Plans for a new museum building have been many years in the making and are rooted in the college’s commitment to place learning with objects at the center of a liberal arts education, and its vision for WCMA to grow and thrive as a leader and innovator among college art museums.
The new museum will be a space designed with students in mind, fostering a sense of belonging for campus members and the wider community, and an inclusive experience for all visitors. The building will offer substantial gallery space for showing more of the 15,000 works in the museum’s collection, as well as facilities for easy access to collections for student, faculty, and visiting scholar requests, and more object study classrooms.
In October of 2021, after an extensive building programming study in consultation with architecture firm Deborah Berke Partners, the Williams College Board of Trustees voted to move forward with the design phase of a new art museum on the former site of the Williams Inn. Read the full press release here.
On June 1, 2022, President Maud Mandel announced that SO-IL architects has been chosen to develop a conceptual design for the new building. SO-IL was recommended by the 12-member Architect Selection Committee after a rigorous and competitive process. Once the design is complete, and contingent on approval by the Board of Trustees, the building project is scheduled to proceed in alignment with WCMA’s centennial year of 2026-27. Read the full press release here.
In January 2023, Pamela Franks, Class of 1956 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art, joined by representatives from SO-IL, facilitated a Board of Trustees conversation about design concepts for the new art museum. The Board expressed enthusiasm for the general direction so far, and encouraged the design team to continue honing the concept as they move into the schematic design phase.