The Updated Freer

Yesterday I was lucky to get to go to a social media preview of the updated Freer space. The 18-month renovation concentrated on updating the infrastructure, but there were also many visible improvements, including a new color palette that ties each collection together. While I’ve been in the museum many times and read about Freer, one thing I found out yesterday was that Freer specified that the American collection be frozen in time, with no new acquisitions. So the Asian collection has grown greatly with purchases by the Freer, and the American collection remains a perfect time capsule. And even more than the paintings, I’ve always loved the many elaborate Stanford White frames.

Detail from John Singer Sargent “Breakfast in the Loggia”
Albert Pinkham Ryder’s “The Red Cow.” Freer purchased this work in 1908, but this will be the first time it is displayed at the Freer.

New vitrines have been created for the works. These new ones are taller than the old ones, intended to give a more open feel to the work.
Lights waiting to be installed.

For comparison, here are photos I took on the last weekend the Freer was open before it closed for the 18-month renovation:

At the time, I’d made sure to take a photo of the brass telephone booth in the basement, because I thought it would be eliminated in the renovation. I asked yesterday about it, and the answer is that the space is going to be turned into a recharging station.

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