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Renovations Planned For Hyde Collection

Lucas Willard

The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls is about to undergo a new round of renovations.  The museum, which is experiencing a renewed interest on the heels of some recent major exhibits, is focused on improving the “visitor experience.”

The Hyde Collection is unique among art museums. Anchored by the preserved home of Charlotte Hyde, the museum is known for an extensive variety of works. The daughter of paper mill co-founder Samuel Pruyn, Hyde’s home was built on the bluff that today overlooks the Finch Paper mill.

Hyde’s collection includes works by the masters. In the library of the home, you’ll find a Rembrandt. In the master bedroom, a Picasso.

Standing in the covered courtyard, the museum’s Bill Belcher explained that that Hyde lived among her art.

“She chose to create this museum for the betterment of people of Glens Falls and vicinity and bring this collection to them. She would have classes here in the courtyard, she would have chamber music in the courtyard, it was very much a hub. And that’s something we’re going for right now. The Hyde should once again be a hub for the community, especially in the arts.”

The renovations are part of the final phase of what the museum is calling The Marquee Project, a campaign that began in 2010.

A major component was building the connector between the Hyde Home and the museum’s education building. Landscaping, new sidewalks, exterior lighting, and a new sprinkler system were completed in 2013.

Belcher says the renovations, prioritized by museum director Erin Coe, will continue to focus on the visitor experience.

“So what you’re standing in right here is the Whitney-Renz Gallery. And we’ve been using it as a museum shop for many years, but we are  going to convert it back into its original purpose as a gallery,” said Belcher.

Along with the new gallery space: a new lobby.

“This whole area over here will be renovated. It will include built-in display cases and bookshelves for the museum shop. But it will also include a new check-in process, a new admission process, updated security and technology…”

Plus new rugs, refinished floors, and a new coat of paint. There will be new gallery lighting and, to the relief of many modern-day visitors, wifi. Work will also begin on an E-Museum, to bring works to the public online.

The museum boasts an impressive permanent collection of more than 4,000 items. But it’s also focusing on bringing in new temporary exhibits. Currently on display are works by Norman Rockwell, on loan from the Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. But it was a 2013 showcase of works by painter Georgia O’Keeffe that sparked a renewed interest in the Hyde.

Belcher says some have considered the O’Keeffe exhibit, which showed the artist’s work inspired by nearby Lake George, as a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

“But not that’s not how we see it. That is the model. That is what we can do and can achieve when we put all those all those resources together.”

The renovations will begin later this month and are expected to continue into mid-May.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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