New exterior of C.N. Gorman Museum

The new entry pavilion’s screen design was created by Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie.

C.N. Gorman Museum Expected to Open in Fall

by | Mar 20, 2023 | Culture, On Campus

The construction and renovation project for the C.N. Gorman Museum of Native American Art is in its final stages.

With demolition starting in April 2021, the construction project will be just under two years. For many supporters, the project began 10 years ago with the museum’s 40th-anniversary celebrations and the campus commitment to find a new home. The museum, which is dedicated to the creative expressions of Native American artists and artists of diverse cultures and histories, was previously housed in Hart Hall and soon takes the space of the old Nelson Hall/University Club.

After extensive demolition, construction shifted to rebuilding everything anew with up-to-date equipment, environmental controls, safety, accessibility and modern technologies. Following facility studies and museum guidelines, it was important to design multiple spaces that address museum exhibitions, programming, and collections stewardship, museum officials said in a recent update article.

In the later stages of the project, the building began to transform into a museum with the installation of specialized equipment and finishes. The galleries were finished with lighting, a/v, accessibility systems and installation of custom display cases. 

The lobby and shop in progress

Visible collections storage includes a custom lateral art rack system for compact storage of large framed works, as well as additional wall-mount racks and a renewal of existing vertical storage. With a full glass wall from the galleries, visitors have visibility into this area and ongoing collections work.

The Collections workrooms include an isolated textile room, with custom equipment for archival rolled storage of tapestries and rugs, alongside custom furniture to support collections work and care. 

In the front entry areas, the reception, shop, library, and offices all began to take shape as furniture and cabinetry arrived.

Much of the construction has moved to the exterior of the building with signage on Old Davis Road and Arboretum Drive bike path. The entry pavilion, a signifier for the museum entrance, is well underway with the structure complete and recently painted. The screen panels that cover the structure have been designed by Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, museum director and acclaimed artist. 

See the museum website to view more construction photos and a short video that includes a walk-through just days before demolition began.