Published: September 24, 2016
MYSTIC, CONN. — The opening celebration for the Thompson Exhibition Building the morning of Saturday, September 24, included a brief ceremony on the Cambridge Plaza in front of the entrance, after which the building is open for members and visitors to explore all day.
The newest addition to the museum grounds is the result of a decade of strategic and master planning.
“The opening of the Thompson Exhibition Building is the fulfillment of a vision to focus on the display of our collections in ways we have never been able to do before,” says Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport.
The Thompson Building is the cornerstone and final element of the McGraw Gallery Quadrangle, which integrates existing buildings and grounds with new construction and unifies the components of the north end of the Museum by focusing on their common role as formal exhibition galleries.
Named for the late Wade Thompson, a Mystic Seaport trustee for 27 years who believed passionately in the need for new, state-of-the-art exhibition space and its importance for the future of the museum, the 14,000-square-foot building will house the Collins Gallery, a 5,000-square-foot hall featuring soaring ceilings and a flexible layout to accommodate objects of varying size and installations of all types.
This will be the largest among the museum’s seven formal galleries and will provide the caliber of conditions required to curate not only exhibits from the Mystic Seaport collections, but also permit the borrowing of choice art and artifacts from other museums around the world. A riverfront meeting space, the Masin Room, graces the west side of the building and can be reconfigured for conferences or lectures, additional gallery space, or educational programs adding to its versatility. Other elements include a prominent museum entrance, a sweeping reception lobby, ticketing center, retail shop, and visitor amenities.
Visitors will be encouraged to walk through the building and take a stroll on the wraparound deck to enjoy the riverside setting and the overlook of the quadrangle’s lawn, or common.
“This is a milestone in the history of Mystic Seaport and we encourage everyone to join us in celebrating the dawn of a new era at the museum,” says White.
Mystic Seaport is at 75 Greenmanville Avenue. For more information, www.mysticseaport.org or 860-572-0711.
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