"It will become a national resource for understanding the story of America's changing tastes, styles, and customs from the early colonial period through reconstruction."
Doctor Robert Martin is with the National Council on the Humanities. The project received a 400-thousand dollar challenge grant from the National endowment for the Humanities. The center will include a library, study center, two classrooms and an orientation gallery with space for thematic displays.
"With the new center Bayou Bend will become a major national center for the scholarly study and appreciation of American material culture. The center will introduce a larger a more diverse audience to humanities-based initiatives and transform the visitors' learning experience."
It'll cost about 20 million dollars. A capital campaign has raised 18 million toward a 25 million dollar goal. While the visitor center is an important step in the advancement of Bayou Bend, the MFAH also announced that is has acquired the adjacent property. Director Peter Marzio says it'll double the size of Bayou Bend's 14 acres.
"We've been talking to them on and off, and it has always been really friendly, but I think the spirit of this whole project has told them that maybe this is the time to make sure the property is put to good long term use. I think they were somewhat concerned that the property might be done for, maybe, not for the highest level of commercial reasons and what it does now is, supports the Houston they really embrace."
Two homes are on the property, one of which will remain occupied. The visitor center is expected to be completed in 2010. The adjacent property will be preserved and be available for future growth of the Bayou Bend Collections and Garden.
Capella Tucker. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.