Updated: A Sneak Peek at Glenstone Museum’s Newly Completed Expansion

Updated: A Sneak Peek at Glenstone Museum’s Newly Completed Expansion

Potomac museum will reopen to the public Oct. 4

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Approach to the Pavilions, Glenstone's new museum building.

Courtesy of Glenstone Museum

Glenstone Museum in Potomac is ready for its Oct. 4 reopening, when the public will be able to see the results of a vast new expansion that includes a new museum building and 130 acres of meadows and forest.

The museum, founded in 2006 by Emily Wei and Mitchell P. Rales, has been working for the past five years on the roughly expansion effort.

The new, 204,000-square-foot building called the Pavilions is constructed of stacked concrete blocks and filled with artwork. Costing roughly $200 million to construct, the building designed by architect Thomas Phifer emerges from a rise in the ground and is composed of what appear to be separate structures, although they’re actually connected.

Emily Wei Rales said she and her husband established Glenstone with a goal of collecting seminal works of art produced since World War II. The museum has a collection of more than 1,300 artworks representing more than 200 artists, and Emily Wei Rales said buildings on the property are designed to help visitors savor them.

“We … encourage very meaningful encounters with the art,” she said during a Friday media visit. “We hope that you will slow down, that your pulse will also slow down. That you will start to become aware of your breath and the changing light values in the gallery.”

Mitchell Rales said the museum flows in part from values he learned from his parents, who were committed to generosity and philanthropy. Glenstone, which is free to visit, makes contemporary and modern artwork accessible to the public.

“I love art. I love architecture. I love nature, and I wanted to do something that’s profoundly different than has ever been done before,” he said.

With the expansion, Glenstone now encompasses 230 acres and has two buildings providing 59,000 square feet of indoor art exhibition space. An arrival center, two cafes and an environmental center also form part of the addition project.

Walking trails wind through the grounds and lead visitors through meadows, over bridges and past outdoor artwork.

While touring Glenstone is free, visits must be scheduled online at www.glenstone.org. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, starting Oct. 4.

The water court at the Pavilions. Courtesy Glenstone Museum.
Aerial of the Pavilions. Courtesy of Glenstone Museum.
Big Phrygian by Martin Puryear sits in a passageway in the Pavilions. Credit Glenstone Museum.
Mira Schendel installation in a room at the Pavilions. Courtesy Glenstone Museum.
One of the art installations in the Pavilions. Courtesy of Glenstone Museum.
A quote from artist Lawrence Weiner greets visitors in the Pavilions entryway. Credit Bethany Rodgers.
Robert Gober installation inside the Pavilions. Credit Bethany Rodgers.
A window inside the Pavilions looks out onto the water court. Credit Bethany Rodgers.

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