Bob Jones University plans to move its Museum & Gallery off campus.
The museum, which is widely recognized as one of the finest collections of religious art in the Southeast and perhaps the nation, has been closed since February 2017 after the university determined the exterior and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system of the building that houses it needed significant work.
Since the closure was announced, the community urged M&G to consider relocating the museum to provide broader access, said Randy Page, BJU chief of staff. The M&G voted to begin a $20 million capital campaign for the new museum. At its May meeting, BJU trustees voted to authorize the quiet phase of a capital campaign to repurpose the campus M&G building and the school’s Mack Library.
The current M&G building, which was constructed in 1947 as the school’s dining commons, and the school’s Mack Library will be repurposed, Page said. The M&G building was refurbished in 1965 for use as a museum for expanding the Old Master collection. Last year, it was determined the building required work to provide better care of the collection of centuries-old paintings, furniture, art, and antiquities. Water had penetrated its walls and damaged some of the interior walls. None of the paintings were damaged.
It is not yet known where the museum will locate off campus or when an off-campus facility would open, Page said.
Since the museum’s closure, some of its paintings have been loaned out to museums, corporation headquarters, and private homes of art enthusiasts. Selected portions of the collection are on display in campus locations for public view and tours, and an exhibition sampling some of the Old Masters will open at the Greenville County Museum of Art in mid-June.
M&G has one of the largest collections of European Old Master paintings in America. While it is internationally known for Baroque art, the collection includes furniture, antiquities, Russian icons, textiles, and objects of art. The collection represents 45 centuries.