Update: Martin Museum of Art opens doors with Audubon exhibit, “Birds of America”

Martin Museum of Art Director Allison Chew offered tours of the new exhibit featuring the work of artist and ornithologist John James Audubon. Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

The Martin Museum of Art officially reopened its doors Saturday after several months of renovations. As its first exhibit of the season, The Martin Museum of Art is showcasing the work of artist and ornithologist John James Audubon.

Director of the museum Allison Chew has been involved with the museum’s renovations and has high hopes for the new facilities.

“Guests can see newer and improved quality of lighting,” Chew said. “They’ll see new walls … and a new secondary entrance for easier access for the public.”

The updates were motivated by the long term goal of becoming accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Chew said. Certain renovations and updates are necessary for the museum to earn that accreditation, including the recent renovations to the museum’s storage facilities.

This was the first round of several phases of renovations to occur within the next year. Future changes might include updates to the museum’s foyer and an expansion of the museum’s storage. The dates for the future renovations are not yet clear.

“Right now, it’s kind of an ambiguous date, but we are looking at next fall for all the phases to be completed, assuming that we don’t fall behind schedule,” Chew said.

The Audubon collection currently on exhibit is made up from more than just the Martin Museum of Art’s pieces.

“It’s a collaboration with the Martin Museum’s collection of Audobons “Birds of America,” as well as many other institutions we’re loaning works from to put together an exhibition of his most famous publication which is the “Birds of America,” Chew said.

According to Audubon.org, he was one of the first to attempt to study and paint all of the birds of America, and his commitment to his painting goals were unparalleled.

Greenville senior Austin McCroskie is studying graphic design and is looking forward to the opportunities the new space will provide for the students.

“As a graphic designer, it’s amazing to see how it’s been renovated,” McCroskie said. “My senior class will be the first one to use it for portfolio with exhibiting the BFA senior show. It’s a major improvement. The old one was carpet walls, so they did away with the carpet and it feels like a real gallery now.”

Located in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center, the Martin Museum of Art is free to the public. Museum hours include: Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.