Monday marked the end of an era as the Museum of Art and Archaeology closed its Pickard Hall doors after being a mainstay on the Francis Quadrangle for nearly four decades.
Founded in 1957 as the Study Collections for Art History and Archeology, it was renamed the Museum of Art and Archaeology in 1961. In 1976, the museum moved to Pickard Hall, where it resided until Monday, when the museum closed to move to Mizzou North.
The museum’s collection, along with the Department of Art History and Archaeology, will be moved to Mizzou North, the former Ellis Fischel Cancer Center building.
The closure comes as a result of radiation in the building, which had served as a chemistry lab in the early 20th century.
According to a news release from the MU News Bureau, the entire building will be emptied of the more than 15,000 catalogued objects in the museum’s inventory by Dec. 31.
“It's a disadvantage not having the museum on campus, but the university has no choice regarding Pickard Hall," said Benton Kidd, the museum’s associate curator of ancient art.
The museum, which is free and open to the public, has been an integral part in the education of MU students, particularly those in the honors humanities sequence, said associate professor David Schenker.
Schenker, who teaches the sequence's ancient world class, said the decision "affects (my) ability to conduct classes the way I want to.”
He said he usually takes classes to visit the museum once a semester, but now that won’t be possible.
While the decision to move the museum was inevitable given the building’s condition, some faculty members disagree with the way in which the decision was made.
Professor Rachel Harper, director of the Writing Center and coordinator of the honors humanities sequence, said she, and other faculty, feel like the situation was handled poorly.
“The faculty (feels as though) the decision was badly handled,” she said. “There were lots of different ways (the decision) could have been handled."
Professor Nicole Monnier, director of undergraduate studies in Russian, said the situation is "terribly upsetting," and the issue is not just the decision itself, but how it was made.
She said the decision did not involve faculty input.
"Why were we left out?” Monnier said. “The faculty (needs to) have a voice. We were bypassed."
Because of Mizzou North’s remote location on Business Loop 70, many question how the move will affect visitors’ access to the museum.
"(The move) is a death sentence for the museum,” Harper said.
Schenker noted that the museum is valuable to the university, as it is a location on campus that brings in visitors and the move will end that.
"It's a real loss to the university as an outreach to the public,” he said.
MU faculty and students are not the only ones lamenting the museum’s move. Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School parents have also voiced concerns about the location change, Monnier said.
She said the parents care about how the decision will affect the school’s curriculum as well as the community as a whole, since the museum is no longer in a convenient place for visitors and fieldtrips.
Michael O’Brien, College of Arts and Science dean, said he realizes there may be some inconveniences by moving the museums, but he plans on doing as much as he can to make faculty lives easier.
“There certainly will be disruption in the operation of the two museums as they move to Mizzou North, but everyone's goal —certainly mine and Alex Barker's — is to minimize it,” he said. “I certainly plan to work with faculty to accommodate their needs for the collections for instructional purposes.”
The $1.5 million move and preparation present the university with an opportunity to renovate the building for future use and “with an eye toward returning the museum to central campus in the future,” Harper said.
Museum Director Alex Barker, who did not respond to interview requests from The Maneater, wrote about the move in the museum’s fall 2013 edition of Museum Magazine.
“Leaving Pickard is bittersweet,” he wrote. “Our new home will have a different character, and doubtless we’ll need some time to discover how to harness it to our needs. But we will, and I’ll see you there.”
This article previously misspelled the name as the Museum of Art and Archeology. The correct name is the Museum of Art and Archaeology. The Maneater regrets the error.