The Museum of the Moving Image (MMI) in The Film Panel Notetaker’s neighborhood of Astoria, Queens, has announced that it will hold a groundbreaking celebration for its $65 million expansion and renovation project on February 27. Anticipated for completion in late 2009, the “project will double the current size of the Museum, transforming the entire first floor and creating a strikingly contemporary new three-story addition,” according to the MMI.
But don’t fret, the MMI has assured that “during the construction period, when its on-site activities will be curtailed, the Museum will continue to provide the public with a diverse and exciting array of off-site screenings, discussions, and family and community programs in all five boroughs.”
The activities that will remain during the renovation include:
- The Museum’s monthly series of talks, panels, and special programs at The Times Center in Manhattan.
- Scholars and researchers will still have access to the Museum’s collection of 130,000+ objects.
- The Museum will also expand its presence on the Web with such programs as The Living Room Candidate (2008 edition) and Moving Image Source, a new international site for serious movie goers.
In advance of the groundbreaking, the Museum will close its Riklis Theater. The final screening there will be John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley at 6:30pm on February 24.
The list of closings includes:
- The Digital Play exhibition will close immediately after groundbreaking.
- The Museum’s core exhibition, Behind the Screen, will close to the public as of March 23, though school groups will still be scheduled through June. Behind the Screen is expected to re-open to the public in early 2009.
Though there’s less than a month before the Museum undergoes its renovation-expansion, there’s plenty of great events programmed there that The Film Panel Notetaker will attend including:
- A Tribute to St. Clair Bourne this Sunday, February 10 at 2pm
- The Axe in the Attic preview screening with Lucia Small in person, February 23 at 6:30pm
This past year, I attended such events as Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno’s and Jerome Bongiorno’s Revolution ‘67 and Ramin Bahrani’s Chop Shop previews and discussions. I will surely miss attending events in Astoria, but look forward to going to as many of the great programs planned throughout the city as I can. I eagerly await the Museum’s re-opening at the end of 2009. It will certainly be a great destination for cinephiles throughout New York City and beyond.