After three years of renovation and collection and seven months of being closed to the public, the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh reopened to the public April 24.
The museum renovation added a 127,000-square-foot building to house the museum’s permanent collection, restaurant and store. With white walls and blond floors, the interior of the East Building, as it is now called, is sparse without being Spartan and lets the art speak for itself.
The old building, now the West Building, will not open until November. It will then house the visiting collections and educational facilities, as well as the museum research library. The 164-acre campus has also been updated with new art installations and landscaped trails.
Assistant marketing director Alesia DiCosola said that plans to renovate and expand the museum started circulating more than 10 years ago.
“The stature of our permanent collection deserved a new home,” she said.
North Carolina was one of the first states to legislate the opening of an official state art museum.
More than 100 new artworks have been acquired by the museum. A large gift donated 29 sculptures by Auguste Rodin and led to the Rodin gallery and garden. The collection also includes many modern and contemporary artists.
“It’s really important to collect the art of our day,” DiCosola said.
When the West Building reopens in November, it will house five temporary exhibitions, including the art of Norman Rockwell, Eric Carl and John James Audubon.
But the $70 million-plus expansion is not the end of the line for the museum. While the buildings have been modernized and updated, there is still much to do around the grounds.
“The next step is to develop the park,” DiCosola said.