Huntington Library to close main hall for over a year to prep new installation

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The Pasadena-based Huntington Library announced plans Wednesday to close the main exhibition hall from June 5 all the way until fall 2013 while a new installation is put in place, though the main hall's current displays will be displayed in other galleries.

The main exhibition hall at the Huntington Library will close June 5 through the fall of 2013 while a new installation featuring about 100 rare items from the collection is put in place, it was announced today.

The $2.5 million project will feature about 100 new and rare items, but will also include renovation of the heating, air conditioning and electrical systems, according to museum officials. The exhibition as currently installed was created in 1977 and has been only slightly updated since.

"We're seizing a historic opportunity with an ambitious plan," said David Zeidberg, the Library's director. "We intend to highlight a selection of works from our collection of some 9 million items, each with countless stories to tell, in a concise display that won't overwhelm, but rather delight and profoundly inspire people again and again."

"We're fortunate to be faced with such an exciting challenge — one that occurs maybe only once in a generation," he added.

While construction is continuing, certain important pieces in the library's collection — including the Gutenberg Bible — will be moved to the Huntington Art Gallery so that they can remain on view uninterrupted.

Other items, including a manuscript of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," a rare edition of John James Audubon's "Birds of America" and early editions of William Shakespeare's works, will come back on view late this summer in a portion of the Erburu wing of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art that previously had been used for storage.

The temporary installation will ensure that school programs, which serve about 3,600 children each year, can continue without interruption during the 2012-13 academic year, library officials said.

This story has been updated.

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