Museum to Remodel Basement and Print Study Center

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University will undergo a major renovation of its basement and Print Study Center this summer.

Contractors will be on site beginning this month to transform the basement and several areas on the second floor into state-of-the-art support spaces for collections and exhibitions. The $850,000 renovation is possible thanks to a major gift from benefactor Maribeth Collins. Work is scheduled to be completed by the end of September.

"When we opened our doors in October 1998, we had raised enough money to complete the first two floors of our building but not enough to finish the basement," museum Director John Olbrantz said. "The basement was turned into a functional, if not particularly efficient, support space. We always knew that it was a good space, but it took a generous benefactor like Maribeth Collins to step forward to bring it up to the same standard as the rest of our facility."

The new basement will feature a large collection vault with high-density mobile storage units for the permanent collection, temporary storage space for special exhibitions, offices for the collection curator and designer/preparator, and several work and support spaces. The Print Study Center will include a new conference table and print cabinet and an adjacent storage space to hold the museum's collection of works on paper, increasing its capacity from 2,500 prints, drawings and photographs to about 15,000.

Prominent San Francisco architect C. David Robinson came up with the initial layout of the basement and developed the design documents for the project. At the local level, Arbuckle Costic Architects, Inc., of Salem developed the construction documents and will oversee the renovation this summer and fall, while LCG Pence Construction of Salem will be the general contractor.

The museum originally was scheduled to close for September to install a new and larger elevator, but the cost proved prohibitive. As a result, the museum will remain open and both summer exhibitions will stay on display until the end of September.

When 6 WAS 9: Rock Posters from San Francisco, 1966-71 features 56 posters and related ephemera from the collection of Gary Westfjord of Salem. The exhibition continues through Sept. 16 in the Study Gallery and Print Study Center and coincides with the 40th anniversary of the "Summer of Love," when thousands of young people flocked to San Francisco for free love, drugs and rock 'n' roll.

Ken Butler: Hybrid Visions features 56 of the mixed-media artist's inventive and humorous "hybrid" musical instruments, including film-reel guitars, cowboy-boot violins, axe cellos and Styrofoam-packaging pianos. Organized in collaboration with the Art Gym at Marylhurst University, the exhibition continues through Sept. 30 in the Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State St. (corner of State and Cottage streets) in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Monday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children younger than 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is a free admission day. For more information, call (503) 370-6855.