COLLEGEVILLE PA – To observe its 20th anniversary, the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Main Street, Collegeville PA, is giving the public a literally wide-open view of its permanent collection. It has constructed a new, visible storage wing on the campus grounds, complete with a distinctive glass facade and a rooftop sculpture terrace.

The Berman museum (background) and its new wing (foreground).

The idea behind the addition, according to museum Director Lisa Hanover, is to foster renewed interaction between art and the community, and allow immediate access to the Berman’s permanently held works.

The 4,200-square-foot wing caps a $4 million expansion and renovation project designed by the Philadelphia architectural firm Towers & Miller. The addition provides storage and lecture space, a works-on-paper study area, and new galleries including the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation Sculpture Terrace.

The addition is named the “Henry W. and June Pfeiffer Wing,” for long-time college trustee and museum supporter Henry ‘Hank’ Pfeiffer, Ursinus Class of 1948, and his late wife, June.

The collection’s visibility is enhanced by state-of-the-art open storage vitrines. Before the wing was built, more than 3,000 of the Berman’s paintings, drawings, sculpture and cultural artifacts had to be housed in basement storage.

“The new Pfeiffer Wing – an imaginative, welcoming space that is open, transparent, dynamic and light – echoes the philosophical foundation of the museum’s mission to capture and engage a diverse audience,” Hanover said. “The magnificent wing, inside and out, truly makes the (Berman) a national model for academic art museums,” she said.

The museum was dedicated in 1989, when business leaders and philanthropists the late Philip and Muriel Berman, found a home for their collections inside a historic stone building originally constructed on campus in 1921 as the Alumni Memorial Library.

The Berman pieces consisted of contemporary sculpture, American paintings, and works on paper and folk art. They were joined with an existing collection of 18th and 19th Century American and European paintings. Twenty years later, the museum houses more than 4,000 notable works of art, and attracts more than 35,000 visitors annually.

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