GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP _ Area residents have just two more days to visit the Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton University at its Lily Lake Road location.
The museum building will be permanently closed to the public Monday as the board of directors finalizes plans for a new location. Most of the 3,500 pieces of art, sculpture, and the iconic decoys will be stored in climate-controlled vaults at the site.
Some of the collection will remain on rotational display at the other Noyes sites in Hammonton, at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway Township, the Arts Garage in Atlantic City, and on loan to other sites like the Tuckerton Seaport.
“It’s always open somewhere,” said Lewis Leitner, president of the museum board of directors. “We are very proud of having expanded the footprint of the museum.”
Last week staff had already begun taking down visiting art installations. Exhibits planned for 2016 are being cancelled, postponed, or moved to the Arts Garage, museum executive director Michael Cagno said.
Opened in 1983, the current site off Route 9 on Lily Lake road offers lovely views in a wooded setting, that also makes it a bit hard to find. The building now needs extensive HVAC work and other upgrades, which the museum cannot afford.
The building is owned by the Mr and Mrs. Fred Winslow Noyes Foundation, which also owns the original Noyes collection of decoys and art work. Foundation director Michael Hyett said he cannot yet comment on the future of the building, but it is not currently up for sale.
The Museum has been collecting additional art over the years. Cagno said the original Noyes collection now makes up only about five percent of the total collection. He said the museum has focused on collecting work by New Jersey artists. The current collection is insured for $4 million.
Cagno said they have looked at other sites at Stockton’s Kramer Hall in Hammonton and the Hammonton Municipal Building. He said he’s received many calls from people with large commercial sites, but they are typically cost-prohibitive to rent.
The museum paid just $1 a year to rent the Galloway building, but was also expected to handle maintenance.
In February 2010, then Richard Stockton College signed a 10-year agreement to provide $100,000 per year for 10 years toward operations, plus $500,000 for capital improvements needed at the time to address HVAC issues and disability access and get the building up to code. But more work is needed and Stockton president Harvey Kesselman said the university could not invest any more in the site.
Packing up the exhibits is not a simple matter. A sculpture exhibit on gender flexibility by Linda Stein came with specific directions for how items are to be packed and shipped to their next show in Reading, Pa. Photos are taken to document the process.
“It’s slow and arduous,” Cagno said. He said over the years they strove to bring in exhibits that addressed different topics and introduced new ideas. Last year’s exhibits included a climate change theme complete with a seminar on the topic.
“We tried to broaden horizons,” he said.
Cagno said they hope to be open in a new site by spring, though he is not yet sure if that will be a temporary or permanent location.
“It is change,” Leitner said. “But we are not disappearing.”
IF YOU GO: The Noyes Museum on Lily Lake Road in Galloway Township will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.