MU administrators announced last May that as part of a $22 million building renovation project, both the Museum of Art and Archeology and the Museum of Anthropology would temporarily move locations. Currently the museums reside on MU’s campus, but next spring they will be moved to the old Ellis Fischel building located near Business Loop 70. Since the announcement was made there have been some tensions regarding whether or not it will all be a good move for the two museums.
Chris Stevens is the manager of the office of the office of cultural affairs for the City of Columbia, and he says he sees both the pros and cons of moving the museums. “Moving it over to Ellis Fischel will give some of the Columbia community better access to it and yes there will be much better parking," he said, but added, "I’m not so sure about the idea of moving it off campus.”
Stevens says that he is afraid moving the museums off campus will prohibit the amount of student access to the learning resources inside the museums. Ann Mehr is an art teacher at Lee’s elementary School, and takes her students on many trips to the museums at MU. When the museums move, she says, it won’t be as easy as taking a walk down the street to expose her students to the art they enjoy now: “Removing the museum from the context of campus would be like taking the heart out of a body and throwing it far away. The vitality of the museum is within the campus.”
Museum of Art and Archeology Director Alex Barker said had no comment on the impact the museum move will have because he has not received enough information. There have not been any plans yet to move the museums back after the buildings have been rebuilt and restored.