If you’re a regular visitor to the Holy City, you may have noticed that the Gibbes Museum has been closed for nearly two years for an extensive renovation. Now reopened, the 111-year-old museum houses a premier collection of more than 10,000 works telling the story of American art. In addition to an innovative new layout with free ground floor admission, the museum unveiled a new logo that features a fresh take on the Gibbes name and its landmark architectural feature-the century-old Tiffany-style rotunda dome.
On the ground floor, the development teams took inspiration from the original blueprints discovered in the City of Charleston archives in 2008 to return the building to its 1905 Beaux Arts style layout. The renovation of the first floor will features a creative education center that engages visitors through classrooms, artist studios, lecture and event spaces, a café and a museum store. The rear reception area now opens to the garden, part of Charleston’s historic Gateway Walk founded by the Garden Club of Charleston. The museum now features a new glass curtain wall connecting the interior and garden. Serving as a creative gathering place for the community, the entire ground floor of the museum will be admission free.
There is now a whopping 30 percent more gallery space on the second and third floors to showcase more than 600 works of art from the permanent collection. State-of-the-art storage facilities will feature a closely connected research room to provide ample space for scholars to more easily access and study works from the collection. Observation windows will offer visitors a behind-the-scenes view of the work of curators and conservators. The Gibbes’ renowned collection of more than 300 miniature portraits will be housed in innovative display cases and open storage cabinetry to allow an up-close view for visitors.
Plan for plenty of time when you visit this incredible museum. There are two special grand opening exhibits in place that you will not want to miss!
The Things We Carry:Contemporary Art in the South, will be open through October 9, and is organized in response to the horrific Emanuel AME Church shooting, addressing the difficult history of the South and how it manifests today.
Beyond Catfish Row: The Art of Porgy and Bess will present several interpretations of Porgy and Bess created by visual artists through the years, including works by George Biddle, the original illustrator of the Porgy and Bess libretto in 1935, and renowned contemporary artist Kara Walker, the illustrator of the 2013 version of the libretto.
For more information and help in planning your visit, call 843-722.2706 or visit www.gibbesmuseum.org. Located at 135 Meeting Street, the Gibbes is open Tuesdays from 10 am–5 pm, Wednesdays 10 am-8 pm, Thursdays-Saturdays 10 am-5 pm and Sundays 1-5 pm. Ground floor admission is free, and tickets to view exhibits on the second and third floors are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors or students and $6 for youth 4-17.