Columbus Museum shares what to expect after more than a year of updates

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The Columbus Museum announced it is set to reopen to the public by summer. The news comes after the museum closed over a year ago for extensive renovations to modernize the building and make it more appealing to younger audiences.

According to Columbus Museum representatives, the doors will officially open to the public on May 4 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Museum members will have the opportunity to see the renovations a few days earlier at special gala on April 26.

“One of our biggest goals was to make the building more welcoming or bright, open and friendly to the community,” said Kristen Hudson, the director of marketing and public relations for The Columbus Museum.

She continued, “Part of that is to really welcome a lot of the younger adult population to the museum.”

The natural light in the museum has significantly increased after the removal of a staircase in the museum’s entryway, according to Hudson. Other modifications will also help “bring the building back up to the 21st century,” she said.

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When the museum opens, guests will see the children’s area has been moved toward the front for easier access. A new café and grab-and-go area have also been added near the gift shop. The Bradley Olmstead Gardens courtyard will have a new fountain.

These features are some of Hudson’s favorites.

“I think having café and the courtyard and places where people can gather, you know, I think a community needs those spaces so much,” she said, continuing on, “and so to be able to provide that here at the museum is special.”

Notably, no square footage has been lost or gained within the museum as a result of the modifications. The museum is only working with the space it already has, explained Hudson.

  • Construction at The Columbus Museum is still ongoing. (Olivia Yepez)
    Construction at The Columbus Museum is still ongoing. (Olivia Yepez)
  • The Columbus Museum will officially reopen on May 4, 2024. (Olivia Yepez)
    The Columbus Museum will officially reopen on May 4, 2024. (Olivia Yepez)

Despite the recent upgrades, admission to The Columbus Museum will remain free to the public. Guests will be able to contribute to museum funds by paying to attend the reopening gala, purchasing memberships or donating.

Tickets to the gala will cost $175 apiece for members and $225 for non-members. There is also a special price for non-members under the age of 35 in order to make the event more welcoming to younger community members, Hudson said. Non-members under 35 will be able to attend for $195 each.

During construction, many of the museum’s gallery items have been on tour, showcasing at other galleries in the area. Some of the larger and more popular pieces are on display at partner organizations including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga., and the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University.

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These items will continue to be on tour, in museum storage or on display in other museums during the coming months. They will eventually make their way back to The Columbus Museum once construction is completed and gallery setup begins.

For Hudson, who has worked at the museum since before construction began, setting concrete dates for reopening represent the culmination of a vision.

Hudson said, “It’s kind of hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of construction … so that’s just personally special to me, the vision, and, you know, seeing it come to fruition.”

For now, The Columbus Museum still has its temporary headquarters and gift shop open at 1237 Wynnton Road. It is open Tuesday through Sunday. Museum memberships start at $30 and memberships above the Supporting level include free entry to other Southeastern Reciprocal Membership (SERM) museums throughout the region.

For more information about the Columbus Museum’s upcoming events, memberships and opening hours, visit the museum’s website.

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