The newly updated Hermitage Museum & Gardens’ 10-year strategic plan contains a master plan to fortify, preserve and adapt existing infrastructure to make it resilient to coastal flooding and protect its prized collection.
The Hermitage Museum & Gardens is the former home of William and Florence K. Sloane, the driving force behind the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences (now the Chrysler Museum of Art). The early 20th century Arts-and-Crafts estate is located on the Lafayette River and features a nationally recognized art collection spanning 5,000 years, contemporary exhibition galleries, a Visual Arts Studio, and 12 acres of gardens and grounds that have become known in the community as secret gardens filled with the most experimental arts and culture events, overlooking the working waterfront.
A series of “listening sessions” with the community and museum, led by Work Program Architects, resulted in a phased plan that first will address immediate needs to fortify, preserve and adapt current buildings, such as the Museum, Visual Arts School and the water tower, with longer-term plans for new facilities and enhanced grounds.
The renovated Visual Arts School and Grounds includes plans for a pavilion, studio lawn, expanded parking and forecourt, with visiting artist lodging, an office and café in the adjacent cottage. There will be new sidewalks on North Shore Drive, as well as an expanded entrance and drop-off. Short-term plans for the water tower include restrooms, event/support space and a lookout deck with longer-term plans for event and exhibition space and catering.
Museum improvements include new HVAC systems and additional exhibition space. The South Lawn must be fortified for resilience. Longer-term plans include a new storage shed with space for exhibit assembly, and a small greenhouse for seed starting.
There will be a new boardwalk at restored wetlands, and new lighting and signage throughout the grounds to enhance pedestrian movement and accessibility.
A capital campaign is underway to ensure the Museum’s future as a Hampton Roads arts treasure and enable it to live and thrive with water.