The Addison Gallery of American Art’s facilities, collections and improvements will be financially sustainable for years to come with the completion of its seven-year, $30 million fundraising campaign that acquired funds for renovations to the building and the museum’s endowment.
The fundraising campaign, which ended in December, reserved $22 million for the expansion and renovation of the Addison’s facilities, including the construction of the new Museum Learning Center on the first floor. $8 million was used to strengthen the Addison’s endowment, helping to maintain the various programs and exhibitions that the Addison has each year.
Early supporters of the campaign were Oscar Tang ’54 and Stephen Sherrill ’71, who, along with his wife, Kitty Sherrill, made a challenge donation of $1.5 million for the Addison to match. Sidney R. Knafel ’48, the Chairman of the Addison Board of Governors, and Michael Schmertzier ’70, the Chair of the Addison Development Committee, both made gifts in support of the campaign, in addition to reaching out to others for support.
“As the Chair of the Board of Governors, I think that I sort of took over the role as the Chair of the campaign effort. I made the plea for the Addison at the Board level. There was wonderful support and a growth of knowledge about the Addison and an interest in what it was doing. We ended up getting support from a number of the Trustees,” said Knafel.
Most of the donations came from Andover alumni. Other donations came from foundations and parents of students. People without an affiliation with the school also donated to support the Addison Gallery.
Using funds from the campaign, numerous renovations and updates were made from 2008 to 2011 to the Addison beginning in an effort to maximize space.
“When people walk into the Addison now, it doesn’t look that different from what it used to look like. A lot of the changes were sort of behind the scenes, but they were very important. We have a much better security system, better climate control, better lighting. All of the systems have been upgraded,” said Susannah Abbott, Director of Development at the Addison.
The library was expanded to hold all of the Addison’s collection of books, which was previously too large for the museum to store alone. Staff offices that once took up space in one of the galleries were moved, and a stairway that once connected the gallery to the Elson Art Center was taken out to restore the configuration of the gallery. With the increase of storage space following the renovations, the entirety of the Addison’s collection was able to be stored on site.
“I think the Addison has become a more welcoming place for students. I know that the Museum Learning Center is a very popular place to study. It makes us incredibly happy to see students using the space that way, and just knowing that, for a lot of them, it’s just a haven,” said Abbott.
Abbott said that, following the campaign, she has seen an increase in students and Andover residents visiting the gallery for the openings in the Fall, Winter and Spring Terms.
Knafel said, “I think that now, [Andover] feels that it has benefitted and understands how it has benefitted from the Addison, and the Addison and its staff and supporters recognize how it is been supported and benefitted by [Andover].”