New $67 Million Expansion and Renovation Doubles the Museum’s Size
Cutting-edge Design Features 267-Seat Theater, Video Screening Amphitheater, Screening Room, Education Center and Gallery Space Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall and Museum of the Moving Image Chair Herbert S. Schlosser and Director Rochelle Slovin opened the new Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. After a three-year renovation and expansion, the City-owned venue has nearly doubled in size to 97, 700-square-feet. The Museum of the Moving Image is the only museum in the United States dedicated to the exploration and interpretation of visual media, including film, television, and digital media. The program, which was held in the new 267-seat main theater at the Museum on 35th Avenue in Astoria, featured a virtual Mayor Bloomberg in a special digital video presentation, demonstrating the institution’s advanced new technologies. The Mayor was joined by Congressman Joseph Crowley, Council Member and Cultural Affairs Chair Jimmy Van Bramer, Council Members Leroy Comrie and Domenic M. Recchia, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver, principal architect Thomas Leeser of Leeser Architecture and actress Brooke Shields.
“New York has long been at the center of visual media development, so it’s fitting that the nation’s only institution dedicated to its exploration – the Museum of the Moving Image – continues to thrive and expand in the City, ” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “The museum’s state-of-the-art expansion in Astoria will allow it to provide new exhibition and screening space and the capacity to double the number of students that its education center serves. It is an example of the kind of substantial investments we continue to make in New York City’s cultural institutions, which benefit New Yorkers and, last year, helped us attract a record number of visitors.”
“The Museum of the Moving Image brings the best of visual media to Astoria, Queens and benefits all New Yorkers, ” said Speaker Quinn. “Thanks to the commitment from my colleagues in the Council, the Mayor’s office and the Department of Cultural Affairs as well as the hard work of museum staff and trustees, we are able to open the doors to this paramount cultural institution.
Supporting projects such as this are key to ensuring New York’s continued cultural growth and leadership. Thanks to partners such as the Museum of the Moving Image, New York City remains the cultural capital and the premier city for the arts.
”“Today is a great day for the Museum of the Moving Image, our borough and our great city, ” said Borough President Marshall. “This unique museum, now double its original size, is a success story that continues to have sequels. The museum contributes greatly to the history of motion pictures, the community and the economic growth of the City of New York. It has been my privilege to allocate more than $17 million to this museum. Thanks to Shelly and her hardworking staff, to Herb and the Board of Directors and all the agencies celebrating this grand event today.”
“Institutions like the Museum of The Moving Image help make New York City the Cultural Mecca of the world, ” said Council Member and Cultural Affairs Chairman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Queens is fortunate to have such an innovative and educational resource like the Museum of The Moving Image in our backyard and I am so pleased to see its long awaited expansion and renovation become a reality today at their grand re-opening.
“The Museum of the Moving Image has always been an incredible, innovative institution, and this beautiful renovation brings it to a whole new level of amazing, ” said Council Member Recchia. “While this is an exciting day for the dynamic cultural community in Queens, this is also a major victory for New York City. While the Museum of the Moving Image has always been an important part of the city’s creative economy, I believe people will travel from far and wide to experience these new exhibition spaces.”
“For the past nine years as Chair of the City Council Queens Delegation, I’ve worked closely with two Speakers, and my colleagues to secure funding for the Museum of the Moving Image, ” said Council Member Comrie. “This venerable arts institution has been central in ensuring that the history of television, film, and the digital arts has been preserved and protected for generations to come. It gives me great pride in seeing it reopened to serve our constituents and the youth of Queens. My sincerest congratulations to Founding Director Rochelle Slovin, Board Chairman Herbert Schlosser, and Architect Thomas Leeser on this dramatic, impressive, and much needed expansion.”
“The Museum of the Moving Image is an integral part of the history of Queens and I am pleased to join in celebrating the new addition to this world-class institution, ” said Congressman Crowley. “The Museum is a premier destination for the arts and culture in our community and like many Queens residents, I am excited to explore the new addition and take advantage of all that the Museum has to offer. Queens is proud to be the home of this treasured institution.”
“The renovation of the Museum of the Moving Image will make western Queens even more synonymous with film and television production, ” said State Senator Michael Gianaris.
“The Museum is an integral part of our neighborhood’s continuing growth and economic development and is a valuable asset for both western Queens and New York City as a whole.”
In addition to the 267-seat main theater with a wraparound surface made of 1, 136 blue, woven felt triangular panels, the new Museum features the 68-seat Celeste and Armand Bartos Screening Room; 1, 700-square-foot Video Screening Amphitheater; 4, 100-square-foot gallery for changing exhibitions and another smaller exhibition gallery; redesigned lobby and new café; 10, 370-square-foot landscaped courtyard garden (opening in the spring); and the new Ann R. and Andrew H. Tisch Education Center. The Museum’s exterior rear façade is comprised of 1, 067 triangular aluminum panels that replicate the interior surface pattern triangular panels in the main theater. The Museum expects to achieve LEED Silver certification through the incorporation of environmentally sustainable solutions throughout the building.
The Ann R. and Andrew H. Tisch Education Center allows the Museum to double the annual number of visiting students from 30, 000 to 60, 000. The Education Center features a dedicated student entryway (opening in the spring) and the William Fox Amphitheater for student orientation. The Center will provide opportunities for high-tech, hands-on instruction in two media labs, a seminar room and the Nam June Paik Room / HBO Production Lab.
“From the days of Edison to the Internet, no force has done more than the moving image to transform the world, socially, culturally and economically, ” said Moving Image Chairman Herbert S. Schlosser. “The one place where people can get an entertaining yet informed experience of this phenomenon as a whole is at our Museum. Now we have facilities that are as multifaceted and exciting as the stories that we tell.”
“The inauguration of this building, almost thirty years to the day after this institution was founded, brings to a close our early history while opening a major new chapter in the Museum’s life, ” said Moving Image Director Rochelle Slovin. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors—chief among them the City of New York – we are able as never before to illuminate screen culture in all its variety, as both art and industry, for New Yorkers of every age and for our visitors from around the globe.”
The Museum’s new home is the result of a public-private partnership among the Museum, the City and private funders. The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the City Council and Borough President Marshall provided nearly $55 million in funding for the project. Additional support was provided by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Endowment for the Humanities, and many foundations, corporations, and individuals. The Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York City Economic Development Corporation provided extensive technical assistance to the Museum as plans for the ambitious expansion developed.
“The renovation and expansion of Museum of the Moving Image marks a pivotal moment in the life of this institution, ” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Levin. “The dynamic redesign by Thomas Leeser incorporates important new spaces that expand the Museum’s capacity to serve visitors from across the five boroughs and around the world, and technological innovations that embrace the institution’s unique mission of exploring and interpreting visual media.”
“Museum of the Moving Image has always provided a unique experience for its visitors. Thanks to its expansion and renovation, the Museum will increasingly be able to focus on the impact that the on-going evolution in technology is having on the media industry, ” said NYCEDC President Pinsky. “These changes are not just important because they are reshaping an industry in which New York has traditionally been the world leader, but because more and more they are literally reshaping the way Americans live, work and play.”
“Museum of the Moving Image is a wonderful tribute to New York City’s rich cinematic history, dating back to the birth of filmmaking at the turn of the twentieth century, ” said Commissioner Katherine Oliver, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “The Museum has long been a key cultural partner with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment on various educational initiatives, such as the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts: The Moving Image, a resource for schools to teach a film, television, and animation curriculum. We congratulate the Museum on this re-opening, and we look forward to future collaborations.”
“Museum of the Moving Image must be a dynamic place, ” said Thomas Leeser, Principal of Leeser Architecture. “The distinction between what is contained and what does the containing can dissolve here, as the visitor encounters the moving image everywhere in a natural, casual way, integrated seamlessly into the spaces. One of our main goals was to allow visitors to experience their movement through the building as a kind of participation in the imaginary movement of images on the screen.”
The new Museum officially opens to the public on Saturday, January 15, 2011, with Celebrating the Moving Image, a six week series of special screenings and events. Program highlights include a full schedule of film screenings, special events in the main theater and the Celeste and Armand Bartos Screening Room, the inaugural exhibition Real Virtuality in the new gallery for changing exhibitions, video art in the Video Screening Amphitheater and on the panoramic, 50-foot-long projection wall in the lobby, and the reinstalled core exhibition, Behind the Screen, offering a comprehensive, interactive exploration of how films and television programs are produced, promoted and exhibited.
The Museum also offers activities for families and children. Matinee screenings every Saturday, Sunday and holidays are designed to introduce children to high-quality cinema. Family screenings will include films selected from Museum retrospectives, as well as films especially programmed for budding cinephiles and their parents. Workshops will offer children the opportunity to learn filmmaking techniques from accomplished artists.
Museum admission is $10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and college students with a valid ID, and $5 for children 5 to 18. Children under 5 and museum members are admitted for free. In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and to celebrate the Museum’s opening, admission will be free on Monday, January 17, 2011. Museum visitors will receive free admission every Friday, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Founded in 1981, Museum of the Moving Image is the only institution in the United States dedicated to advancing the public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. The Museum collects, preserves, and provides access to moving-image related artifacts; screens films and other moving-image works; presents exhibitions and interactive experiences; and offers educational and interpretive programs to students, teachers, and the general public. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Museum is housed on the site of the Astoria Studio in a building owned by the City of New York and receives annual operating support from the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Economic Development Corporation.