The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria gave a sneak preview of its progress on the $67 million renovation and expansion project last Thursday as the museum’s director said the western Queens attraction is set to reopen in less than six months.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who secured $2 million in Council funding for the project, called the construction “a terrific, state-of-the-art expansion of an already tremendous cultural and educational institution” that will “further cement western Queens as the cultural capital of New York City.”
The $2 million secured by Van Bramer, chairman of the Council Cultural Affairs Committee, was among the last funding streams for the $67 million project.
“As the Cultural Affairs chair and the councilman [for this district], I was glad to play a role in topping it off,” he said.
Rochelle Slovin, director of the museum at 36-01 25th Ave., said the expansion will enable the institution to serve double the amount of schoolchildren who view its exhibits — from 32,000 to about 60,000 a year.
A construction supervisor for the project said the renovation and expansion is about 60 percent to 65 percent complete.
Slovin said the project cost $67 million, which includes construction, equipment, furniture and opening exhibitions — of which $55 million was secured through government funding. The building is expected to reopen Jan. 15.
Among the improvements is a new facade comprised of 1,200 triangular aluminum panels and a revamped 264-seat theater that will be able to showcase 16 mm, 35 mm and 70 mm films as well as digital cinema, which will enable the museum to show 3-D movies.
“It’s the most beautiful purpose-built film theater in New York,” Slovin said, noting it will have air conditioning underneath its seats. “We are going to be a fully equipped theater.”
The second floor of the building will house an amphitheater, while the third floor will feature a large gallery with interactive works, including some 3-D exhibits.
Slovin said the expansion also means the museum can bring its 130,000-object collection of cameras, projectors and other items, which is currently housed off-site, into the new building.
She said the building is expected to be LEED silver certified, meaning it features many green improvements.
“The design is a world-class building,” Slovin said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2010 Community News Group
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