Rose Art Museum to receive major renovation

Brandeis facility to reopen by this fall

By Megan McKee
Globe Correspondent / March 24, 2011

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Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum is planning to undergo major renovations that college officials say will protect the museum’s acclaimed modern art collection for the long haul.

When the museum closes at the end of April, the shallow pond on the lower level will be removed, a new HVAC system will be installed, and new energy-efficient glass will replace the existing glass walls on the front of the museum.

The Rose plans to reopen in time for this fall’s 50th anniversary celebration of its founding.

“The new HVAC system is desperately needed to improve the environment and protect the artwork . . . and the pond is always a problem for maintaining the correct humidity,’’ Roy Dawes, the director of Museum Operations, said in a statement.

The renovations are being funded by university donors Sandra and Gerald S. Fineberg, according to Brandeis.

Besides the energy and temperature-control upgrades, the museum will get new ceilings, floors, and an LED lighting system; a vestibule area will be created; and the reception desk and entryway wall will be relocated.

“It’s absolutely terrific,’’ said Dawes. “The cleanliness of the lines will enhance the space and our ability to display artwork. The circulation of viewers through the space will be greatly improved, and new display opportunities will be created.’’

While the museum will be temporarily closed, the Lois Foster Wing will remain open and accessible by a makeshift entrance through mid-June.

Brandeis University officials drew criticism from professors, students, alumni, and the art world in January 2009, when former president Jehuda Reinharz announced plans to close the museum and sell its 6,000-piece collection to help ease a multimillion-dollar budget gap.

Months later, a university panel recommended the museum remain open.

Three Rose museum overseers brought a lawsuit against the university seeking to halt the sale of artwork. A hearing is planned for April.

Megan McKee can be reached at