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Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg has renovated its permanent collection galleries

The original 1965 galleries have been updated and will open to the public on Oct. 27.
The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg is lit up in red lights on Sept. 1, 2020, to call attention to the financial plight of the Live Event Industry, a nationwide event led by We Make Events North America.
The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg is lit up in red lights on Sept. 1, 2020, to call attention to the financial plight of the Live Event Industry, a nationwide event led by We Make Events North America. [ BOYZELL HOSEY | Times ]
Published Oct. 19, 2020
Updated Oct. 19, 2020

While the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg was closed to the public from March through September due to the pandemic, its original galleries that house the permanent collection were under renovation.

Those renovated galleries will open to the public on Oct. 27. MFA members get early access on Oct. 24-25.

Eighteen galleries totaling 12,000 square feet have been fully renovated with a new flow and the installation of artwork has been updated. The project coincides with the museum’s 55th anniversary.

In a news release, executive director Kristen Shepherd said that the space was last updated in 2013, “but did not include substantial changes to the layout or placement of artworks.”

Shepherd worked closely with curators to thoughtfully place the objects in the collection.

“We are tremendously excited for visitors to rediscover the Museum of Fine Arts,” Shepherd said in the release. “With major acquisitions in recent years, it was the right moment for us to showcase our important and evolving collection, which has been completely reinstalled to reimagine how we tell the story of art. It’s a thrilling moment in our history, and a step forward for the MFA, for the arts, and for the Tampa Bay region.”

The renovation was originally scheduled to begin in summer 2020, but when the museum temporarily closed in March, it was moved up to spring.

“The gallery spaces have all been completely transformed,” MFA board chairman Fred Razook said in the release. “Every change was so thoughtful, with a focus on both scholarship and visitor experience. It will transform how our guests explore the museum. It has been a thrill to be a part of this moment, as we continue to fulfill our responsibility to our collection and our community.”

The encyclopedic museum’s collection consists of 19,000 objects from ancient to contemporary art. With the new installation, 100 more works that weren’t out when the museum closed in March will now be on display.

Two exhibitions curated from the museum’s collection, “Explore the Vaults: Abstraction from the American Scene” and “Working Point: Contemporary Glass from the Permanent Collection," will be on display in the galleries.

The museum is also launching a new music series to be held in the galleries. Resonance is a collaboration that invites the Florida Orchestra to curate archival recorded music selections to be played in specific galleries throughout the day. It will eventually include spoken word and other auditory experiences to include poetry, classic prose and artists' writings.

If you go

The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg will open the renovated galleries to the public on Oct. 27. Tickets must be reserved online at mfastpete.org for timed entry in accordance with the museum’s COVID-19 safety measures. $20; $15 seniors/active military/Florida educators/ college students; $10 children ages 7-17; free for children 6 and younger and members. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday; noon-8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays. 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 896-2667.