BRUNSWICK, (AP) – The Bowdoin College Museum of Art closes on Thursday and the first evidence of the museum’s long-awaited $20 million renovation will be evident when it reopens after the holidays.

Later this week, staffers will begin wrapping and packing the museum’s major paintings and sculptures, many of which will be loaned to other institutions during the two years the museum will be closed.

“The last day that anybody could come into the museum and see it operating as people have been accustomed to seeing it operate is Thursday. After that, we will begin wrapping and packing,” said museum director Katy Kline.

The Walker Art Building will remain open with limited exhibitions through the spring, at which time the museum will close to the public. Under the current timetable, the museum will reopen sometime in 2007.

During that time, Kline and her staff will work from temporary offices in the Bowdoin chapel, which once housed the museum’s original art gallery.

When completed, the museum will have additional gallery space, as well as a climate-controlled environment that will better enable it to attract important exhibitions, curator Alison Ferris says.

It was a long haul.

The proposed work faced stern criticism this fall from preservationists, who objected to a part of the plan that would have altered the steps leading to Walker’s main entrance. The plan has since been revised to leave the stairs and entrance intact.

When completed, the museum will have additional gallery space, as well as a climate-controlled environment that will better enable it to attract important exhibitions, curator Alison Ferris says.

“We’re going to have more opportunities to show art from all over the country, if not from all over the world. To have the opportunity to think that way is going to be exciting,” Ferris said. “We can’t get important loans now because we don’t have the appropriate physical space.”



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