President's Report Masthead
September 30, 2014

Museum renovations include new fire suppression system

The Binghamton University Art Museum has recently completed renovations that will allow it to borrow works of art “from the very best museums,” along with providing better protection to the permanent collection, according to Diane Butler, museum director.

A new state-of-the art fire suppression system has been installed, replacing the old Halon-based system.  The new system is water-based, and although that might seem counter-intuitive – water in an art museum? – Butler said a water system is actually the best kind. Each water head has its own sensor, which will trigger the fire suppression system only in that area. Combined with the quick response we have on campus, Butler said this means emergency personnel can respond to an alarm in time to prevent or minimize damage.

The new system marks the latest in a series of several renovations made in the two years since Butler joined the University. “We’ve enjoyed great support from the administration as we’ve transformed our storage areas,” she said. All of the lights in the public areas of the museum have been replaced with dimmable LEDs; this is better for conserving and displaying works on paper and is more energy efficient, which Butler calls a “win-win.”

The renovations, particularly the new fire suppression system and climate controls, are also important considerations for accreditation. The Art Museum is not currently accredited but will pursue accreditation over the next several years through the American Alliance of Museums, Butler said. 

The first exhibit made possible by the new fire suppression system will be an exhibit of 30 photographs by Barbara Morgan featuring Martha Graham and other dancers, from the private collection of Dr. Monroe and Edna Kornfeld of Scarsdale, N.Y. “We couldn’t in good conscience display these vintage photographs without the new system,” said Butler. The exhibit, scheduled for the second half of the spring 2015 semester, represents a collaboration between the Art Museum and Binghamton faculty members John Tagg, distinguished professor of art history, and Liz Rosenberg, professor of English, who will write the catalog.

For more information on upcoming exhibits, visit the museum’s website.