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Eskenazi Museum’s $30 million renovation focuses on guest experience



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Director of Creative Services Mariah Keller leads a tour Nov. 4 during a press event at the Eskenazi Museum of Art. The museum will be reopen Nov. 7. Izzy Myszak Buy Photos

You may have taken a photo of your legs pressed against the wall of the Eskenazi Museum of Art building that reflects the colors of the light totem at night. From 4-8 p.m. this Thursday, you will finally be able to go inside.

For three years, the Eskenazi Museum of Art has undergone a $30 million renovation led by Susan T. Rodriguez of IU’s Capital Projects office, overseen by Ennead Architects.

These renovations transformed several spaces inside the museum. For instance, what used to be an enclosed gift shop is now officially the Luzetta and Del Newkirk Café and Gift Shop that is easily accessible with a new entrance facing the arboretum.

This cafe will offer coffee, breakfast, lunch and pastries, with plenty of seating options. 

IU spokesperson Chuck Carney commented on the significance of establishing a gathering space for students within the museum.

“Indiana University is a place that should ideally offer everything that it has in all of its schools to every one of its students,” Carney said. “That’s what this museum does.”

Another addition is the art-making studio, which used to be a library. Here, students and community members alike can participate in art therapy led by Lauren Daugherty, arts -based wellness experiences manager.

Daugherty said in art therapy, participants use the creative process to reflect on personal and shared experiences, expressing them through art.

“We’re taking objects that other people have made and poured their souls into and finding how those are relevant to lives now,” Daugherty said. “It makes you spend more time with a work of art.”

Other renovation highlights include the construction of the Nancy and Bill Hunt sky bridge overlooking the atrium, as well as a conservation department with a painting conservator. Visitors will be able to see the conservation process through glass windows.

From the outside of the building looking in, paintings will be visible during certain times of the day thanks to the installation of blinds in the exhibitions, instead of tinted windows.

The building was built in 1982 and was designed by I. M. Pei, one of the architects of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The museum, which houses over 45,000 objects, is among the best in the country, comparable to the Harvard Art Museums.

Carney commented on the effect the museum will have on the student body.

“The university is a place, through this museum, that can help students find inspiration of thought from somebody that may have lived 300, 400 years ago,” Carney said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misidentified the year the museum was built. The IDS regrets this error.

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