Skip to main content

The Museum’s Lobby and Courtyard Will Undergo Updates to Create More Space and a Better Visitor Experience

Maman by Louise Bourgeois being installed
Louise Bourgeois, Maman, 1999, bronze, stainless steel, and marble, 30ft. 5 in. × 29ft. 3 in. × 33ft. 7 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Now located on the South Lawn near the Twin Bridges. Photo by Ironside Photography / Stephen Ironside.

Nearly nine years after opening, Crystal Bridges is embarking on another building update with Safdie Architects, this time in the form of a lobby and courtyard renovation. The museum, including the Museum Store, will remain open for the duration of the project, providing alternative paths for visitors during heavy construction phases.

Here’s what you can expect when it’s complete:

A new, enclosed courtyard and an expanded lobby

A rendering of the new, expanded lobby at Crystal Bridges. Courtesy of Safdie Architects.

Crystal Bridges will be expanding the lobby into the courtyard area, as you can see from the rendering above. The completion goal for the project is spring 2021. The courtyard area will be enclosed in a glass dome, expanding the lobby from its current location all the way to the Museum Store. These updates will allow for more space in the lobby, protection from weather, more future programming opportunities, and a more convenient and comfortable visitor experience.


Where is Maman?

Louise Bourgeois, Maman, 1999, 30ft. 5 in. × 29ft. 3 in. × 33ft. 7 in., bronze, stainless steel, and marble, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Now located on the South Lawn near the Twin Bridges. Photo by Ironside Photography / Stephen Ironside.

When you come to the museum, you might notice that Maman, the 30-foot spider sculpture by artist Louise Bourgeois that has greeted visitors to the museum for the past few years, is not in her usual spot in the courtyard. Not to worry! She was moved from the museum courtyard to the South Lawn near the Twin Bridges in the spot where Luis Alfonso Jimenez’s Vaquero used to be. Vaquero has moved from the South Lawn for conservation and will be on view again in a new location soon.

Want to know how we moved this 30-foot sculpture? Check out this video:

How will this impact my experience?

This construction will have little impact on the visitor experience. Here are the areas of the museum where you will see construction and what you can expect:

  • The Front Entrance: When you drive down Museum Way, you’ll notice some construction as you get closer to the entrance. Instead of staying to the right to loop around the drop-off area, you will be directed to stay to the left and head to the parking area. Signage will be up to help direct you. If you need to drop someone off, you may do so near the loading dock or ask a protection services associate to assist you.
  • The Courtyard: Construction in the courtyard has begun. As you make your way off the elevators, there will be a new pathway to the main entrance. This pathway will change slightly as workers move around the space. Within a few months, the door to enter and exit the lobby will change slightly until construction is completed. The glass dome that will enclose the courtyard will be installed later this summer.
  • The elevators and stairwell will remain open and available to visitors throughout construction.
  • The Museum Store will remain open throughout construction as well. In the next few months, the entry door location will shift slightly, and will temporarily be located closer to the elevators.