Anchorage Museum expansion opens May 30
May 26, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2009
Contact: Sarah Henning, 929-9231 (w), 250-3352 (c)
Anchorage Museum expands mission, opens new building May 30
The $106 million expansion of the Anchorage Museum brings a new era to one of Alaska’s premier visitor attractions with the completion of an 80,000-square-foot wing, which opens May 30, and renovation of the existing building by spring 2010.
During a free grand opening celebration noon to midnight May 30, visitors to the museum can view new exhibition galleries and enjoy a new and expanded resource center, shop and Muse restaurant. The expansion also includes exhibition space and extensive landscaping.
With this physical expansion, the museum expands its mission to include the science of Alaska and adopts a more hands-on philosophy for presenting exhibitions on science, history and art.
The expansion project was launched in 1999 with a $50 million gift from the late Alaska philanthropist Elmer Rasmuson. The new building was designed by internationally acclaimed London architect David Chipperfield, in partnership with Anchorage-based Kumin Associates Inc. as architect of record.
“Now that we have a world-class venue, it’s our goal to bring in world-class exhibitions to match,” said Museum Director James Pepper Henry. The addition’s inaugural exhibition is “Gold” from the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibition presents 300 extraordinary geological specimens and cultural objects from around the world. The Anchorage Museum curated a companion exhibition, “Pay Dirt: Alaska’s Golden Landscapes,” which tells the story of gold in Alaska.
The museum adds interactive science programming by merging with The Imaginarium Science Discovery Center, which will close its 5th Avenue location in August and reopen in the museum’s east galleries in spring 2010. The new Imaginarium Discovery Center includes a planetarium and offers hands-on exhibits for visitors of all ages to explore earth, life and physical sciences.
The new addition also demonstrates a heightened dedication to Alaska Native culture and history through a new contemporary Alaska Native art gallery and the 10,000-square-foot Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, which opens in spring 2010. In the first arrangement of its kind, the Smithsonian Institution is loaning 600 indigenous Alaska artifacts to their place or origin. These objects were selected and interpreted with help from Alaska elders and advisers.
The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska with more than 170,000 square feet of indoor galleries and public space. The museum’s permanent collection holds more than 24,000 objects and 500,000 historical photographs. It is one of the ten most visited attractions in the state with an annual attendance of more than 140,000 visitors.
This is the third expansion for the Anchorage Museum, which opened in 1968. Construction of the new addition began in 2006 with Alcan General Inc. as general contractor and Rise Alaska as project manager. The new addition was mostly funded by private donations along with state and federal grants.
For more information, call Public Relations Coordinator Sarah Henning at (907) 929-9231 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find a complete opening day schedule of events at www.anchoragemuseum.org/expansion/expansion_events.aspx
Find press kits on the expansion project and “Gold” in the online media room at www.anchoragemuseum.org/media/.