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Anderson Museum mulls expansion plans

OCEAN SPRINGS — Leaders of the Walter Anderson Museum say they want to update the facility in Ocean Springs to accommodate more visitors.

The museum’s executive director, Linda Bloom, said the museum intends to expand its front entry, including a larger gift shop.

Bloom discussed the museum’s plans with Jackson County supervisors.

[ITAL]The Mississippi Press[ITAL] reported that supervisors agreed to apply for a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to help with the project. If the grant is approved, the museum would receive about $700,000 for the first phase of the expansions.

The museum marks its 20th year in 2011, and Bloom says it attracts about 29,000 visitors a year. It is dedicated to the works of the late Walter Inglis Anderson, known for his paintings of plants, animals and people of the Gulf Coast.

The first phase would also include the construction of two small galleries, about 30 feet by 34 feet, at the south side and rear of the building.

“We’ve grown to around 800 artworks, and this would help us display more of them,” Bloom said.

In future phases, museum leaders would like to build a large vault for the expanding collection. A larger vault would also mean that private art collectors could store their pieces during hurricanes, Bloom said.

The museum also is interested in constructing a new education center across the street, where staff members now conduct classes in a cottage-style home, said Morris Strickland, president of the museum’s board of trustees.

Bloom said the two-story center, which would hold about 50 adult and youth students, would be behind the 100-year-old home, which can accommodate only about 15 students.

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