ALBANY — After being away for more than 3 ½ years, part of the Albany Museum of Art’s permanent collection is returning home today.

More than 1,350 artworks in the AMA collection had been cared for at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta since the hurricane-force winds of Jan 2, 2017 tore open the roof of the AMA in a major regional natural disaster.

“I’m just beyond delighted to be able to see the collection first-hand finally,” AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf said Monday. “It really is a stunning array of treasures.

“It’s most meaningful that we get to bring it back home. It’s the return of the heart and heartbeat of the museum. It will help us fulfill our mission of making our collections accessible to all in Albany and southwest Georgia.”

Wulf, who has been executive director of the AMA for just over one year, said approximately half of the AMA’s collection was at the High.

“This was the part of the collection that did not need conservation treatment,” he said. “By special arrangement, our expert colleagues at the High graciously stewarded our collection these last three years.”

Wulf was on hand Monday in Atlanta as transportation vehicles were loaded at the High under the guidance of High Museum Registrar Frances R. Francis. The collection was expected to reach the AMA Monday afternoon.

The Jan 2, 2017 storm was one of two major disasters that struck Albany and southwest Georgia that year. Straight-line winds that were in excess of 90 mph breached the roof of the AMA, allowing rain into the building. AMA staff and volunteers quickly assembled early on Tuesday, Jan. 3 to rescue the artworks. A conservation team from Chicago’s Conservation Center arrived on a plane that night.

No artworks were destroyed by the storm. Objects that needed conservation were transported to Chicago, while those that were undamaged were taken to the High Museum in Atlanta.

The AMA was closed for nearly nine months in 2017 as repairs to the building were made. The museum re-opened to the public in late August 2017, with the three downstairs galleries and the auditorium operational. Upstairs offices were moved downstairs. The AMA has maintained a full schedule of exhibitions and programming since the re-opening.

Over the past several months, art storage facilities at the AMA have been repaired and upgraded to allow for the return of the permanent collection. Upstairs offices have been renovated and opened. During the COVID-19 shutdown earlier this year, the children’s activity space at the AMA was renovated. The upstairs McCormack Gallery will reopen later this month.

CURRENT AMA EXHIBITIONS

♦ “JUAN LOGAN: creating & collecting” is in the Haley Gallery July 9-Oct. 24;

♦ Works by Brian Willmont is in the East Gallery July 9-Oct. 24;

♦ “Viberations from Pasaquan” is in the West Gallery July 9-Oct. 24.

The Albany Museum of Art is located at 311 Meadowlark Drive adjacent to Albany State University’s West Campus just off Gillionville Road. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is open to the public 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursdays. Admission is free.

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