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Philadelphia Museum of Art Begins $196 Million Expansion

As its one hundredth anniversary approaches, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is beginning a $196 million expansion project—an endeavor designed by architect Frank Gehry that took about ten years to develop—writes Katherine Scott of 6ABC. “The core project, as it suggests, really starts at the heart of the museum. It’s an extraordinary design and one that both respects the building, but makes it ready for the next one hundred years,” said Timothy Rub, the museum’s director.

The plan includes a vaulted walkway that starts at the Kelly Drive side of the museum, which will function as the building’s main entrance. The auditorium will be removed and a two-story public area, known as the “The Forum,” will go in its place. Overall, more than 23,000 square feet of gallery space will be added, allowing the museum more room to display works from its collection of American art. “It will make the experience of the museum more legible, more understandable for visitors who sometimes get lost in this great big and wonderful place,” said Rub.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2020, is supported by a $525 million fundraising campaign—the largest in the museum’s history. The institution has already raised more than $326 million, or just over 62 percent of its goal. The additional funds being raised will go towards the renewal and improvement of the museum’s landmark main building, the strengthening of its endowment, and the development of new initiatives. While construction on the expansion project is underway, many of the museum’s public collections will remain accessible to the public.