|The new Wesleyan
University Museum will provide a single secure, environmentally-controlled
space to house valuable collections of art and materials.
Pictured below is a cross
section model of how the building will appear. The third-floor spaces will
contain three gallery spaces and glass enclosed seating and study areas.
Alumni Donate $500,000 to Wesleyan Museum
Segal '75 and Monica Mayer Segal ’78 have donated $500,000 toward the new Wesleyan
University Museum, which will be built on College Row through an extensive
remodeling of the historic former squash building.
The new museum building, now in its final planning stages, will make an
important architectural impact in the center of the campus. Three exterior
walls of the former squash court building will be retained insuring the
integrity of College Row. However, the west facade of the building facing
Andrus Field will gain a dynamic new architectural expression featuring
glass and metal.
“Rick and I both feel that there needs to be a stronger visual arts presence
on the Wesleyan campus, and that an attractive, inviting, well-placed,
user-friendly museum would do wonders to inspire undergraduates to enjoy the
arts during their college years, and hopefully into their adult years,” says
Monica Mayer Segal, who, along with her husband Rick, is an avid art collector.
“We all know that Wesleyan students are attracted to arts and culture, so it
seems a straight shot that they would make great use of a first class
The museum, which will cost approximately $23 million to complete, will
provide a single secure, environmentally-controlled space to house valuable
collections of art and material culture currently dispersed throughout the
campus. These collections include more than 18,000 European and American
prints, 600 Japanese prints and over 6,000 photographs displayed or stored
in the Davison Art Center, as well as some 30,000 archeological and
ethnographic items now housed in Exley Science Center, a collection of
musical instruments from throughout the world now in storage in the Music
Building, and a variety of Asian objects currently in the Mansfield Freeman
Center for East Asian Studies.
The need for a new museum building was signaled by the Collections Committee
Advisory Report in 1997. The report indicated that Wesleyan was beyond
reasonable capacity for its collections and that conservation demanded
stricter standards of climate and light controls.
“In addition to new, secure exhibition spaces and much-needed expanded
storage the museum will provide new lab spaces and study areas where
students can work closely with objects in our collections under the guidance
of the faculty and the curatorial staff,” says John Paoletti, Kenan
Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history and director of the
new museum. “More of our collections will be able to be shown on a regular
basis, highlighting what are now some of Wesleyan’s best kept secrets.”
The new facility will also permit Wesleyan to borrow works of art from other
institutions and alumni and alumnae collectors, enhancing the university’s
exhibition program and teaching capabilities. The space will also include a
new auditorium and reception area on the museum’s main floor.
Paoletti has been on the Wesleyan faculty since 1972 and has seen the
interest in the arts at Wesleyan and other institutions develop in
extraordinary ways during that time. And yet, Wesleyan has been without an
appropriate museum facility comparable to its peers. His enthusiasm for the
museum is contagious, as the Segals soon discovered.
“We had been talking with the administration about this project for a few
years, and it had gone through several permutations, but when John got
involved it all coalesced for us,” says Rick Segal. “John’s vision for the
physical component of the museum and his programmatic ideas are very
Paoletti is most excited about the impact that the museum will have on
Wesleyan’s educational programs.
“We’ve recently had sophomore and juniors who have had internships at The
Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Frick Collection in New York
City, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Chicago Art Institute, just
to name a few,” says Paoletti. “Many of our students have gone on to
prestigious positions in the gallery and museum world and in academics. The
new museum will improve our ability to provide more extensive teaching
opportunities and give our educational programs a very public face to the
world outside Wesleyan.”
Paoletti does not have an exact date for the museum’s completion, though the
gutting of the old squash courts has already begun as part of the work being
done for the Susan Lemberg Usdan University Center, which will be next door
to the museum.
“The speed at which will be able to move this project along will be strongly
linked to the support we receive from alumni and friends of the university
who want to make it a reality,” says Paoletti. “Rick and Monica have helped
us take a very big first step, and for that we are all very grateful. I am
anxious to seize the momentum they have created to keep the museum project
moving forward in a creative and expeditious manner.”
For more information about the Wesleyan University Museum please go to:
http://www.wesleyan.edu/masterplan/teaching.html. For illustrations of the
Wesleyan University Museum please go to:
|By David Pesci, director
of Media Relations