At the Newark Museum’s Legacy Gala on May 12, 2018, Karen Nichols, FAIA accepted the John Cotton Dana Commemorative Medal Award on behalf of Michael Graves Architecture & Design. Citing the firm’s pivotal role in the Museum’s development for more than 50 years, Co-Director Ulysses Dietz remarked, “The Newark Museum would not be the institution it is today without the vision and guidance of MGA&D.” Nichols in turn described how this extraordinary collaboration between architect and client fulfills the legacy of Newark Museum founder, John Cotton Dana, who succeeded in creating America’s first modern museum.
“Our ongoing collaboration with MGA&D has not only helped establish the Museum as one of America’s leading institutions for art, science and education, but has also served as a model for urban redevelopment.” – Newark Museum
Photo Courtesy of Newark Museum
MGA&D’s longtime partnership with the Newark Museum began in 1967 when Michael Graves first met then Director Samuel C. Miller. Since that time, MGA&D has worked side-by-side with the Museum in creating dozens of design projects. The most transformative project, a master renovation plan conceived in 1982, was completed in phases over 20 years.
MGA&D led the recent effort to reopen the Washington Street entrance and revitalize key interior spaces, including the Welcome Center and several galleries, completed in early 2018. The Museum said, “Their team has created stunning spaces that enhance our exhibitions and invite visitors to explore and learn.” By making barrier-free access to the Museum possible for the first time, from the main entrance, this major renovation advanced the Museum’s commitment to be an inclusive, welcoming institution that is accessible to all. The project built upon the beauty and historic details of the Museum’s original architecture, preserving the past while ushering the Museum into the future.