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Arts and Culture

Portland Museum of Art Changes Include Access to Works Not on Display

The Portland Museum of Art reopened late last month after closing for three weeks.

If you’re not a careful observer of the museum, you might not see a lot that’s different — the closure is part of a three-year process that’s supposed to bring more public space and more access to the permanent collection.

This year’s changes are costing the museum just under $2 million; this at a time when memberships are up, but revenue from ticket sales and events is down. The museum is looking to become more appealing to visitors, who might then stay for lunch at the cafe.

There are some pretty noticeable changes, like a new gallery full of animal-themed artworks, two other new exhibits, and new Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth paintings.

But the museum’s director, Mark Bessire, says most of what’s different now has more to do with how people can use the museum, including seeing pieces that aren’t on display.

Ticket prices at the PMA have increased a little, from $12 to $15, but the museum says it plans to stop charging an extra $5 to get into its rotating first-floor exhibits.