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Colorado State University Breaks Ground on Design Museum Expansion, Renovation

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Colorado State University’s Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising broke ground Jan. 27 on a key remodel and addition that will enhance the facility’s educational and research capabilities.

Museum rendering by klipp architecture, a division of gkkworks, courtesy of CSU
The expansion will allow for more galleries, classroom and seminar space, a conservation laboratory and additional collection storage.
Photo courtesy of CSU
Groundbreaking for the expansion of Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, part of the universitys Dept. of Design and Merchandising, took place in Fort Collins on Jan. 27.
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The project, located at 216 E. Lake St. in Fort Collins, will remodel approximately 8,000 sq ft of space in the current museum and add 10,000 sq ft, allowing for two galleries, classroom and seminar space, a conservation laboratory and expanded collection storage and management areas. CSU officials says the transformation will advance hands-on teaching and research access to the Avenir Museum collection.

The architect is klipp architecture, a division of gkkworks, Denver, and the contractor is Bryan Construction Inc., Colorado Springs. The $5.75-million project is slated to open in 2015.

“We are thrilled about the growth and expansion of the Avenir Museum, made possible by generous donors, as well as the hiring of Doreen Beard as director,” said Jeff McCubbin, dean of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences. “That allows us to take great strides forward with regard to the academic programs, outreach, and research in the Dept. of Design and Merchandising.”
Beard, the new director of operations and engagement, will oversee the project. Avenir curator Susan J. Torntore served as co-chair for expansion’s the design and planning process.

Beard joined the Avenir Museum in January from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., where she served as assistant to the dean for the School of Arts and Communication. Beard has significant university administrative experience, as well as museum experience. As assistant to the dean, Beard helped form the first Collections Management Policy for Pacific Lutheran University’s permanent art collection. She also worked with the office of development on fundraising and grant writing for the School.

Previously, she served as the curator for the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma, Wash., responsible for the 5,000-plus artifacts in the permanent collection.

“Doreen brings a unique combination of skills and experience to this position, including all aspects of collections management, fundraising, planning, and museum and administrative operations, making her uniquely qualified to lead further expansion and growth of the Avenir Museum. We are excited to have her join us,” said Nancy Miller, head of the Dept. of Design and Merchandising.

The Avenir Museum has grown over the past decade, moving from a collection of textiles and clothing housed in the Gifford Building, to its current gallery space in the UCA, accompanied by improved storage and classroom space in the UCA complex. The museum has allowed design, history and textile students and scholars to have access to more than 18,000 catalogued clothing, textiles and interior-furnishing artifacts.

The Avenir Museum is one of the few university collections with an added emphasis on international objects, including a collection of 500 kimonos and more than 8,000 textiles and garments from cultures around the world. Western artifacts include 19th and 20th century garments, textiles, accessories and interior furnishings, elaborate fans and hats, beaded flapper dresses, shoes, handmade lace and famous designer apparel. The museum represents a series of collections representing ethnographic, geographic and socioeconomic diversity.

Among the jewels of the collection are designer dresses from the late Mr. Blackwell, Arnold Scaasi, Carolina Herrera, James Galanos and Calvin Klein. It is also home to the internationally renowned Hellmann lace collection, which includes rare examples of 17th and 18th century handmade lace.

The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising is a part of the university’s Dept. of Design and Merchandising in the College of Health and Human Sciences.

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