Art and Archaeology Museum relocates to Ellis Library

The museum plans to keep up its “excellent work” from a smaller space on the lower level of Ellis Library.

The museum of art and archaeology is being relocated from Mizzou North to the inside of Ellis Library as a part of MU’s Space Reduction and Strategic Relocation Plan.

It will be located on the lower level and display a selection of pieces. These are yet to be determined as the museum staff decides how to best utilize the space.

On March 4, MU published a news release detailing the plan. It includes the vacating of Mizzou North on Business Loop 70.

Plans to sell the building were announced in 2018 and according to the Columbia Daily Tribune, a buyer is being sought out.

Patricia Okker, the dean of the College of Arts and Science, said she helped establish a leadership team of museum staff to lead the move back to campus.

She said the museums “will continue their excellent work regarding digital and online exhibits” during the transition.

“While the move will pose challenges and inevitable disruptions, this action brings the museums back to the central core of the campus,” Okker said. “We have already identified a leadership team of museum staff to lead the move and we are all committed to having [Ellis Library’s] gallery space ready as soon as possible.” Lee Ann Garrison, director of the School of Visual Studies, said she anticipates a move in the future — as the lower level of Ellis Library is not ideal, but will have to suffice until a long-term relocation can occur.

“Ideally, we would be able to raise funds for a new museum building that would benefit all MU students, faculty and staff, plus benefit the city and become a draw for others in the state,” Garrison said. “That will take years to plan and to raise funds required for a new building, and that is not currently a campus initiative.”

This isn’t the first time the museum has been forced to relocate.

It moved eight years ago from its location inside Pickard Hall, which closed in 2013, and is currently scheduled for demolition due to traces of radioactive contamination left by Dr. Herman Schlundt’s experimentation.

One benefit of the current move is the pieces’ reintegration into the MU community, particularly for educational value. Anne Stanton, the coordinator of Art History at the School of Visual Studies, said she anticipates more opportunities to expose her students to authentic historic art.

“They have things that are thousands of years old,” Stanton said. “Things that were made last year, things that were made in Egypt, ancient Greece, various African countries, in India, China. They really have an incredible — and it’s an old — collection … begun by some of the founding members of art history and archaeology studies on campus in the 1890s.”

According to Stanton, the museum is a valuable wealth of knowledge and information. She hopes to see its return improve both academic and day-to-day life by exposing the MU community to a large collection of historic art.

“You could study the history of humanity, almost, in this one small university collection, and [it’s] a valuable part of what this land grant institution can contribute,” Stanton said. “It’s a very important part of`our campus history and life [and] I miss just being able to pop in there every day. They have everything.”

Edited by Sophie Chappell | schappell@themaneater.com

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