After A Two Year Renovation: Mattatuck Museum to Reopen

The Mattatuck Museum has announced its re-opening from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, February 28, following a $9 million renovation project. The museum opens with new exhibitions, an artist installation in the plaza, reinstallation of the permanent collection and a re-interpretation of the Orton P. Camp, Jr., History Exhibit.

WATERBURY — After nearly two years and $9 million, the Mattatuck Museum has announced its re-opening from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, February 28. The museum opens with new exhibitions, an artist installation in the plaza, reinstallation of the permanent collection and a re-interpretation of the Orton P. Camp, Jr., History Exhibit. The renovation project has brought to life a reimagined space that continues to be a welcoming, inclusive, stimulating and enriching community anchor.

The “new” Mattatuck Museum includes an extensive 14,000-square-foot renovation to the existing building and an addition of almost 7,000 square feet to expand educational programming, collections storage and exhibitions.

Ann Beha Architects of Boston developed the plan, which was executed under the management of Downes Construction Company of New Britain.

The project allows the museum to implement a vision that includes two new classrooms; a freight-sized elevator to accommodate large scale traveling exhibitions; 1,500 square feet of new gallery space, and a more welcoming and inviting public space.

In addition, beautiful new amenities including a new plaza and garden, open foyer, expanded Museum Shop, café and an outdoor roof terrace overlooking Waterbury’s historic green add to the visitor’s experience.

“The goal of this project was to literally open up the museum to our community and to welcome them into their museum,” said Mattatuck Museum Director Bob Burns, “Through the hard work of countless individuals, the revitalized museum will be a major social, cultural and educational draw to downtown Waterbury.”

This architectural blend of classically detailed event spaces and exhibition galleries combines with the clean lines of the modern addition that includes new educational studio and classroom spaces, visitor lounge and a café which will open later this year.

In keeping with the idea of blending the historic and the modern, the new museum plans to showcase a broad array of exhibitions and programs in the coming months, kicking off with the inaugural exhibitions opening on February 28.

Free as Air and Water is on view through April 11. Guest curator Tajh Rust presents works by five emerging artists, all Yale MFA graduates, that remind the viewer of the fluidity and buoyancy of these elements: Genesis Báez, Maria de Los Angeles Rodriguez Jimenez, Naomi Lisiki, Allison Minto and Anne Wu. 

While air and water are classic examples of simplicities often take for granted, access to both is still a difficulty for many people.

Unleashed: The Art of Robert C. Jackson is on view through April 18. 

Full of wit and character, Robert Jackson’s paintings celebrate contemporary life while consistently drawing from his rich knowledge and love for art history.

Collecting Presidential History: Signatures and Ephemera. This exhibit represents a significant gift to the Mattatuck Museum of presidential signatures collected by Francis T. “Fay” Vincent, Jr., augmented with ephemera from the collection of the museum.

Mr. Vincent, a Waterbury native and commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1989-1992, made this donation in honor of his parents.

The Future Starts Now: Recent Gifts to the Collection is on view through April 11. 

The museum’s collection collection continues to grow in prominence with gifts of fine and decorative art, historical objects and archives. 

The generous donors of these recent additions of works offered works that represent a diverse group of artists, Nazca textile fragments, 19th-century Tonalist paintings, political ephemera and texts for the library.

Cross Currents, a commissioned work by Connecticut artist Don Gummer, has been permanently installed in front of the new museum addition. 

Inspired by the beautiful and open green and the intersection of the many roads surrounding it, Mr. Gummer has created a new monument to the life of Downtown Waterbury.

While it is impossible to list everyone involved in this tremendous project, the museum has recognized the state Department of Economic and Community Development for its invaluable contribution to the project. 

The Mattatuck is grateful to the 310 individuals, corporations and foundations for their loyal support and investment in the future of the museum.

Board President Charles Monagan expressed his appreciation, “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support for the museum in this pivotal moment. The museum is poised to launch a new chapter in its long and storied history as a cornerstone of the Waterbury community.”

The exhibitions are accompanied by a full roster of programs for adults, families and children including studio workshops, lectures, artist talks and more.

In response to Covid-19 and social distancing protocols, these programs are offered both virtually and in-person.

Those seeking additional information may visit the museum’s website at mattmuseum.org or call 203-753-0381.

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