The Haggin Museum’s art galleries reopened to the public on Saturday, Sept. 14.
The galleries closed on a rolling schedule from fall 2016 to spring 2017, for what CEO and Curator of History Tod Ruhstaller said was a “reimagining, reinterpretation and redesign.”
The $2.5 million project was developed in conjunction with Gallagher & Associates, an internationally-recognized museum planning and design firm.
“We were looking at what type of transformations we could make at the museum to make our collections more accessible, more attractive to a greater audience,” said Ruhstaller.
The Gallagher & Associates plan resulted in “the most ambitious project we’ve ever undertaken,” he said.
Galleries have been repurposed, paintings have been regrouped and “tombstone labels” have been replaced with descriptive signage.
New wall and floor treatments as well as LED lighting have been installed to integrate the spaces.
Technology has also been added. Interactive digital kiosks have been placed in three galleries.
“Just by standing in front of the screen, you could conduct your own curated visit,” said Ruhstaller.
The Haggin houses a collection of late 19th century and 18th century American and European fine art.
Highlights of the collection include works by Albert Bierstadt, William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
One of Bierstadt’s works “Looking up the Yosemite Valley” was selected to hang in the White House’s during Ronald Reagan’s first term as president.
Another of the Haggin’s important holdings is commercial art work by the influential 20th century illustrator J.C. Leyendecker.
Leyendecker is known for his Saturday Evening Post magazine covers and the “Kellogg’s Kids” illustrations he did to promote Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.
The Haggin currently has had an estimated attendance of 45,000 visitors annually.
“We fully believe those numbers will go up once word gets out,” said Ruhstaller in reference to the museum’s new art galleries
The Haggin Museum is located in Stockton at 1201 N. Pershing Ave.
Information on hours and admission fees can be found at hagginmuseum.org.