The Barnes Foundation will continue to use the foundation's Merion campus despite , Barnes Foundation Executive Director Derek Gillman said Wednesday.
The will reopen in late summer 2012, and the collection's old building will eventually house a permanent collection of 40 to 50 paintings Barnes kept in his residence, most recently used as the foundation's administrative building.
The foundation's horicultural school and library, the Barnes archives and object conservation will also be housed at the Merion campus. Eventually, the building may also feature occasional special collection exhibitions, according to Gillman.
The art collection's move to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway means that visitors to Latches Lane will be able to better appreciate an important horticultural collection, Gillman said.
Before in July 2011, visitors "would come and see the art, a few people would see the gardens, and then they’d go away—so there wasn’t much awareness of the fact that there was actually a rather important arboretum [at the foundation]," Gillman said. "It’s actually one of most important collections of trees in the mid-Atlantic region, so that becomes essential now."
The iron fence around the Merion property has recently been restored, the grounds' tea house (next to the pond) is now being restored, and the foundation is also talking about creating new paths to make the grounds more accessible, according to Gillman.
While there were talks in the past of shuttling visitors between the Merion and Philadelphia campuses, there are not currently plans to use any shuttlebuses, Gillman said.
"I’m sure that … if we found it was necessary or people really wanted it, we would do it," Gillman said. "But it’s not impossible to get there—people managed to get there in the past."
The Barnes arboretum will reopen in late summer 2012. The institutional archives and special collections, also located in Merion, will also reopen in late summer 2012 by appointment only. There is no date yet set for any special exhibits.
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