The Baltimore Museum of Art Pushes for Safety Renovations

By Meaca Downing, Benjamin McKnight III and Kendra Branch

 

(Baltimore, MD) – Baltimore City residents will be voting on a $400,000 bond issue for the Baltimore Museum of Art on Tuesday. If the measure passes, the money will fund safety renovations at the century-old institution.

The funding will go towards the final phase of museum renovations begun several years ago. The Baltimore City Fire Marshal mandated that the BMA “work toward, and eventually be, one-hundred percent sprinkled,” said Anne Mannix-Brown, BMA’s communications director. Phase One of the three-phase plan was the reopening of the Contemporary Wing in November 2012. Phase Two, which will be done during the 100th anniversary of the museum this year, is centered around the visual improvement of the American and African art.

The bond is Question D on this year’s ballot, and is the fourth request for funding from one of the city’s cultural institutions. Alongside the BMA are the National Aquarium at Baltimore, the Walters and Port Discovery Children’s Museum.

Baltimore voters that head to the polls on Tuesday, November 4, will have the opportunity to vote for the bond’s approval.

Renovations have been going on at the museum since 2008, after the BMA launched “In a new light: the campaign for the Baltimore Museum of Art” campaign. This campaign raised $75 million dollars in the last six years, allowing for renovation of the three major collections, Contemporary, American and African.

Visitors have been excited to see the new exhibits being opened this year and support the bond. “[I am here for the] opening of the new exhibit, the renovation of this area,” said Henry Lewis-Meier, a museum visitor who was walking through the Contemporary Art wing. “I visit about eight times a year.”

“This is a critical infrastructure project that will enable the BMA to take better care of its priceless art collection—to protect it from even the risk of fire,” said Museum Director Doreen Bolger in regards to the sprinkler system.  “It is an element of the museum facility no one sees or notices, but it is really important if there is an unexpected issue.”