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Gallery renovations and reinstallations
Greek and Roman project
The Cloisters
Other gallery projects
Thomas J. Watson Library renovation and expansion
Collections management system
Improvement of public spaces
Great Hall
Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
The Museum's Web Site

(January 10, 2000)—In a major expansion of its capital campaign to encompass greater commitments to the areas of acquisitions, gallery renovations and reinstallations, and improvements in public spaces as well as library and auditorium facilities, The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today new plans to raise an additional $250 million for 21st-century rebuilding and investments, for an increased overall capital and endowment funding goal of $650 million. Announcement of the new campaign will be made tonight at a "Met Meets the New Millennium" dinner at the Museum.

The Fund for the Met campaign, which was launched in 1994, has already raised more than $400 million from hundreds of donors across the country as well as internationally.

The broadened campaign will fund such newly planned construction projects as the rehabilitation of the landmark Great Hall, reinstallation of major galleries, including those for Egyptian art and Italian sculpture and decorative art, a major renovation of The Cloisters, and the first renovation ever of the Museum's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, one of the city's most renowned concert halls.

In making the announcement, James R. Houghton, Chairman of the Museum's Board of Trustees, stated: "As we reach the year 2000, we see the realization of many of the physical and intellectual goals we initially set for our campaign. Most of our capital projects were funded and many completed, the spectacular new Greek Galleries opened to the public to high praise and visitorship, and vital activities received funding in the areas of curatorial and conservation work, special exhibitions, publications, education, and concerts and lectures. This new, broadened effort will allow us to reach toward goals that are higher still, that will allow us to maintain the Metropolitan at its high level of distinction in the new millennium."

The expanded capital campaign has already drawn significant support, including a grant from the City of New York for $30 million.

According to E. John Rosenwald, Jr., Vice Chairman of the Museum's Board of Trustees and Executive Chairman of The Fund for the Met: "Great institutions cannot stand still. They get better — or they get worse. The Met is an institution which will only get better. And that conviction has inspired our Fund for the Met campaign over the past six years, just as it will inspire us into the new millennium. When we launched our capital campaign in 1994, our goal was $300 million. Later, we identified important, additional needs, and increased that goal to $400 million, which we have met and surpassed, thanks to the generosity of our many supporters. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We have even more work to do. We face crucial challenges, and we are determined to preserve and enhance the Museum facility, endow acquisitions, and fund the programs required to guarantee our preeminence in our community, the city, and the world."

Expanding on the universality of the Museum and the need to enhance its collections and resources, Director Philippe de Montebello said: "The opening of the new Greek Galleries in April 1999, which represented the second phase of our expansive Greek and Roman project, is an example of what can happen when a superb collection is installed thoughtfully and carefully in a splendid setting, accompanied by an array of programs, activities, and publications in various media designed to enhance each visitor's experience. Only at the Metropolitan Museum could such a synergy occur — the convergence of an unparalleled collection, an immensely talented staff, more than five million visitors annually who expect the best, and supporters with the commitment and resources to help us achieve this vision of excellence.

"In every corner of the Museum," he continued, "one can find collections that are unequaled elsewhere, and it is our responsibility to guarantee that each and every one of these works of art is researched, conserved, and presented in a manner that fulfills our obligations to this and future generations. The Metropolitan Museum tells an unending story, one that must be revised, deepened, and reinterpreted by each generation."

The new programs that will be funded by the enhanced campaign include:
Acquisitions. The Metropolitan Museum has one of the finest and broadest collections of art in the world, numbering nearly three million works of art. Nevertheless, raising funds for acquisitions is one of the institution's highest priorities. These acquisitions will augment and advance the collections by filling gaps — in artists, regions, periods, and mediums represented — in the face of budgetary challenges and skyrocketing art-market prices.

Gallery renovations and reinstallations. A number of initiatives are planned over the next several years, including the next phase of the Greek and Roman project, which will convert the current Museum Restaurant to a Roman sculpture court, with a mezzanine gallery level for Etruscan art and the study collections, effectively adding 40,000 square feet of exhibition space for antiquities from the time of Alexander the Great in the late fourth century B.C. to the end of the Roman Empire. The restaurant will be replaced by a café along the Central Park side of The Charles Engelhard Court in The American Wing and by a new public cafeteria that will be located adjacent to The Costume Institute along Fifth Avenue.

Also scheduled is a comprehensive preservation plan for The Cloisters — the Metropolitan's branch for medieval art in northern Manhattan — to stabilize the building's physical structure, which suffers from water damage, and to upgrade facilities to better serve staff, the general public, and the art itself. Over five years, this plan will address the building's exterior, infrastructure systems, gallery improvements, and climate control, and will include projects for the reconstruction of the conservation laboratory, protection of the stained-glass windows, new roofing and a skylight for the Saint-Guilhem gallery, and relighting of both the interior and exterior of the building. Renovation of public facilities will also be carried out, including improved handicapped access and establishment of a warm-weather café.

Other gallery projects include: the complete reinstallation of the Medieval art collection; the updating and reinstallation of key areas of the Egyptian Galleries to improve the lighting and display of the collection and to make the depth of the Museum's holdings as accessible as possible; new galleries for Italian sculpture and decorative arts that will provide a coherent historical presentation of the Museum's collection from the 16th through 18th century; renovation of the Musical Instruments Galleries, which display works from a collection of more than 5,000 instruments, with a more interactive and educational approach to the history of music and performance; and renovation of The Costume Institute's study/storage to an environmentally controlled space with better storage that will provide enhanced access for designers, students, and scholars.

Thomas J. Watson Library Renovation and Expansion. The Watson Library is one of the largest and most comprehensive art libraries in the world, with a collection of more than 450,000 books, periodicals, and exhibition and sale catalogues, as well as the most comprehensive electronic resource center in the world for the study of the history of art. However, the present space of the library was designed in 1965 to provide shelving and storage for only 300,000 volumes. The renovation project will expand the library into a courtyard next to the library's reading room, providing adequate growth space for more than 20 years.

Collections management system. With the goal of creating a digital repository of the Metropolitan's entire collection, the Museum has already begun to use new scanning and digital technologies to store images and information in the Antonio Ratti Textile Center and many of the 17 curatorial departments. When complete, this project will provide state-of-the-art access to a wealth of information on the Museum's vast collections to all departments within the Museum and ultimately to the public.

Improvement of public spaces. The Metropolitan Museum has evolved since its founding in 1870 to comprise a facility of over two million square feet that welcomes more than five million visitors annually. This high volume — an average of 16,000 people per day, and often reaching as many as 30,000 — demands that special attention be paid to the Museum's public spaces. The new phase of The Fund for the Met includes plans to modernize and redesign the Museum's educational facilities, which constitute New York City's largest classroom, serving some 200,000 students and more than 3,000 teachers per year. Now inadequate for this volume, the current space will be reorganized to include reception and dining areas for students, eight classrooms, an auditorium and library, a "hands-on" activity space, video production and editing facilities, a CD-ROM and Internet working area, a screening room, storage areas, and offices for staff and volunteers.

In addition, the majestic Great Hall — last redesigned in 1968 to accommodate an annual visitorship of three million, three-fifths of the current attendance — will be rethought to improve traffic flow as well as visitor orientation. The Fifth Avenue façade and plaza will also be renovated, an effort that will include cleaning, relighting, and the redesign of the fountains to better harmonize with the building's historic façade.

The facilities and equipment of the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium will also be upgraded, with special care taken to retain this superb concert and lecture space's acoustical integrity. The area has not been renovated since 1954 and now is in need of new lighting and sound system equipment, replacement of the stage floor and auditorium seating, and general cleaning and repair.

The Museum's Web Site. Launched in 1995, the Metropolitan's Web site — www.metmuseum.org — has provided an important new forum for the Museum in terms of communicating information about its collections and programs. The site, which had approximately three million visitors in 1999, has now been significantly redesigned and expanded, with a new launch date set at January 25, 2000, offering expanded content as well as enhanced services for online members and greater capabilities for merchandising and e-commerce. In the next phase of the site's development, functionality will be increased to enable users to cross-navigate more effectively, and new features will be available, such as video capability, virtual reality, and ticketing for Museum concerts and lectures.

The Fund for the Met was launched on October 5, 1994, with a goal of $300 million and was expanded in November 1997 to a goal of $400 million, encompassing a broader Greek and Roman Master Plan as well as a number of capital projects, enhanced technological development, public access to the collections, and increased endowment. The current goal of $650 million represents the second expansion of The Fund for the Met.

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January 10, 2000

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