Under a deal with the city the AGW turned over the first floor to the Chimczuk Museum.
Meanwhile the original community museum, the Francois Baby House, half a block away on Pitt St., will continue to operate.
The Chimczuk Museum and the redesigned Baby House, “share Windsor's stories in a new and exciting way” and together with the new museum, will “tell a more detailed story” of Windsor’s history, the city’s cultural affairs manager Cathy Masterson says.
The new museum officially opens Feb. 18.
The new museum will have more than 11,000 sq. ft. of permanent, travelling and temporary exhibits, and state-of-the-art children's gallery “with countless and ever-changing opportunities for hands-on exploration for our young and our young at heart,” Masterson said.
A peak inside the glass of the still closed museum shows various exhibit themes, such as the river, recreation, and automobile industry.
A glass display case shows recreational activities, like boating and skating, along the river.
There’s a large Chrysler sign, and overhead there are black cutout like mobiles hanging from the ceiling.
There’s also a kind of follow-the-yellow-brick road, only its’s a blue river strip denoting the Detroit River.
Meanwhile the AGW has moved to the second and third floors, complete with a new elevator the former one was notorious for breaking down) and reimagined exhibit space in small part to make up for the lost first floor exhibit area.
The loss of the first floor us not a big issue for the AGW since only one room had exhibits, the rest was for meetings, a hallway and coat check.
So the reconfigured AGW has 55,000 sq. ft. on the second and third floors.
The third floor shows art form the AGW’s own collection of 3700 pieces, also stored on site, as are offices on a mezzanine.
It includes the new “salon wall” with 49 paintings hung in a large cluster like 19th Century European salons, which Martin says a has been a huge hit.
The second floor is turned over to special exhibits which rotate quarterly.
To help maximize the space the city bought the museum pivoting walls, closing in the centre archway.
“These come out, they do a 180-degree pivot so we can create different shaped galleries and we can open it up wide as you see here or create three smaller spaces,” she said.
The cost was born by the city, which owns the building; the AGW is tenant.
An electronic display, also a new feature (picture above left with Mastin), and Mastin is working on a guidebook.
The AGW has also applied for grants to provide audio guides for visitors.
There is now also a $5 charge to enter the museum.
“This is our operational model, a small charge and you have admission to see great art,” she said.
In the future Mastin foresees “partnerships” with the Chimczuk Museum, “because we share an interesting cultural history.”