Foundation gives grant to New Britain museum toward planned expansion

An architect's rendering of the planned expansion at the New Britain Museum of American Art.
An architect’s rendering of the planned expansion at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

Community Foundation of Greater New Britain has approved a major grant of $250,000 to the New Britain Museum of American Art, one of the final pieces of the museum’s ongoing capital campaign for a 17,364-square-foot expansion scheduled to break ground this spring, a press release from the foundation has announced.

“The Community Foundation has been a partner with and supporter of the New Britain Museum of American Art for decades, and we are thrilled to play an important role in making this latest expansion a reality,” said Jim Williamson, president of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain in a press release. “There is no finer or more significant cultural or community asset in Greater New Britain than the Museum, and we fully support its long-range vision of continued community service, growth and relevance.”

The $10.2 million expansion is part of the Lexington Street Museum’s $21.2 million capital campaign that will not only fund the additional space, but will also allow for the purchase of contiguous property, construction of 80 additional parking spaces and endowment growth. Museum Director Douglas Hyland said in the foundation’s release that the campaign has gone well with $14.3 million in gifts and pledges in hand.

“The Community Foundation and the museum share the same vision of making our community a vibrant place in which to live, work and visit,” said Hyland in the release. “We are grateful as always for the foundation’s generous support.”

A groundbreaking scheduled for Monday, May 12 at 11 a.m. has been set, said Hyland, according to th erelease.

Since the Museum’s last expansion seven years ago with the opening of the ChaseFamilyBuilding and renovated Landers House, attendance has hit an all-time high – some 100,000 visitors per year – and membership has doubled, according to the foundation’s release. The expansion will increase museum capacity by:

  • Nearly tripling educational programming space to allow for multiple programs to take place at the same time;
  • Adding nearly 8,000 square feet of new gallery space to be used for exhibitions, tours and programming;
  • Increasing the size of its current Landers House ArtLab – a popular family destination – by 40 percent, allowing for larger art creation and library/reading spaces targeted to families, including those with toddlers and pre-K children.