COLUMBIA — MU's Museum of Art and Archaeology will get back to its mission Friday night, museum director Alex Barker said. A gallery featuring the museum's cast collection will open, the first since the museum moved to Mizzou North.
"Part of our mission is to make art accessible and interpret it to the public, and while our galleries were closed we haven't been able to do that," Barker said.
The grand opening of the cast gallery will be the first opportunity for the museum to show any of its collection to the public since October. Due to concerns of radiation contamination, the museum was relocated from Pickard Hall to Mizzou North, the former location of the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.
The university hired two companies for the task of moving the gallery: Chicago-based Terry Dowd Inc. and Boston-based U.S. Art Co. Inc.
"The casts are more than 100 years old," Barker said. "They are delicate and become more delicate with time."
The size and weight of the casts were also concerns during the move. Most casts were dismantled then crated and padded by the movers, who used ramps and lifts to transport the casts from the museum to the trucks, said the museum's assistant director Bruce Cox.
The casts were the last of the museum's collections to move to Mizzou North. The movers completed the packing and unpacking in about nine weeks, less than the allotted time they were given, Cox said. The total cost of moving was $1.5 million.
John Pickard founded MU's Department of Art History and Archaeology in 1892. Three years later he purchased 50 plaster casts to start its collection. Today the department owns more than 100, most of which are models of Greek and Roman sculptures. The casts are on long-term loan from the department to the museum, and 49 are on display at the new location.
The other casts are housed within the department or storage or are still at Pickard Hall. Some of the casts are still hanging in Pickard Hall because they might be contaminated, Barker said.
The collection has moved twice since it was originally displayed on the third floor of Jesse Hall. After renovating the old chemistry building, the museum moved to Pickard Hall in 1976. The most recent move is part of Renew Mizzou, a renovation project for Pickard, Jesse and Swallow halls.
The cast gallery in Pickard Hall was the location for many receptions and other events.
"I think a lot of people will be anxious to see (the new gallery)," Cox said. "It's a different shape, so it has a different feel."
The grand opening will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday and is open to the public. The rest of the museum's gallery will open this fall.
The MU Museum of Art and Archaeology will hold the cast gallery's grand opening at 5:30 p.m. Friday to celebrate its recent move to Mizzou North at the intersection of Garth Avenue and Business Loop 70 West. The new location for the museum is the former site of Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.
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