Art Institute Museum Updates!
This set of 4, floor-to-ceiling, stained glass windows have been off-view for the past five years. They were taken down when construction of the new Modern Wing began in 2005. During their hiatus, the windows were cleaned, inspected, and restored but remained in storage while the powers that be decided where to re-install them. After the Modern Wing opened in May 2009, there was speculation that they would be re-installed somewhere in that wing, near his other works. But the actual location – and a target date – remained a closely guarded secret (at least to us volunteers) until a few months ago. Finally, an opening date and location were announced to the staff. Just today, I got a glimpse of where these windows have been re-installed. They are on the Columbus Drive side of the museum, just south of Monroe Street.
Arms and Armor Collection
This was always one of my favorite collections at this museum. I was saddened when almost all of it was taken off public view three years ago, as part of the reconfiguration of existing gallery space. Then about 6 months ago, I heard that the collection would be re-installed in a new “Baronial Hall” in the section of the museum where the former Modern/Contemporary galleries used to live. I can hardly wait until next Monday! Word is: This Baronial Hall will not only contain the full and half suits of armor and the jousting poles I remember, but a fully-dressed/armored horse (stuffed, no doubt). I can hardly wait! The space will also include a selection of Renaissance and Baroque tapestries, paintings and sculptures of the period. Apparently, this permanent exhibit is only the tip of the iceberg. Plans are to add even more items to the exhibit, from the museum's vast collection of Renaissance art.
Holiday Thorne Rooms
The Thorne Rooms have always been my Number One, all time favorite of the Art Institute. They are a collection of 68 rooms, exquisitely constructed and decorated in the periods of European, Asian, and American interior design. As true miniatures, the scale of each room and its contents is one inch to one foot. I was overwhelmed to hear that 6 of these magnificent rooms would be decorated for holidays, for the first time in the Art Institute's 100+ year history. The selected rooms include: Victorian Period English Drawing Room, English Great Hall of the Tudor Period, Virginia Entrance Hall, French Provincial Bedroom, and a Modern Era California Hallway. I can hardly wait to see them!
As with all of Chicago's large and popular museums, admission is not free – unless you go on a Thursday evening from 5pm-8pm. Otherwise it's $18 per person, but there are discounted rates for seniors, students and children under 18. And if you sign up for a membership, it's even better. For more info, go to the museum's website at www.artic.edu