This past September, the Seattle Asian Art Museum hosted the Off the Walls community celebration in its now-empty historic building. With all of the art moved offsite in preparation for the upcoming renovation and expansion, the free two-day event offered one last opportunity for visitors to experience and explore the museum’s beloved Art Deco building, which will be closed until 2019. For two days, September 15 to September 16, 2017, thousands of visitors came to the museum to enjoy photo opportunities, art activities, taiko drumming, dance performances, special temporary art installations by area artists, and a rare appearance by SAM’s mascot, Sammy the Camel!
In anticipation of the start of the museum’s renovation and expansion project, the Seattle Asian Art Museum temporarily closed its doors in February 2017 to begin the major task of moving the museum’s significant collection out of the building and into storage. The complex move took more than six months, with special care taken to ensure the safety and security of each and every one of the thousands of artistic treasures in the Asian Art Museum’s collection.
Since the Seattle Asian Art Museum temporarily closed its doors in February 2017, we’ve continued preparations for the building’s renovation and expansion and completed moving our Asian art collection into storage.
Another milestone has been achieved on the Asian Art Museum project. On August 2 the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted to approve the renovation and expansion plans. The approved design was the result of more than a year of refinement by the project team to implement suggestions from the Landmarks Board, the City, and the public that will improve the museum building and Volunteer Park and preserve their significant historic features. The project’s approval process is complex, and pending the completion of remaining approvals with the City, work onsite will be scheduled to begin.