City, MU brainstorm new museum

A new archaeological museum would connect downtown and the university.
Thursday, September 23, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:00 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

City and MU officials are considering a partnership to build an archaeology museum downtown.

The museum may cost more to build than other buildings because it will require elaborate security, ventilation, heating and cooling systems, said Bill Bondeson, an MU music professor and assistant to the chancellor.

City and MU officials have not proposed a site for the new building, although one area being considered is a city-owned property along Fifth Street between Cherry and Locust streets.

The land is near the J.W. “Blind” Boone Home on Fourth Street and the Health Adventure Center on Cherry Street and would create a museum district in downtown Columbia.

The area would promote tourism by creating a link between MU and downtown, said City Manager Ray Beck.

“It is a mutual benefit to the university and the city,” Beck said.

The second possible site is in the projected MU Arts Village which could come to life at the corner of Stadium Boulevard and College Avenue.

MU has been trying for the last couple of years to get legislative approval to lease the land to a contractor to build a hotel and conference center. The university would use the lease money to develop the Arts Village.

The proposed project was discussed at a preliminary meeting in July attended by Mayor Darwin Hindman, City Manager Ray Beck, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, former MU Chancellor Richard Wallace and other city and university officials. Nothing was finalized at that meeting, said MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken.

Beck said discussions about an educational museum campus downtown have been in the works for the past five or 10 years.

This year’s city budget includes $150,000 for the City Council to explore the possibility of the construction, as well as construction of a life sciences business incubator by MU, Beck said. The museum is not the only construction being considered by the city. Beck said he hopes the proposed educational museum campus could also include a children’s museum.

“It’s kind of an exciting overall project,” he said.

Art and Archeology Museum in Pickard Hall, on the east side of Francis Quadrangle, lacks sufficient space for all of its exhibits, Beck said.

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