What Happened in Museums this Week?

What Happened in Museums This Week? May 25 – 31

‘Bubble’ Debate

Plans For Smithsonian Museum ‘Bubble’ May Have Burst

Call it the Smithsonian’s bubble problem. One of the Smithsonian museums — the Hirshhorn museum for contemporary art — came up with an ambitious new design to add more space: Why not build a giant, inflatable structure that would be big enough for people to walk around in?

But some of the Smithsonian’s trustees in Washington, D.C., haven’t been blown away by the bubble. To read more, click here.

DIA Art At Risk

Snyder Asserts City Assets, Including DIA Art, At Risk if Detroit Goes Bankrupt

Gov. Rick Snyder drew political fire Wednesday after he acknowledged his emergency manager in Detroit may not be able to protect the masterpieces of the Detroit Institute of Arts from liquidation in a city bankruptcy.

“The goal is not to sell the assets of the DIA in a wholesale fashion,” Snyder told The Detroit News before the opening of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference. “They’re an asset of the public in many respects, and it’s a great asset of the city.”

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has warned the museum that its world-famous art, owned by the city, could be put up for sale to satisfy creditors in the event of what would be the largest Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in American history. To read more, click here.

Director Donates to Planned Academy Museum

Brett Ratner, Replaced as Oscars Producer, Gives Academy $1 Million

Director Brett Ratner, who was replaced at the last minute as the 2012 Oscars producer following comments he made about his sex life and uttering a homophobic slur, has made a $1-million gift for the planned Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum.

The academy said Wednesday that its capital campaign, launched in 2012 to build a museum in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has secured more than half of its $300-million goal in commitments. To read more, click here.

Expansion Delayed

Peabody Essex Museum to Delay Expansion by Three Years

Eighteen months ago, the Peabody Essex Museum announced a stunner: The Salem institution would add a 175,000-square-foot expansion as part of the biggest fund-raising campaign ever by an art museum in the state.

Less than a year later, museum leaders were dealt an unexpected blow with the deteriorating health of architect Rick Mather. And now, only weeks after Mather’s death, Peabody Essex’s leaders acknowledge that the expansion, originally scheduled for completion in 2016, will probably not be finished until 2019. To read more, click here.

Looted Liebermann Officially Purchased

Israel Museum Settles With Heir on Nazi-Looted Liebermann

The Israel Museum bought back a landscape by Max Liebermann after returning it to the heir of Max Cassirer, a Jewish businessman from whom the painting was looted by the Nazis more than 70 years ago.

“Garden in Wannsee” is the most important Liebermann landscape in its collection, the Jerusalem-based museum said in a statement sent by e-mail today. A photograph discovered in 2012 showed the painting as it was displayed in Cassirer’s Berlin home before the theft. Cassirer fled Nazi Germany in 1939, first to Switzerland and then to Britain, the museum said. To read more, click here.

Mary Rose Museum Opens

Tudor Warship, Artifacts to Open as New UK Museum

The remains of a Tudor warship that sank more than 400 years ago will be displayed along with thousands of its artifacts for the first time at a new British museum.

Museum officials and historians say the 27 million-pound ($41 million) museum not only allows visitors to view the wreck of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, but also provides a snapshot of Tudor life onboard the vessel.

The Mary Rose Museum, located at the historic dockyards in the southern English city of Portsmouth – near the exact spot where the 16th-century vessel was built – opens to visitors Friday. To read more, click here.

Military Museum Founder Killed

Founder of Military Museum is Killed by Police in Connecticut

A Connecticut man who was shot and killed by the local police at the start of the Memorial Day weekend was identified Sunday by state authorities as a 75-year-old Army veteran and founder of a military museum in Danbury. To read more, click here.

Should Diary Be Returned?

69 Years After Marine’s Death, WW2 Museum Visitor Sees His Diary Note: Return Diary To Her

Before Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones was killed by a Japanese sniper in the Central Pacific in 1944, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved.

Davis did get to read the diary — but not until nearly 70 years later, when she saw it in a display case at the National World War II Museum.

“I didn’t have any idea there was a diary in there,” said the 90-year-old Mooresville, Ind., woman. She said it brought tears to her eyes. To read more, click here.

Stones Stolen

Nantgarw Chinaworks Museum’s 18th Century Paving Stones Stolen

Around 200 stones dating back to 1780 were lifted from Nantgarw Chinaworks Museum, Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT), sometime on Friday or Saturday.The museum is the only surviving 19th Century porcelain works in the UK and run by a group of trustees. To read more, click here.

WASPs Honored

NY Museum Paying Tribute to WASP Killed in WWII

They were known as WASPs and served their country during World War II, but it has taken decades for them to get the recognition for that service.

The civilian “Women Air Service Pilots” performed important military duties including ferrying combat aircraft from the factories where they were made to various air bases around the country. That work freed up male pilots to serve in battle overseas.

One of the WASPs was Scarsdale native Alice Lovejoy, who was killed on Sept. 13, 1944, in a midair collision over Texas. She will be honored Monday, Memorial Day, by the American Airpower Museum on Long Island as part of “Operation Celestial Flight,” a national program that seeks to pay tribute to all 38 WASPs who died during the war. To read more, click here.

What headlines caught your eye this week?

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