowers alongside the campuss notable fieldstone wall constructed from stones found throughout The bucolic Cape Ann Museum Green property was the subject of three Fitz Henry Lane paintings in 1863, two of which are now at the Cape Ann Museum. View of the Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester, shows the Route 128 side of the property, while The Babson Meadows at Riverdale, looking from the rear of the Babson-Alling House, with its meticulously rendered field stone wall and gate provided the framework on which the CAM Green perimeter field stone wall and new entry gates, all designed and crafted by local Gloucester artisans, were recently installed to recall that historic time..
Due to the pandemic, the official opening of Cape Ann Museum Green has been postponed until June 2021, but news about opportunities for the public to see the campus in socially distant appropriate ways starting September 17th is forthcoming. The creation of the Cape Ann Museum Green campus is a critical component of the Museums 2018-2023 Strategic Plan and the commitment to enhance facilities by providing space for current holdings and anticipating future strategic collection growth in a sophisticated climate-controlled and highly secure building.