On January 3, 1936, the ground was broken for the Museum of Fine Arts building in City Park. The facility would face Ninth Street and be to the west of the Arsenal Tower Building. That building was the one remaining structure of more than 30 which had populated the grounds when it was a federal military establishment.
Excavation for the building uncovered the foundation for another structure. New footings for the Museum would be poured into the old footings.
The cornerstone would be laid in October 1936, and the building would open in October 1937. The building would serve as the museum’s home until the new construction for the new Arkansas Arts Center began in 1961. That construction would enclose the original Museum of Fine Arts. By that time, the City had long renamed the park in honor of General Douglas MacArthur, who was born there when it had been a military installation.
Subsequent additions to the Arkansas Arts Center over the decades have further expanded the museum’s footprint. After the 2000 expansion, the original 1937 facade was featured prominently in a gallery, giving it more visibility than since 1963. With the Arkansas Arts Center undergoing a reimagining, the original 1937 facade will be maintained and re-exposed as an entrance to the building.
But it all began on January 3, 1936.
Scott, the facade of the 1937 building was exposed when the Rockefeller Gallery was constructed about 1982.The addition in 2000 added the atrium, the Jeanette Rockefeller, Townsend Wolfe, and Signac Galleries along with renovation to the offices, library, etc. I certainly enjoy getting your “Culture Vulture” e-mails. Curtis Finch