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Meeting of the Board of Regents | October 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007 - 11:00pm

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Jeffrey Cannell


Museum Gallery Renewal and Stewardship Collections Facility



October 1, 2007



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Issue for Discussion


The Museum has proposed three new galleries; EmpireState: America Begins inNew York, Changes: A Billion Years of the Natural History of New York and the completion of the existing gallery, Native Peoples of New York.  The Museum has received an appropriation of $20 million to implement the proposals. Gallagher and Associates is working with the Museum, Archives and Library staff in addition to external content and exhibition experts to develop these major new exhibitions telling the human and natural history of New York. A new master plan for the Museum galleries is nearing completion. The master plan will integrate the gallery renewals with existing exhibits to assure a consistent narrative throughout the galleries.


The Office of Cultural Education is also working closely with the Office of General Services on the initial stages for procurement of land for the new Stewardship Facility.  The $60 million appropriation in this fiscal year will initiate the first phase of construction of a multi-phased approach to re-house our collections and eventually our research labs.


Reason(s) for Consideration


The 2006-2007 budget included $20 million to make the collections of the Museum, Archives and Library more accessible. The proposed galleries will utilize those collections to tell a rich narrative about New York. Exhibit development, planning and installation are expected to take three years. The Museum, working with the Gallagher and Associates exhibition planning and design firm will spend the next three years developing these exhibitions. The Museum remains open throughout the renewal.



Proposed Handling


The Regents Cultural Education Committee will oversee the renewal of the Museum galleries and report periodically to the Full Board. The Committee will also make recommendations on the renewal of the Museum to the Cultural Education Fund Board of Trustees.


Procedural History


The last Museum master plan for exhibitions was presented to the Regents in 1999 and progress toward implementation was reported periodically to the Cultural Education Committee and to the Full Board. The selection of an exhibition planning and design firm was completed in early 2006.


At the February 2007 meeting the Cultural Education Committee discussed their role in relation to the Cultural Education Trust.  While the Cultural Education Trust Board has specific oversight for the Gallery renewal and the construction of the Stewardship Facility, the Cultural Education Committee has an ongoing stewardship responsibility for the collections of Cultural Education that goes beyond the responsibilities of the Trust Board.


Background Information


Museum Gallery Renewal: The Museum has begun the planning of the exhibitions that will open in 2010 with the $20 million in the budget. The project is moving forward: Master planning of all galleries and exhibition development for Natural History, Human History and Native Peoples galleries.


In this year’s executive budget, an additional $60 million is available for the construction of a new Stewardship Facility.  Along with the funding authorization, the bill called for the establishment of a Cultural Education Trust with a Board of five persons.  Of the five members, the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly each appoint one member.  The Board includes two Regents. The Commissioner has appointed Regent Karen Brooks Hopkins and Regent James Dawson will serve as Chair in place of the Chancellor.  The Governor has appointed John Egan and the Senate Majority Leader has appointed Professor Jeffrey Kraus.  The appointee from the Assembly is still pending. 


Gallagher and Associates has established a national reputation as a professional design services firm. They have created outstanding visitor experiences and graphic packages for public and private museums throughout the United States and abroad. One of their biggest strengths is the experienced project management team that coordinates exhibit and graphic designers, architects, museum planners, 3-D modelers and computer assisted designers. Gallagher and Associates has completed large-scale projects for the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the New Mexico History Museum, the National Museum of the United States Army, Oakland Museum of Natural History and many others.


Museum, Archives, Library staff and a panel of experts from across New York has been engaged to develop the exhibitions.


At your meeting we will update you on activities related to both the Gallery renewal and the Stewardship Facility and seek your guidance on issues associated with the projects.




Recommend endorsement of the overall direction and scope of the Museum gallery renewals and stewardship facility plan.


Timetable for Implementation


Gallery Renewal:

Museum Gallery Master Plan: 50% Review in July 2007, Complete in

  October 2007

Natural History Gallery opens May 2010

Native Peoples of New York Expansion opens June 2010

The Empire State opens July 2010


Stewardship Facility:

Appraisals completed by January 2008

Feasibility study completed by January 2008

Land purchase completed by May 2008

Building design completed by March 2009