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Springfield Art Museum unveils “world-class” development plans

Springfield Art Museum

The Springfield Art Museum, MO, has unveiled plans that will see it become a “world-class” art museum with a multi-story structure and floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Springfield Art Museum Director Nick Nelson presented the plans to City Council on Tuesday.

The master plan will create a new Family Learning Center and new educational spaces. The development will expand the facility and improve circulation, parking and greenspace.

A walking and biking trail will also be introduced. It will connect the museum to nearby attractions: Phelps Grove Park, the Water Wise garden and Fassnight Park.

A parking lot will be removed and replaced with a green lawn and a trail.

New parking spaces will be constructed along Bennett Street, west of the building.

Architecture firm BNIM has worked with the museum to develop the master plan for the building.

The total cost of the development will be approximately $20 million, and it will be completed in three phases depending on funding.

Nick Nelson said that the glass walls will promote the idea that “what goes on in the museum is just as exciting as something that happens outside the museum.”

“As visitors walk past, they can see what’s going on in the museum.”

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He added that the museum has seen “incredible growth” in visitor numbers. Last year saw over 60,500 visitors, up more than 70% from 2012.

Nelson said: “We want to find something that is not only 21st century, but almost 22nd century.”

The construction timeline is dependent on funding. The development of the master plan was funded thanks to a $250,000 donation from an anonymous donor.

Mayor Ken McClure said: “Springfield has many best kept secrets, and the art museum is one of them,” adding that development will aid the council’s goal of making the city attractive to businesses.

Councilman Tom Prater said: “If we’re going to do something, let’s think big and be transformational.”

Last year, the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium opened in Springfield. It is home to an all-new 1.5-million-gallon aquarium adventure housing 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds.

Image courtesy Springfield Art Museum

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Michael Mander

Michael Mander

I am a journalist from Essex, England. I enjoy travelling, and love exploring attractions around the world. I graduated from Lancaster University in 2018. Twitter @michael_mander.

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