Cape Ann Museum to Close for Renovations

September 26, 2013

The Cape Ann Museum will close at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 29 in preparation for a major renovation project. This transformational project will focus on four areas: updating the building’s infrastructure (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting, fire and security systems) in the older parts of the Museum (1930s – 1960s); architectural enhancements to the interior of the more than 50 year-old spaces (new flooring, ceiling and finishes); capitalizing on underutilized spaces; and reinterpreting and reinstalling the collection in ways that better tell the Cape Ann story.

The Fitz Henry Lane, Davis and Folly Cove Designers galleries will be totally redesigned. By reconfiguring existing spaces, two new galleries have been created: a Central Gallery which will serve as the educational hub of the Museum, a gathering place where visitors are introduced to the Museum and its collections, and the Thacher Island Fresnel Lens Gallery devoted to the newly arrived 10 foot tall, one ton First Order Fresnel Lens. Visitors will greatly benefit from the improved basic amenities, including a wireless environment, a more gracious reception area, an expanded gift shop, personal lockers, and an additional restroom. Boston-based designLAB Architects is responsible for the overall design.

While the Museum will be closed, it will continue to offer a full schedule of programs off-site, often in collaboration with area cultural and educational institutions. Please visit www.capeannmuseum.org  for current program listings and to keep informed of the progress of this very exciting project.

In many ways, the story of the Museum can be told through its architecture. Founded in 1873, the Museum settled in its first permanent home in the early 1920s. The gracious Federal period building (1804) on “Captain’s Row,” home of Captain Elias Davis, proved a good investment for the Cape Ann Scientific & Literary Society, as the Museum was first known. The Society’s collection grew and in 1930, it added a new gallery to display paintings, furniture and sculpture and an auditorium to accommodate cultural programming for the community. The 1960s brought the addition of a gallery to showcase the Museum’s growing Fitz Henry Lane Collection and another gallery for its maritime collection. The Cape Ann Scientific & Literary Society became the Cape Ann Historical Association. In the late 1980s, the Association purchased an adjacent building and created space for a library/archives, children’s room and a new wing for its maritime collection. A new gallery and sculpture garden were added in 2001. Fast forward to 2013 - The Association is now the Cape Ann Museum and updates to the earliest additions of the Museum are long overdue.

The Cape Ann Museum, located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester, MA, celebrates the art, history and culture of this singular place. In addition to being a preeminent art museum with the single largest collection of paintings by Gloucester native Fitz Henry Lane, it houses an extensive collection of marine and granite industry artifacts and the largest collection of textiles created by the Folly Cove Designers. The Museum welcomes over 20,000 visitors annually.

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