Palmer Museum of Art delays reopening, announces programs and projects for fall

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Palmer Museum of Art delays reopening, announces programs and projects for fall
Updates on all programs will be shared via the museum website as well as on the Palmer’s social media channels.

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.- As the fall semester begins, the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State has decided to delay its reopening to the public and will open its doors in early January 2021. The museum will continue its robust virtual programming and online content while using the extended closure to address critical needs of the facility and collection.

“Though a difficult decision, opening in January is the most prudent course of action, especially in light of ongoing concerns surrounding the pandemic and bringing visitors to campus,” said Museum Director Erin M. Coe. “Extending our closure will provide us with the much-needed opportunity to make advances on other initiatives including critical facility and collection projects. We look forward to reopening our doors to the public in early January.”

The Palmer’s plans for the fall closure include a major collection rehousing project, performing renovation work in the building on Curtin Road, and undertaking the digitization of the collection.

First up will be rehousing a portion of works from the Palmer’s collection from the facility on Curtin Road to a nearby collection storage complex. In 2018, to accommodate the tremendous growth in the permanent collection, Penn State offered approximately 3,000 square feet of space in the Library’s Depository Building in State College to be completely renovated into a state-of-the-art storage facility for the Palmer Museum. New high-density storage equipment has already been installed, and the space will be ready to receive artwork after Labor Day. Migrating parts of the collection is a substantial undertaking that entails moving art out of the existing and overcrowded art storage spaces to the renovated facility. Preparing and carefully moving the artwork through the building will span the course of several months, and the extended closure will facilitate the completion of this major rehousing project.

The museum’s closure this fall also will allow for renovation and repair work after a recent sprinkler pipe leak, which will commence after Labor Day. No art was damaged by the incident, and while the renovation is in progress, other upgrades to the facility will be made, including repainting the lobby for the first time since the Charles Moore addition opened in 1993.

Finally, during this fall season, Palmer staff will focus on a major digitization project of the museum’s permanent collection. The extended closure will allow for new photography of many works in the collection, a prerequisite for launching a new online searchable collection database in the near future that will greatly extend the digital reach of the museum.

While projects are ongoing, the Palmer will also continue its full slate of engaging virtual programs and events. Plans for the fall include exciting new educational content and online offerings for Penn State faculty and students and K-12 teachers and students, as well as families, kids, and adults from the greater community.

Notable autumn programs include a mix of popular Palmer events, including Art After Hours events, gallery talks, and lectures — formatted and evolved for the virtual sphere — plus intriguing new experiences for audiences of all ages.

In the “Museum Conversations” series, virtual visitors can join Palmer staff, Penn State students, and special guests live online for insights and lively conversations about the inner workings of an art museum.

Virtual tours will include self-directed, interactive, online explorations highlighting objects from the collection around special themes. Introductory tours led by Palmer staff or volunteer educators via Zoom will offer a synchronous experience for remote classes or groups and provide opportunities for guided discussions.

A novel “Palmer in Your Pocket” program will share short videos created by Palmer student interns that present collection highlights, art trivia, food for thought, museum tips and tricks, or similar "light fare" designed to provide fun or restorative art breaks for online audiences.

Children and families can also stay active with the museum through a new “Online Art Club” of videos and periodic live meetings full of fun art-making prompts, artistic explorations, and good old-fashioned creativity.

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