Like a lot of first time visitors, he couldn't see the entrance to the art museum and didn't know where to check in for a tour of
Many guests toured the house or museum without being aware of the
Those uncertainties should not be a problem for future visitors.
This weekend, the Frick is celebrating the opening of its new orientation center, the first phase of a three-part,
"The first challenge was creating an orientation center that was front and center so you could arrive and not need a road map," says Traficonte, a principal at
Now, when visitors pull into the parking lot alongside the art museum, the orientation center will be hard to miss. Easily seen from the parking lot, the glass-walled, 3,000-square foot space immediately draws both eyes and interest.
Constructed with low-iron, high-transparency glass and
A 30-foot-long skylight in the ceiling provides natural lighting and the herringboned pattern in the tile floor is a nod to the intricate parquet patterns of the floors in
But the center's primary function is as a one-stop resource center for visitors to any of the Frick's facilities.
Visitors can purchase or pick up tickets for tours of
The 1,500-square-foot museum shop will nearly double the space and selection of available merchandise that was offered in the former shop in the
Belle & Wissell, a
Visitors can choose to learn a little or a lot by tapping and swiping images, such as paintings in the art museum's collections, ice-cream forks that would have been used for a dinner at
Those who prefer low-tech information sources can settle into one of the center's comfortable brick-red arm chairs and browse through volumes on art history and objects, local history and biographies that fill nearby bookshelves.
Display cases will allow curators to offer frequently rotated exhibits of items from the abundant collection of clothing and artifacts from
"The whole place is meant to be a resource. ... It lets us show wonderful images and terrific archival material. But it's also a way to let you know who Henry Clay Frick was,"
"The goal was to (offer) a varied experience in different ways about the pleasure of looking and discovering. Hopefully, you take that into the galleries to experience," says
The Frick's board began planning for the Orientation Center in 2008 as the first of a three-part expansion plan. But it wasn't until 2011 that the project moved forward concretely.
"The purpose of the whole project is to preserve and protect the collection, diversify our audience and enhance the visitor experience,"
She is thrilled with the speed in which construction moved ahead. "We only broke ground in
Now that the orientation center is open, she looks forward to moving on to phases 2 and 3, which will begin in early August.
Phase 2 will re-purpose the former Car and Carriage Museum space into an education center. An addition to that building will create a new
Phase 3 will create a community center that will function as an eating space for tour groups and a meeting place for community groups.
"We really do want to be a resource for community groups to meet," Reed says.
She expects to break ground on the construction in early August. "By next fall, we will be done-done," Reed says.
A variety of admission-free activities are planned for
Where: The Frick Art & Historical Center,
Details: 412-371-0600 or www.thefrickpittsburgh.org
Admission is free for the
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