With $316 million in the bank, Museum of Fine Arts director Malcolm Rogers presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of the $500 millon expansion to Boston's landmark institution. U.S. Congressman Mike Capuano, state Senator Diane Wilkerson and Boston City Councilor Michael Ross were on hand to toss some dirt, while Senator Edward Kennedy was piped in via satellite to address the gathered crowd. Wearing hardhats and business suits, they dug the first ceremonial holes in the ground where the expansion will be built.
The Boston Metro quoted Rogers as saying: "We stand on the verge of a momentous transformation that will strengthen the museum's already impressive contributions to the local, national and international cultural community."
When completed, the expansion project will significantly alter it's Huntington Avenue surroundings. In addition to the new galleries, plans also call for a new parking garage on the site of the current open-air parking lot, the closure of Museum Road (between the Museum and The Museum School), and the re-opening of their long-closed Fenway entrance. Artists renderings of the new building show a glass and steel museum, much different from the white stone facade currently recognized the world over. It is clear that the Museum means not only to expand it's collections and exhibition spaces, but to enact a major overhaul to the perception of what a major museum, particularly in Boston, can be.
There is much work ahead, as the Museum is still raising funds for the project. While no estimates are yet available for a possible completion date, all of Boston will be looking to Huntington Ave and Rogers' epic undertaking.