COLUMBIA — Visions for bringing the Museum of Art and Archaeology back to the main MU campus are becoming clearer after correspondence between the Columbia City Council and Chancellor Brady Deaton.
Moving the Museum of Art and Archaeology and the Museum of Anthropology to the former Ellis Fischel building on Business Loop 70 and Garth Avenue raised concerns about the collections' accessibility and safety. Museum supporters also feared the move might be permanent.
Scott Southwick, president of the Board of Museum Associates, a nonprofit support organization for the Museum of Art and Archaeology, thanked council members during their meeting Monday night for recommending that MU bring the museum back to campus.
"The Museum's first and best home should be the main University campus, either in a safe and renovated Pickard Hall or in a new facility," the council's letter stated. "Please assure the continuing presence of the Museum in the center of Columbia by starting capital planning and development as soon as possible."
Deaton responded positively to the council's recommendation for a new facility, stating that MU "would be very interested in exploring a fundraising partnership that could involve our working together to attract private donors as well as possibly using city financing and/or resources."
Southwick said he was encouraged by the exchange and said his main focus is developing plans for a more modern facility on campus.
"That letter appears to be the beginning of what could prove to be an extremely productive dialogue," Southwick said at the meeting.
He also was reassured that Deaton used the word "temporary" in describing the museum's relocation to the former Ellis Fischel, which MU now calls Mizzou North.
"The phrase 'the foreseeable future' agitated so many people," Southwick said. "This use of the word 'temporary' is very significant. It's exciting."
Museum Associates is forming a committee to explore a fundraising model for a new museum facility, Southwick said.
"We'll be inviting leaders from the city, the university and all parts of the community," he said at the council meeting.
Here is a PDF of the letter the City Council sent to Deaton.
Here is the letter Deaton returned to the City Council.
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